Maine will be celebrating its bicentennial in 2020. This past November, Secretary of State Dunlap unveiled a commemorative license plate Mainers can use in lieu of a front plate until the end of the bicentennial year, or December 31, 2020. People “from away” can purchase them too, if their local laws allow them to affix non-state mandated front plates. The cost of the plate is $25 and a portion of your purchase goes to Maine cultural agencies, like the Maine Historic Preservation Commission.
I was pretty excited to buy one. The unique people and places of my home state are a regular focus of my blog writing and much of my freelance work as well.
Like this 2015 post about the “Night at the Light” in Cape Elizabeth. It was a celebration of the town’s 250th anniversary and Gina Mason invited me to be her guest. Gina and I shared a love of our hometown and home state; maybe that’s why we hit it off so well after I moved home. Now that Gina’s gone, I’m glad I have that memory to wrap around the Maine Stein song, Portland Headlight, and Moxie.
I’m a big promoter of the home state, so naturally, I put it on the Jeep as soon as humanly and legally possible.
It looks great. Someone thought I was a politician when they first saw it, mistaking it for the special license plates Maine’s senators and representatives use on their vehicles. I quickly corrected them and gave a short spiel about the plate’s availability.
This weekend, while driving by the Mason compound, I saw Gina’s son Garrett at her gravesite. He and his fiancé Rebekah were checking on the tulips they’d planted and I stopped for an exchange of hugs and love. We talked about the governor’s race a little and then Mason said “hey, nice license plate.”
“Oh, I know,” I said. “I love it! I’m like a moving ad agency for the state.”
“That was my bill,” said Mason.
I had to wipe a little tear from the corner of my eye. Of course it was Senator Mason’s bill. Legislative document S.P. 455, presented by Senator Mason of Androscoggin.
“That the Secretary of State shall issue, at no cost to the Secretary of State, a reflectorized commemorative simulated registration plate in recognition and celebration of the bicentennial of the State, which became the 23rd state on March 15, 1820.”
I am a big fan and promoter of Garrett Mason. If he hadn’t strategically decided to run for governor as a Clean Elections candidate, I would have given him as much money as I could afford. I like his youth, his spirit, and his tenacity. He’s also aware of history and he doesn’t have the myopic view of the world we sometimes see in others his age (he’ll be 33 in June). We’ve had a few discussions about the importance of the State’s historic preservation efforts and I’m encouraged by his desire to serve all of Maine’s citizens.
Senator Mason said he first saw a similar plate on a car from Maryland, commemorating the bicentennial of the War of 1812. He thought it would be a “cool idea” for the state of Maine and so brought forth the legislation.
It is a cool idea and any proceeds over the cost of production and distribution go towards the state’s bicentennial celebration.
Go Maine…Go Mason!