The League of Young Voters

Reflections on Moosehead Lake — By Felicia Teach
December 17, 2007, 6:42 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m so glad I went to the Moosehead/public speaking workshop before going to the Land Use Regulation Committee (LURC) meeting. At 22 I had never spoken in public, and the very idea of it made my teeth chatter. But I learned something about public speaking–it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. If what you say comes from the heart, the commissioners can’t help but take notice. And if you really mean what you say, you don’t need a script to keep you from messing up.

I was early to the LURC meeting, arriving at 8:50 AM. Unfortunately, about 100 people were already in line, hoping to get 3 minutes in front of the commissioners. When I finally got my ticket to speak, I realized I wouldn’t be speaking until later in the day. I left, did errands, then came back and saw I was still hours away from speaking. I repeated this process once more, then sat, determined to get my turn. Somewhere I lost my written testimony, but I wasn’t afraid. I stayed and I listened to hours of testimony. The room was packed with people wanting to speak, waiting patiently, some even falling asleep. I heard many strong arguments, many passionate arguments. I was proud of the people who came to engage in this process, and I was proud of be part of it. I knew that even though I might not get to speak at all, I had to stay and make sure that I spoke if I could. Many young people echoed my own story, and I felt good that I wasn’t alone, that if they could find the courage to get up in front of the commission, I could as well. Many experts, and important people with a lifetime of credentials spoke, almost all of them with shakey hands, and written testimony. I kept thinking–I don’t want that to be me. I don’t want to be intimidated by these people!

Finally at the end of the day, the commissioners announced that they would allow one more round of “opposition” to speak. They called out the numbers and, AT LAST, they called my number!!! I was excited, but so utterly exhausted, I didn’t even feel nervous. When it was my turn, I didn’t panic. I didn’t even have my written testimony, but I didn’t care. I had a story to tell. I told them I was from Bar Harbor, a town with lots of tourism–the kind of industry Greenville was now desperately courting. I told them that tourism was not a golden goose, that the jobs tourism brings are low-paying, seasonal, without benefits, and without chance of career advancement. I told them that young people like myself leave Bar Harbor, and Maine, every year because the state offers them few alternatives. I asked them to consider alternative development. Development for the next generation, development that doesn’t push Mainers out of the most beautiful places in the state. I said all this, looking at the commissioners, telling my story from my heart, and not from a piece of paper. I finished in a minute and a half, and walked out of the building with a big grin on my face. I did it. I spoke in front of LURC! I participated in an important piece of democracy, that could decide the future of Moosehead like. And I thank those that encouraged me, who helped my find my story. I thank Natural Resources Council of Maine for making me feel that my testimony was and is important.


3 Comments so far
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You’re a rockstar, Felicia.

Comment by T$

very interesting.
i’m adding in RSS Reader

Comment by music

What do you mean ?

Comment by music

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