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Brooksville
Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 1, 2017 and Community News, June 1, 2017 and The Weekly Packet, June 1, 2017
Rep. Ralph Chapman drops out of Democratic Party

Ralph Chapman

Now in his fourth and final term representing District 133 in the Maine House of Representatives, Ralph Chapman has unenrolled from the Democratic Party and will finish his political career as an Independent.

Photo by Anne Berleant Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Anne Berleant

Now in his fourth and final term representing District 133 in the Maine House of Representatives, Ralph Chapman has unenrolled from the Democratic Party and will finish his political career as an Independent.

District 133 includes the towns of Brooksville, Blue Hill, Brooklin, Castine, Sedgwick and Surry.

The recent party caucus on LD 820, which introduces new regulations that would allow groundwater contamination through metal mining was the tipping point.

“In the case of the mining issue, they chose to represent only one side and did not invite or allow the Democrats who took an opposing view to write down their reasons for their opposing view,” Chapman said.

“[LD 820] actually goes against the laws of physics.”

Chapman holds a bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics, and his career has included solar energy research at MIT and Tufts.

Chapman represents the only house district in Maine that has had metal mining in the past 40 years, at the Callahan Mine in Brooksville, and the Kerramerican Mine in Blue Hill.

“Both of them have failed, both have irreparably contaminated the groundwater, both are continuing sources of contamination for the surface water,” he said.

Chapman said he did not know why the party supported LD 820.

“The real reason is unknowable,” he said, and a “preceding question” might be why the Natural Resources Council of Maine, in supporting the bill, did “a 180 degree change in their policy.”

Chapman emphasized he is not leaving the party to run for state senate as an Independent, or from any dissatisfaction with the Democratic platform, or district, town or county democratic committees. (See his Another View, on page 2.)

“I have no plans for continuing in politics,” he said.