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Arizona Shooting An Eye Opener For Those At State House 

In the wake of the tragedy in Arizona some lawmakers in Augusta say they’re more aware of the risks that come with their job. Flags are flying at half staff at the State House in memory of those killed in Saturday’s assasination attempt on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. The incident has grabbed the attention of those working at the state house, like Sgt. Scott Ireland, who’s in charge of Governor LePage’s protection detail. “I think there’s a risk to any public figure at this point especially in today’s day and age,” says Ireland. “I think everybody’s a target from one person or another or one group or another.”Russell Gauvin, who’s the Chief of Capitol Police here at the state house, says there will be no specific changes to security here, just constant evaluation, but an incident like this makes everyone more aware. Lawmakers here, like Representative Henry Beck from Waterville, and Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport, say it made them stop and think. “We have an opportunity to be more civil and maybe tone down the rhetoric,” said Beck. “We’re very fortunate to be here in Maine where politics is very civil and a reminder that we’re sort of in this together.”Rep. Fredette says the incident reminds him, in some ways of the attacks on 9/11. He says they’re both attacks on our democracy. “I thought about the importance of our democracy as representatives to congress and representatives to the legislature we need to be accessible to our constituents. I don’t believe this is going to deter that,” he says.Fredette admits he is more concerned about safety now. Monday morning he had a conversation with the Chief of Police in his home town of Newport. “I wanted to establish a protocol with him so that if I had any concerns, not so much about me, but concerns with my wife or my children, what would be a protocol I should follow.”Both of these lawmakers say this won’t change the way things run around here. “Maine is a small state with an open government and I don’t think it will change,” Beck says. “Certainly everyone should take prudent steps for their safety but that would be no different then the day before the incident.””Essentially I’m not going to let the acts of an individual or a terrorist deter what I think is best for my constituents or the state of Maine,” Fredette says.