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Republican Party Platform 1956

1. STATEMENT OF REPUBLICAN PRINCIPLES.

The Republican Party of Maine affirms the following as its basic principles:

1. Government exists to serve the people, not the people to serve government; it follows that-

2. The freedom and welfare of the people are primary concerns o£ government. These objectives cannot be attained unless –

3. Freedom of opportunity and freedom of economic activity are to be protected from unnecessary restrictions, interferences or control of governmental authority. Only clear and convincing evidence of the necessity of governmental regulation justifies its imposition or continuation. The Party stands squarely opposed to any form of totalitarianism, communism, socialism, or welfare state under whatever name such doctrine or system may be disguised.

4. Those responsibilities, on the other hand, which have been entrusted to civil authorities such as education, the highway system, the care of the aged, the mentally ill or retarded, the handicapped, the underprivileged children and proper law enforcement, should be the primary concerns of our State and municipalities. Each of these fields must be adequately financed and completely staffed, and with full recognition of these duties –

5. All governments should run efficiently, honestly and economically. For current needs, the revenue from taxation should equal appropriations, while appropriations must be limited to such taxation as may be reasonably and equitably imposed upon the taxpayers. As to future needs, bonded indebtedness should be commensurate with the value to be received in the years to come as well as limited by a justifiable method of repayment.

6. It is the further responsibility of government to maintain a sound currency and to protect its people from the hidden theft of inflation.

7. It is the duty of the Party and its members to choose as candidates for public office, under whatever method the choice is made, such men and women as are committed to the foregoing principles and have proved themselves competent as well as honest, courteous and sympathetic in the performance of duty.

2. AGRICULTURE.

On the national level we support the present administration policies which are designed to promote a realistic balance between markets and productive capacity. Among these are:

1. Encouragement of foreign trade and investment.

2. Expanding the program of research to improve marketing, reduce costs and encourage new uses of agricultural products.

3. Continuation of a program of flexible price supports.

4. To encourage and assist producers to keep supplies in balance with demand through the use of marketing quotas when adopted by said producers.

On the state level we will support measures calling for the expansion of research projects designed to improve the marketing of farm commodities, to reduce the cost of production and to seek new uses and increase utilization.

We commend the agricultural industries for their efforts which broadened their markets and which have given Maine products new prestige among consumers. We will support the efforts of the potato industry to get a continuation, on a permanent basis, of the present diversion program, and to have this commodity included in any national support program.

We recognize that dairy farming is a major segment of our state’s agricultural economy, that milk is an essential food, and that supply and demand fluctuate greatly and are slow to adjust to each other. We believe the consequences to our dairy farmers and to milk consumers of changing the existing system of milk control are intricate and difficult to predict. Hasty and ill-considered action could be detrimental to all concerned.

We urge continued study by the legislative research committee and by the milk commission itself of the complex problems of supervision and control of the milk business. Until such time as ample evidence indicates that a change in the methods of milk control will provide lasting benefit to dairy farmers and consumers, we believe no radical alterations should be made.

3. EDUCATON.

Maine faces a continuing crisis in education- Only two-thirds as many of all Maine’s youth are going to college as from the rest of the nation. Our ranks of qualified teachers are constantly raided by well-financed out-of-state school agencies. We have been unable to attract enough young people to enter the teaching profession. Despite the commendable efforts of the local communities and the Maine School Building Authority in enlarging and increasing school facilities, the pressing need is still urgent with the peak load yet to come.

We commend the action of the last legislature for initiating the survey of educational organization and finance which iv being conducted by the Legislative Research Committee.

We recommend that the state substantially increase its contributions to the cities and towns through an equitable formula.

We urge that the legislature and local communities continue their efforts to bring Maine teachers’ salaries into a better competitive position with those of other states.

We recommend an immediate and extensive expansion of facilities and adequate staffing of Teachers’ Colleges for the double purpose of meeting the standards for accreditation and attracting more young Maine people to the teaching field.

We urge an increased appropriation to the University of Maine with the view ultimately of the lowering of tuition of our Maine students.

We favor Federal Aid to education limited to aid to school building construction only.

