Bates panel considers a Republican-controlled government'

Four panelists, sounding off on a variety of issues, will present a discussion titled The Implications of a Republican-Controlled Government, followed by a question-and-answer period, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29, in the Benjamin Mays Center, 95 Russell St. Sponsored by the Bates Democrats, the public is invited to attend this event free of charge.

Panelists include Joseph Bruno, minority (Republican) speaker of the Maine State House;  Douglas Hodgkin, Republican activist and professor emeritus of political science at Bates; Michael Saxl, former speaker (Democratic) of the Maine State House; and Adam Thompson, former executive director of the Maine Democratic Party. As this foursome in a Democrat-controlled state considers a Republican-controlled federal government, topics likely to be considered include war with Iraq, the U.S. economy and judicial appointments.

Bruno has served as the state representative for the towns of Raymond and Windham for five legislative sessions. A member of the health and human services, banking and insurance, and appropriations and financial affairs committees, he was unanimously re-elected as House Republican leader by his colleagues in the 121st legislative session. A member of the Legislative Council, the Legislature’s 10-member governing body, he serves on the council’s personnel committee. A licensed pharmacist, he served as negotiator for the Maine Rx legislation at Governor King’s request, using his expertise to author the legislation. As a director of the Waldron Group of Companies, he serves as president and CEO of GHS Data Management and Community Pharmacies.

A specialist in American government, Hodgkin’s areas of interest include public opinion polling, political action, the role of government, political campaigns and elections. His students conducted regular opinion polls on issues of local and statewide interest. A native Lewistonian, he is an active member of the Republican Party and has held positions at city, county, district, state and national levels. A member of the Lewiston, Androscoggin and 2nd District Republican committees, Hodgkin has chaired the Lewiston Caucus and served on the 2002 Maine state platform committee.

Sworn in as speaker of the house in December 2000, Saxl, a native of Bangor and a Portland resident, was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1995. He became House majority whip in his second term and majority leader in his third. Saxl’s legislative priorities focused on health care, education and ending violence against women and children. A graduate of the University of Maine School of Law, he worked in politics in Maine and Washington, D.C., before holding elective office. Saxl serves on various national advisory boards and commissions, including the American Bar Association’s  presidential task force.

A native of South Portland, Thompson graduated from Bates in 2000 as a rhetoric and studio arts major. During his summers as a college student he worked as a community outreach intern at Advocates for Children in Lewiston, a child abuse and neglect prevention agency. Upon graduation, Thompson became assistant director of the State Senate Democratic campaign committee. Following the 2000 election, he was appointed executive director of the Maine Democratic Party and also served as the Western Maine field director for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign.

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