Thursday, February 03, 2005

A rare civic debate on CAFTA

As I prepare to move back to the states in April, one of the things I'm most looking forward to, after more than 14 years abroad, is more fully exercising my rights as a citizen. Well, it looks like I'm moving to a great state for doing just that--Maine. Yesterday, the Bangor Daily News reported on a public discussion that will be held today on the merits of CAFTA:
International agreements usually don't give a hoot what states think - trade negotiations are mysterious and Congress has prevented itself from amending the agreements; it merely can vote yes or no. Maine last year, however, gave the state a voice - not a powerful one, but at least an informed, bipartisan one - in trade agreements by approving the Maine Citizen Trade Policy Commission, the only one of its kind among states.
And Maine is also starting to get some attention for its Clean Elections law, which was voted in by citizen's initiative (not by the State legislature) in 1996, and by which nearly 80 percent of all public candidates used public financing in the last elections.

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