Redistricting panel holds first meeting

Bangor Daily News (ME) - Tuesday, December 15, 1992
Maine's Reapportionment Commission met for the first time Monday, as discussion about a prospective chairman quickly drew to the surface the partisan tension that surrounds the redrawing of congressional, legislative and county political districts. 

Most of the session was devoted to routine organizational matters, but the Democratic members' initial suggestions for chairman prompted one Republican panelist to accuse House Speaker John L. Martin of trying to commandeer the chairmanship himself. 

Martin, D-Eagle Lake, serves as acting chairman of the panel until two "public" members appointed by the Democrats and Republicans can agree on a full-time chairman. 

The only two names floated by the Democrats on Monday -- lobbyist Bonnie Post and Portland lawyer Charles Micoleau -- are both party activists, making it unlikely that either one would find Republican support. 

Sen. Dana C. Hanley of Paris, one of five GOP lawmakers on the panel, said Republicans suggested politically "independent people": Peoples Heritage Bank executive John Menario, retired Hannaford Bros. Co. Chairman James L. Moody Jr. and retired District Court judges Alan Pease and Harriet Henry. 

Hanley speculated that Democrats were intentionally being unreasonable so the feisty Martin would stay on as acting chairman, despite Martin's insistence that he is eager to turn over the seat to someone else. 

"Who knows? Maybe they're just baiting us," said Hanley. Still, he said, Martin has "said he didn't want it enough times to make me wonder." 

Anthony Buxton, a former Democratic state chairman who is his party's "public" member, noted that the discussions were only preliminary.