Maine's Democrats opposed, too

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- Democratic state lawmakers, apparently dropping plans for a legislative vote, circulated a letter for signing to Maine's congressional delegation Tuesday expressing opposition to the addition of more U.S. troops in Iraq.

"We, the signers of this letter, wish to express first and foremost how proud we are of Maine's men and women in service and Iraq. We are writing this letter because the lives of brave Maine citizens are at risk there," a draft distributed for review to House Democrats begins.

Senate Democrats were reviewing a letter as well and some organizers of the effort said there were hopes of attracting at least some Republican support. Republicans have been skeptical.

A nonbinding measure of disapproval, which has some Republican support, is expected to be approved by the House on Friday.

A full-fledged debate on the war has yet to occur in the U.S. Senate.

Last June, a group of Democratic Maine lawmakers sketched out a plan to press for an end to U.S. involvement in the hostilities in Iraq by highlighting the domestic costs of the war.

At the time, speakers took pains to emphasize their support for U.S. troops while they criticized the development and management of the nation's war effort.

The group's fledgling plan called for consultations with members of Maine's congressional delegation -- which includes Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and Democratic Reps. Tom Allen and Michael Michaud -- and envisioned linking up with like-minded lawmakers in other states.

Maine Republican legislative leaders then stood by the Bush administration.

The effort announced at the Democratic news conference in June did not appear to take hold.

State lawmakers in Maine occasionally voice their positions on national affairs, often drawing complaints that federal matters are beyond their purview.




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