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Halsey Frank: Au revoir

The time has come to say goodbye, sooner than expected, but I have accepted a job as state representative and senior counsel for Susan Collins. In that position I will run the Portland office, which does case work for constituents, will be her representative in Cumberland and Sagadahoc Counties, interacting with the various constituencies in those places, and I will advise on certain policy issues with which I have some experience, such as law enforcement.

I am excited about the prospect of working for someone whom I respect and admire, with people I like and respect, doing work I think important, interesting and rewarding. But it means I will once again no longer be able to publish my own independent voice.

I thank Matt Gagnon, Maine Policy Institute and The Maine Wire. They allowed me to revive the column entitled Short Relief that I wrote for The Forecaster regional weekly newspaper for about 12 years before I became US Attorney in 2017.

As it was then, my goal has been to provide a moderate conservative viewpoint on issues and events. That perspective is sorely lacking in the mainstream media these days. If it exists at all, it is a minority viewpoint, largely drowned out by the liberal voices in the opinion sections and undermined by bias in the news sections.

As I have suggested in my columns, that imbalance contributes to the polarization and siloing that harms our society. Few people are purely evil, few purely good. Yet, more and more, we pretend otherwise. No one gets it right all the time. No perspective is perfect. That’s why many perspectives are needed to make good, informed judgments and decisions, and to give people a sense of fairness.

My priority was to address local issues before state issues, state issues before national issues, and national issues before international ones. And, to provide the occasional human interest story such as the Valentine’s Day column (which was not without its dig at The New York Times) or a book review like the Boris Johnson column. My approach was to use evidence to make my points, this time making extensive use of hyperlinks as my editor, Jacob Posik, suggested. I hope you found the columns and links worthwhile.

Having an editor is one of the great luxuries in life. Having anyone take a second look at what I write is helpful. Their perspective catches mistakes that become obscure to me, like typos, and punctuation and grammar problems. It improves my word choice and arrangement. Having a knowledgeable, able, skilled second set of eyes review my writing is even better. Jacob always made my columns better. For that I am also grateful.

We live in interesting times. Susan is one of the most earnest and hardworking senators ever. She is on the Justice, Science, Defense, and Energy subcommittees, amongst others. As one of the few moderates left in congress, and one with some seniority, she is in a pivotal position as we face these times. It will be an honor and a privilege to work for her.

Photo: Courtesy of the U.S. attorney’s office