Millinocket — We asked people in this predominantly Trump-voting part of Maine if they regret letting us ask them questions to cherry-pick quotes for this story, and the answers might surprise you.
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This once thriving town has seen its mills shuttered, its jobs moved elsewhere. But while those jobs moved on, the people who once held those jobs have stayed behind.
Linda Michaud lights a cigarette on the redwood deck of her decaying trailer home. “Is this going to be one of those interviews where you paint us in as unflattering a light as possible?” she asks before taking a drag, her wrinkled lips pursing to take in the dangerous toxins.
The cigarette is generic. GPC. Brand name cigarettes are a luxury these days. But just like a pack of Marlboro reds, help is tough to come by.
“I mostly didn’t like what Hillary was all about,” George Carver tells us from his musty kitchen. Flies hang in the air, swarming a banana left on the counter. It’s the closest thing to healthy food Carver has.
“I just didn’t like what Hillary was saying,” Carver said. He drags it out. “Hill-uh-ree,” the barest hint of a sneer crossing his face as he spits out her name. His contempt is difficult to hide.
“Whatever happens, I hope this interview doesn’t fill in the blanks to match your preconceived notions of how this story is going to play out,” he said, cracking the top on a warm Pepsi.
The entire region is filled with people like Michaud and Carver: they once worked at the mill, or at least knew someone who did, or at least were willing to acknowledge that, for the purposes of this story, yes, a mill had once been the primary economic driver.
When pressed, Carver said he already regretted letting us into his home. “Please just don’t make us look like idiots,” he said, clearly affected by the current administrations claims of fake news, and a belief the media should not be trusted.