4. ELECTION LAWS.

The State’s election laws are a patchwork enacted at various times and scattered through the statute books. These should be codified and clarified by removing inconsistencies, consolidating and simplifying regulations so that these vitally important rules may be easily available and capable of being understood by the public and election officials.

5. HIGHWAYS.

We commend the actions of the 97th Legislature whereby substantially increased appropriations were made for the rural highway needs of Maine.

We recognize the need for improved highways and believe the state should take advantage of all federal grant-in-aid funds for highway construction during the next biennium.

We favor continuing the program of construction of farm-to-market roads, and the aid for town road improvement within the scope of finances available.

We are proud of the Maine Turnpike and its new extension. We advocate immediate studies of route and feasability of its extension.

We believe the State Highway Commission should continue to authorize construction projects on the state highway system and federal secondary system, based on need as determined by continuous sufficiency rating studies.

We also recognize that adequate main highway construction program must be continued and must be so integrated as to take full advantage of whatever may be the Federal Road Program now before the Congress. Following positive Congressional action on this essential legislation, we urge an immediate special session of the legislature to consider such timely legislation as will insure the adequacy of state matching funds.

6. HIGHWAY SAFETY.

We urge:

1. That the Citizens Committee on Highway Safety be made a permanent Standing committee.

2. That the driver training program be further encouraged.

3. That additional state police be added to cope with the ever-increasing traffic on our highways.

7. INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT.

We commend the Republican Legislature for its part in making possible the creation of the Department of Development of Industry and Commerce and urge that adequate funds be appropriated to assure the accomplishment of its purposes.

We particularly urge the encouragement of opportunities in Maine for the manufacture of equipment in connection with the use of atomic energy.

We advocate the expansion of the geology division of this department for the purpose of mineral exploration and development.

8. INSTITUTIONS.

The proper and adequate care of our mentally ill and retarded is a most solemn responsibility of our state; the adequate custody of criminals and the guidance of juvenile delinquents is an undebatable duty. It is therefore recommended that competent personnel in state-operated institutions be increased, with salaries sufficient to guarantee their tenure in office. Additional buildings and equipment are necessary. For those who can benefit by it, treatment and rehabilitation must be recognized as of the greatest good both to the individual and to our people as a whole.

9. LABOR.

We are proud of the excellent relations which exist between labor and management, and urge upon all parties concerned continuous cooperation to maintain and promote our excellent labor-management relations.

Defects or inequities which may exist in the Unemployment Compensation Law affecting either management or labor should be carefully studied and such defects or inequities removed.

We recognize the fundamental justice inherent in the principle of the minimum wage and endorse it without reservation.

The attachment or trusteeing of wages has been employed by the unscrupulous in such a manner as to require restrictions on its application. The Party records itself as favoring the use of the trustee process as to wages only after judgment has been rendered.

10. OUR OLDER CITIZENS.

Every possible consideration should be given to the aged. We favor a continuation of the work of the present Committee on Aging and recommend its report to the legislature as a basis for a program for furthering the welfare of our older citizens. We favor the removal of the present citizenship requirement for old age assistance, thereby only limiting such assistance to aliens with five-year residence who otherwise qualify.

11. PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS.

We view the provision and maintenance of adequate state parks, camping sites, picnicking areas and other recreational facilities as essential to both the enhancement of the tourist industry of Maine and the well-being of our own citizens.

We do honor to former Governor Baxter for his great generosity in giving the state about 200,000 acres of land for Baxter State Park at Mount Katahdin, and also commend the legislature for establishing other State Parks. We believe that additional camping and picnicking facilities should be established in the Moosehead and Rangeley regions, and that the existing facilities of Songo and Reid State Parks should be expanded. We also suggest that a major ocean-side state park with a full range of recreational facilities in the vicinity of the large population centers of southwestern Maine be established as soon as conveniently possible and believe that adequate provision should be made at state expense for the highway approaches to and police protection for such a park in order to impose a minimum of burden upon the town or towns involved.

12. PASSAMAQUODDY.

We commend our congressional delegation on their long and faithful work in bringing about the Passamaquoddy research. We urge the early commencement of the necessary studies.

