UPDATE: Auburn lawmaker addresses ‘not a lot of brains’ comments against truckers

Rep. Brian Bolduc, D-Auburn

Rep. Brian Bolduc, D-Auburn

Rep. Brian Bolduc, D-Auburn, has apologized for comments he made in an email to city leaders in Auburn that truck drivers “don’t have allot of brains in their heads,” but suggested that his right to privacy has been violated by the Maine Republican Party.

He told the Bangor Daily News on Thursday that he sent the email as a private citizen, not a legislator, and that the fact it became the subject of a press release from the Maine Republican Party on Wednesday was “a pretty low blow.”

Maine GOP Executive Director Jason Savage said it was Bolduc who dealt a low blow to truck drivers.

Bolduc, who is midway through his fifth term in the House of Representatives, made the comment in a November email that complained about trucks rumbling past his house and braking noisily, according to a press release from the Maine Republican Party, which attacked Bolduc on Wednesday for writing the email. (Email is quoted verbatim, with typos, from the GOP press release).

“They rumble past our homes before they get to the bridge and to turn onto mill street, especialy those god damed lumber trucks,” wrote Bolduc. “They release those breaks and our floors and windows rumble and the sound scares pets and children in our homes. You would think the drivers would have enough common courtesy not to do this infront of residential homes but then again one look at them and you can see they probably don’t have a whole hell of allot of brains in their heads.”

Bolduc requested more police surveillance and suggested a cruiser park in his driveway for a week-long crackdown.

“I want to see citations stacking up or ill have every damned resident of this town who lives on a busy road in that city council chamber,” he wrote.

Savage said in the press release that he circulated it because he thought Maine workers would find it “shocking.”

“Not only is Representative Bolduc clearly bullying the recipients of the email, he also takes a deeply offensive shot at hard-working Mainers who drive truck for a living,” said Savage.

Bolduc said his email wasn’t an attempt to wield any of his authority as a legislator but rather to determine if truckers’ use of jake brakes in his neighborhood violate noise limits. A jake brake is a mechanism in some diesel-powered engines that uses engine compression to slow the vehicle. Bolduc said in hindsight, he should have expected the email to be shared with the Auburn City Council and beyond.

“I know my letter was not professional, but it was a private letter to my city councilor and to have that taken and then given to the Maine Republican Party, it’s a pretty low blow,” he said. “It had nothing to do with my role as a legislator but I have to recognize that I hold an important office. … I feel like my rights have been violated but that’s what’s going to happen when you’re a state legislator. You’re going to be held accountable. … It was a lapse in judgement and I really regret it.”

Jodi Quintero, a spokeswoman for Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, told the Lewiston Sun Journal Wednesday that Eves “was pleased to see Rep. Bolduc retract his comments.”

“The email clearly crossed the line and Rep. Bolduc was right to quickly retract the statements and make that admission,” said Quintero.

Bolduc said he’s received calls from organizations across the country who represent truck drivers and has sought to apologize for his statements.

“I tell them ‘listen, I’ve made some mistakes here with the language of my email and I regret that,’” he said. “I’m from a working-class family. I’m not going after the working class people. I suspect that when they call they think they’re talking about some big shot from Washington, D.C. who makes $250,000 a year. You’re just talking about a citizen legislator here.”

Bolduc said he doesn’t know how his email will affect his involvement in the Legislature — though he said he is planning to seek another term — but that he hopes it doesn’t impact his constituents.

“I’m not particularly concerned about the trucking industry as much as I care about my constituents,” he said. “Politics are so dirty these days it’s no wonder we can’t recruit candidates to run for office.”

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.