The final plan to reconfigure Maine’s congressional districts, as a result of population shifts in recent years, shows that the state’s representatives in Augusta are capable of setting partisan agendas aside.

After weeks of posturing and political maneuvering, the Maine Legislature has agreed to leave things fairly close to where they have been, moving a relative few citizens from one district to the other, and allowing Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-North Haven, to remain in the First District.

It wasn’t exactly easy, though, with words like “radical” being used freely and frequently and new words, such as “Rayedistricting,” being coined during the process.

Maine’s independent voters, no matter what their affiliation, do not need to be penned into party strongholds. Now that the lines have been drawn and settled, let’s hope the political movers and shakers maintain a civil conversation about the issues that affect us all.

There is much work to be done as we move onto a winter that promises to challenge Maine and the rest of the country. Cold weather and poverty don’t ask for party affiliation before they do their damage. It’s time to leave aside fighting with our neighbors over where to put the fences, to cross the philosophical boundaries and to find creative ways to solve some very real problems.

As Rep. Mike Michaud, D-East Millinocket, said in a press release issued after the final plan was announced, “… we’re really one Maine at the end of the day.”

Granted, our congressman was probably breathing a sigh of relief that more Democratic voters weren’t moved out of the Second District, which might have made a re-election bid in 2012 more difficult for him. State Senate President Kevin Raye, his rumored potential Republican opponent, gave Michaud the closest contest when the two squared off in 2002 for the seat Michaud currently holds (Michaud got 52 percent of the vote, Raye got 48 percent). That said, we still think Michaud makes a good point.

“Regardless of district lines or political party, our congressional delegation has a long tradition of working together to advocate for our state and nothing today changes that,” Michaud concluded.

Let’s hope so.