13. PUBLIC UTILITIES.

Probably no state agency exercises as great power in economic matters involving all citizens of Maine as the Public Utilities Commission which regulates the electric and telephone companies, bus lines, motor carriers, express companies, water districts and companies, gas companies, and in certain respects the railroads. Practically all problems concerning public utilities can be solved by adequate, competent personnel in the Public Utilities Commission with salaries commensurate with its functions to administer our existing utility laws efficiently and equitably. The controlling objective of our state’s administration Should be to obtain for service as members of the Commission the ablest and best qualified persons available, regardless of Party, and the Legislature should make available to the Commission a substantial increase in funds to employ additional trained and competent rate engineers, accountants, attorneys, and other technical staff.

14. SEA AND SHORE FISHERIES.

We recognize the vital importance of the fishing industry. The Legislative Research Committee is now studying the subject of sea and shore fisheries. We recommend the continuance of the study, and that the committee report receive serious consideration.

15. TAXATION.

(a) We reaffirm the basic traditional Republican principles of economy as well as efficiency in government declared in our declaration of principles. Every effort should b be made to accomplish these objectives.

(b) We believe that urging increased expenditures for purposes vital to citizens of the state, while refusing to recognize that revenue will be required to pay for such promised benefits, is not keeping faith with the people.

(c) We recognize that home and property owners in the towns and cities cannot bear the burden of a state imposed property tax.

(d) The Republican Party firmly opposes adding an income tax to the sales tax. Such dual taxation would be expensive to operate, unduly burdensome, and detrimental to the industrial development which we are seeking.

16. POLLUTION.

We commend the Water Improvement Commission for the progress made to date in classifying over one-half the waterways of Maine. It is recognized that stream pollution is a problem affecting our citizens throughout the state, and that abatement may place undue financial burdens on both municipalities and industry. We urge (1) that a State Fund be created whereby a fixed portion of abatement costs to municipalities be borne by the state, (2) that the present program of classification of the remaining waters which is well under way be promptly completed; and (3) that a sound up-grading program be carried out consistent with public interest, the maintenance of our industries, and the physical and financial ability of our towns and cities.

17. CONSTITUTIONAL PROBLEMS.

We believe that a number of constitutional issues under current discussion are worthy of the mature and intensive consideration which a constitutional convention could give them, free from the burdens and pressures of a legislative session.

At present there exists a grave legal doubt as to whether our State Constitution can be validly amended by the convention method. Although the legislature is expressly given the power to call a constitutional convention, the State Constitution does not indicate what procedure should be followed for adopting the resolutions of such a convention. For this reason, we believe our State Constitution should be clarified as soon as possible by:

(1) Providing that the legislature may call a constitutional convention to consider specific proposed revisions, and

(2) Further providing, in order that the people of the state shall have the right to make the final decisions, that the proposals made by the constitutional convention shall be submitted directly to the people for ratification in the same manner as proposals made by the legislature.

After adoption of the clarifying amendment, we urge the legislature at its next session to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of giving consideration to amending the document in respect to the following issues, among others, which have recurred during the past several legislative sessions:

(1) The length of the governor’s term of office and his eligibility for reelection;

(2) The creation of the office of Lieutenant Governor;

(3) The length of the state senatorial term and the question of over-lapping membership;

(4) The Governor’s Council and method of choosing its membership;

(8) The frequency of sessions of the legislature and its duties when such sessions should be convened;

(6) Other changes in the legislative branch such as the size of the House of Representatives and the opening date of legislative sessions;

(7) The method of choosing the Judge of the Probate Court, the Clerk of Courts, the Register of Deeds, and the Register of Probate;

(8) The advisability of a domestic relations Court, either as an independent court or combined with the Probate Court;

(9) Problems concerning legislative reapportionment;

(10) Changing the voting age.

18. EISENHOWER ADMINISTRATION.

We the Republicans of Maine, whole-heartedly commend our President, Dwight D. Eisenhower, as one of the very great chief executives in our nation’s history. His keen insight and human understanding have been a source of strength to his country as well as of comfort to his fellow citizens during a perilous and trying period and have resulted in unprecedented economic progress. We endorse him as the Party’s candidate for the presidency and pledge him our full support both in the state and national elections.

Source: Vose, Clement. Editor. Political Party Platforms, State of Maine, 1952-1958. Citizenship Clearing House, Bowdoin College. Brunswick, Maine. 1958.

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