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Governor’s Address: Legislators who say 18-year-olds are not adults are hypocrites

To be an adult, or not to be? That is the question I have for the Maine State Legislature.

Dear Maine Taxpayer,

I vetoed a bill that would prohibit 18-year-old adults from buying cigarettes, but the Legislature overturned it. This new law denies rights and responsibilities to 18-year-old adults who want to purchase a legal product.

Quite simply, any legislator who voted for this law is a hypocrite. These legislators have no problem trying 18-year-olds as adults in a court of law, and they want 18-year-olds to vote for them in our elections. They make 18-year-olds pay taxes, and they allow 18-year-olds to get married and divorced and make medical decisions for themselves.

Legislators even allow people 18 and younger to use birth control and smoke “medical” marijuana. But now they say 18-year-old adults cannot decide for themselves whether to buy cigarettes.

Even worse, they strap a gun to their backs and send them off to fight America’s battles, where they could suffer a gruesome death or grievous wounds.

Many of these same legislators are soft on punishment for adults who are selling illegal and deadly poison that is killing one Mainer a day. But they prevent 18-year-old adults from purchasing a pack of cigarettes, which is a legal product.

I agree that smoking is dangerous to a person’s health, and I would never encourage anyone to smoke cigarettes. However, legislators can’t have it both ways. By approving this law, they have denied the right of Mainers who are legally considered adults to purchase a product that is sold legally.

This law subverts the United States Constitution, and it attempts to “social engineer” behavior by adults who want to use a legal product. If they don’t believe 18-year-olds are adults who can make their own decisions, then I expect them to support a couple of bills I will submit in January.

If 18-year-olds cannot decide whether to buy cigarettes, then they certainly cannot be trusted to decide which candidate to vote for. So I will submit legislation that increases the voting age to 21.

And if 18-year-olds cannot decide whether to buy cigarettes, then they surely cannot decide whether they should go to war. So I will submit legislation that prevents military service until a person turns 21.

Young people today like to protest anything they consider slightly offensive. Legislators are now saying they are not adults—that is truly offensive.

Our college and university students, as well as any other young adults, should band together and protest the Legislature. Demand they drop their hypocrisy. If they don’t consider you an adult, then you shouldn’t vote for them, and you certainly shouldn’t put your life on the line for them.

Tell them we need informed legislators, not politicians looking for feel-good headlines. Educate, don’t legislate.

Thank You,

Paul R. LePage


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