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About this site

As of the date the site appeared, Hugh Briggs, with data available from websites operated by the State of Maine and assistance gratefully acknowledged below, produced this site. A blog will be added shortly, and I welcome additional voices.

The site stems from an interest in politics and policy in Maine. I grew up on a dairy farm in Maine, and graduated from the University of Maine - Orono with a degree in Economics. I left a brief but enjoyable stint working at the State Department of Marine Resources to obtain a doctorate in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and lived and taught for a number of years in Ohio. I returned to Maine in the summer of 2014, currently reside in Bath, and can be reached via email here: admin@followyourleadermaine.org

A Note on Accuracy

Bill Klem, the first major league baseball umpire to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. is reported to have answered a question about whether a pitch was a ball or a strike by saying "It isn't anything until I call it." On these webpages, the State of Maine's legislative web pages play the role of Bill Klem, and I am the batter asking "What was it?"

I care quite a bit about accuracy. As is often said, we are entitled to our opinions (and mine will be available on the blog), we are not entitled to our own set of facts. Votes are extremely likely to be reported accurately here for a variety of boring technical reasons. The State's website sometimes offers conflicting data on sponsorship of bills, so that a legislator who is listed as a sponsor on one part of the State's website is listed as a cosponsor on the part of the State's website that I used. You can obtain links to the two different sources for sponsors/cosponsors on the Useful Links page.

There are literally several thousand links within the site; hopefully they all work. But I would welcome information about any broken links or any other mistakes that may have crept into the data wrangling process; please contact me at admin@followyourleadermaine.org with the information and receive my public acknowledgement and thanks. I will list corrections at the bottom of this page. I would much rather be corrected than propagate mistaken impressions.

Acknowledgements

I'd like to express my gratitude to a number of people, sources and vendors that have been helpful in the construction of the site.

Elizabeth Campbell, a talented web and graphic designer (see her work here) expressed early interest in the site; alas, she lacked the time to contribute. As I came to understand (and was becoming daunted by) the challenges of collecting and presenting the data, the Maine People's Alliance Legislative Scorecard arrived in the mail and provided a needed tonic. Their website is here, and their online publication, the Maine Beacon, and weekly podcast illuminate politics in Maine like no other available source.

Gökçe Ergün was extremely helpful with design ideas and willingly shared in the brute force labor of acquiring data. I frequently work with her; my efforts and pleasure in them are always markedly improved by her presence. My sisters, Audrey and Laura, took the time to provide early UX that led to several improvements. With his usual insight, my brother David correctly foresaw that much of the task of producing this website would involve database management; additional future development of the database will yield several toys for the vote data.

This is the first website that I've authored, and I have found several references extremely useful.

I have had excellent experiences with Namecheap as a vendor for the domain name and Digital Ocean as a web host and would recommend each to anyone.

The information on this site is all sourced from various state websites which are provided on the "Useful Links" page, with the exception of the photo of Senator Eric Brakey, which was taken by Gage Skidmore and is used freely with this credit.

CORRECTIONS: The site initially claimed to list bills that were by request of constituents, and I misinterpreted a source for this. Another change is the removal of the "First elected" information - it was the Would be term limited date minus 8 years, but some legislators have served prior to the start of this possible 8 year sequence, so that the listing was potentially misleading.