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Gideon appoints self-described Portland ‘socialist’ to lead Maine Legislature’s Labor Committee

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon (left) has appointed self-described socialist Rep. Mike Sylvester (right) to lead the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Labor & Housing. 

AUGUSTA – After splitting Maine’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development committee in two, Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon has announced that Portland Representative Mike Sylvester will serve as the Chair of the Maine Legislature’s Labor &Housing Committee.

Rep. Sylvester is in his second term as a Representative in the Maine House, and is an outspoken socialist. As Chair of the Labor & Housing Committee, Sylvester will lead the committee that seeks to legislate on matters related to labor laws, wages and public housing issues, among other things.

A brief review of Rep. Sylvester’s Twitter feed shows him calling himself “Socialist Sylvester”and using the handle @MaineSocialist.

Rep. Sylvester has already announced his plan to support a local option sales tax, which liberal and conservative policy groups say hurts low-income people the most, but that argument does not seem to have dissuaded Rep. Sylvester.

His twitter feed is replete with references to socialism, including the hashtag #trysocialism and celebrations of other minor socialist politicians receiving endorsements and being elected to office.

In 2017, Sylvester led the charge against an effort to find compromise on the state budget, citing a need for more tax revenue even as the state was running a surplus.

Sylvester has also been an outspoken supporter of so-called “safe injection sites”, essentially taxpayer funded sites for Mainers addicted to drugs to inject those drugs into their system with supervision, and to administer drugs such as naloxone when drug users overdose.

Sylvester sponsored a bill last year to establish “safe injection sites” in Maine, and after the bill failed he said he would introduce it again this year.

California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar measure in California about a month before the 2018 election.

Other members of the Labor & Housing Committee that will be chaired by Rep. Sylvester include Rep. Dick Bradstreet, the ranking member for Republicans, as well as Rep. Larry Lockman (R – Amherst) and Rep. Ann Peoples (D – Westbrook) along with several others.

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