Bernie Sanders endorses plan to create nonprofit electric utility in Maine
This fall, Mainers will vote on whether to buy out the assets of Central Maine Power and Versant and create a nonprofit company with an elected board.
Vermont senator and former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is now one of the official supporters of Pine Tree Power. In a statement, Sanders said, "Power belongs in the hands of the people, not greedy corporations."
Al Cleveland, Pine Tree Power's campaign manager, said Sanders' support should give Mainers confidence.
"Getting this endorsement from Bernie helps to shows that our plan to create the Pine Tree Power company has both been constitutionally vetted and vetted by people who know it's good for working people, and not shareholder profit," Cleveland said.
But Willy Ritch, the spokesman for the Maine Affordable Energy Coalition, says it won't change Mainers' minds, "and I don't think they like the idea of out-of-state politicians telling them how to vote."
Ritch's coalition has received more than $18 million from the foreign-owned parent company of Central Maine Power to oppose the referendum, but he says there's plenty of opposition within the state, too.