Producer/Host: Amy Browne
On January 28th, the Penobscot County Commissioners (PCC) unanimously passed a resolution in support of refugee resettlement in the county. The vote comes at a time when there are no plans to resettle refugees in the area, and likely would have not taken place had State Rep Larry Lockman (R-Bradley) not raised the issue at the commission’s previous meeting- where he encouraged them to take the opposite action.
At the PCC’s January 14th meeting, Lockman asked the commission to oppose refugee resettlement. At that meeting the commission took no action on his request, which came at a time when Trump’s 2019 Executive Order , which would have allowed local governments to reject refugees, was being reviewed by the federal court. The day after Lockman appeared before the PCC, the US District Court blocked Trump’s order.
Area residents who attended the PCC’s January 28th meeting said they heard about Lockman’s proposal, and felt the PCC’s decision to not take action did not go far enough. They asked the commissioners to consider a resolution in support of refugee resettlement, should there be plans for that in the future.
Today we have some background on Lockman’s attempts to pass anti-immigration legislation in the state. We talk to Crash Barry, an investigative journalist for Mainer (formerly The Bollard), who went undercover in 2018 to expose Lockman’s Maine First Project, and we listen in on the testimony and deliberations at the PCC’s January 28th meeting.
Rep. Lockman did not respond to our request for a comment.
About the host:
Amy Browne started out at WERU as a volunteer news & public affairs producer in 2000, co-hosting/co-producing RadioActive with Meredith DeFrancesco. She joined the team of Voices producers a few years later, and has been WERU’s News & Public Affairs Manager since January, 2006. In addition to RadioActive, Voices and Maine Currents, she also produced and hosted the WERU News Report for several years. She has produced segments for national programs including Free Speech Radio News, This Way Out, Making Contact, Workers Independent News, Pacifica PeaceWatch, and Live Wire News, and has contributed to Democracy Now and the WBAI News Report. She is the recipient of the 2014 Excellence in Environmental Journalism Award from the Sierra Club of Maine, and the First Place 2017 Radio News Award from the Maine Association of Broadcasters.