In case you missed it, here’s the latest on yesterday’s Government Affairs Committee hearing on the LePage/Goodwill-Hinckley probe, courtesy of the Portland Press Herald.
Please take a moment to sign Chellie Pingree’s petition to save local craft breweries in Maine and across the country. Below is a message from Chellie, and a link to her petition.
“Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest multinational beer conglomerate, is planning to acquire SABMiller in a $106 billion takeover. If this merger takes place, the entire craft brewery sector will be threatened, jobs will be lost, and local businesses will be shuttered. That’s why I just took action to save local craft breweries and stop the Bud-Miller merger. I think you should too. Sign the petition here.“
Congratulations to Tom Walling, our Town Committee Chair, upon his election to the Bowdoinham Board of Selectmen. Read all about it, plus other election reports, in the Times Record.
For those of you who attended our How Social Security Works Series, or for those of you who missed it, here’s an update, courtesy of Eloise Vitelli, on how losing your Social Security benefits would affect your retirement. Use this calculator to determine how losing this important retirement asset could affect you. Click the report button to see your retirement savings with and without Social Security benefits. Check it out here.
Bob Cummings, of Phippsburg, is being honored with the 2015 Conservation Award for Lifetime Achievement for his contributions to the conservation of Maine lands by the Natural Resources Council of Maine.
Chances are you recognize the names of some of Maine’s most treasured places: Tumbledown. Cutler’s “Bold Coast.” Bigelow Preserve. The Kennebec Highlands. But what many people don’t know is that these gems are part of our state’s Public Reserved Lands system that encompasses more than 600,000 acres that make up 37 different parcels in the North Woods, Down East, and elsewhere across the state. For more than a century, these lands, as we know them today, were unknown.
They were reclaimed starting in the 1970s thanks to Bob Cummings, then the environmental reporter with the Portland Press Herald who discovered that “reserved public lands” had been “reserved” to the people of Maine when our state separated from Massachusetts in 1820. His outstanding series of articles described how these lands had been subsumed into those of large land owners, including paper companies, and managed by them as though they owned them.
Bob’s work led to the recovery of these lands and to the spectacular Public Reserved Lands system Maine people enjoy today. Bob also reported on the proposed oil refinery in Eastport, the establishment of the Land Use Regulation Commission (now the Land Use Planning Commission), and Maine’s Clean Water Act. After his retirement, Bob hiked the entire Appalachian Trail and has helped maintain the trails he has enjoyed so much.
His testimony on a range of issues has resonated through the halls of the State House and hearing rooms across the state. Such testimony included his opposition to Plum Creek’s massive development proposed for the Moosehead region in 2005, and his support for the Land for Maine’s Future program. He further demonstrated his passion for Maine’s environment by founding and serving as president of the Phippsburg Land Trust, and as executive director of the Maine Association of Conservation Commissions.
“Bob Cummings is the consummate conservationist, and the people of Maine have been the beneficiaries for decades and will continue to be for generations to come,” says NRCM Executive Director Lisa Pohlmann.
Congratulations are in order for Bob Kalish of Arrowsic, a former reporter for The Times Record, who is one of three journalists being inducted into the Maine Press Association’s Hall of Fame.
During Bob’s career he covered Hollywood for Daily Variety, served as a war correspondent in Thailand during Vietnam and worked in television and radio in Chicago.
At The Times Record, he drove hard-hitting coverage of the Maine Yankee Atomic Power Plant and the Brunswick Naval Air Station, while mentoring multiple generations of young journalists including several that went on to earn key journalism fellowships or be honored as Journalist of the Year.
In retirement, Bob continues to write for newspapers including essays published in The Boston Globe.
Kalish worked out of The Times Record’s former Bath office. He continues to contribute a regular, monthly column for the TR, “Around the Y,” which focuses on the Bath Area Family YMCA.
Other inductees include The Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram writer and columnist Bill Nemitz and Lou Ureneck, who’s career included stints with the Press Herald, and the Evening Express in Portland and with the Maine Sunday Telegram. Both Nemitz and Ureneck have previously been honored by MPA as Maine’s Journalist of the Year.
The official Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held at the MPA luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bangor on Oct. 17.
Please check out this post from The Huffington Post re our own Rep. Jay McCreight. Well done Jay!
“According to Emerge America, the premier training program designed specifically for women running on the Democratic ticket at all levels of elected office, most of their program graduates are women 45+. These are women like 64-year-old Maine State Representative Jay McCreight, who didn’t run for office until her 60s after she retired from her career as a social worker and clinical counselor. She was elected to office in 2014, and has already passed legislation that expands reproductive health care to low-income women in Maine.”
You can read the entire post here.
From The Bangor Daily News:
Gov. Paul LePage’s end-of-session gambit backfired Thursday, when the Maine Supreme Judicial Court said the governor has missed his chance to veto 65 bills.
The unanimous advisory opinion was a blow to LePage and Republican lawmakers in the House, who had argued for a decision that would require the Legislature to take up the vetoes, some of which were likely to be sustained.
Instead, the court said the bills had become law, and that the governor should enforce them.
Read all about it here.
Just days after voicing her support for Planned Parenthood on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins flip flopped on her stance and voted to strip the organization of $500 million in federal funding.
“Susan Collins continues to prove that when it really matters, she can’t be trusted to do what’s right for Maine women,” said Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett. “Her vote against Planned Parenthood directly contradicts her words of support for the organization and all that it does to promote and protect the health of Maine women. Susan Collins’ vote proves her allegiance to the Republican Party is more important than standing up for her constituents.”
An online article by Elle Magazine today blasted Senator Collins for her vote to defund Planned Parenthood. Sen. Susan Collins said that “the best way to reduce the number of abortions in this country is to ensure that women have access to family-planning services.” And then she decided not to #StandwithPP.
During the 2014 campaign, Susan Collins’ campaign went into overdrive to clarify her support of family-planning services. A video released by the campaign tried to re-write history on Collins’ previous vote (HR1) to defund Planned Parenthood by attacking her then-opponent, Shenna Bellows.
“Her vote is another example of Susan Collins saying one thing and doing another,” continued Bartlett. “She can’t have it both ways when it comes to doing what’s right for Maine women and their health.”
Mainers welcomed Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin back home for August recess by delivering a report card to his Bangor office. The report card graded Congressman Poliquin on his record during the first part of the 114th Congress.
“Congressman Poliquin wants Maine families to think he’s working for them down in Washington, but his record proves otherwise,” said Jeremy Kennedy, Executive Director of the Maine Democratic Party. “He was “excited” to vote for the House Republican budget, which would be disastrous for Maine’s hardworking families, seniors and students. We need a representative who will advocate for Mainers, not corporate interests and Republican brinkmanship.”
Congressman Poliquin will be graded on multiple votes taken during the first part of the 114th Congress, out-of-touch views, and ethical questions raised by recent campaign contributions to his campaign in light of his role on the U.S. Financial Services Committee. Here is an overview of the attached report card:
PROTECTING MEDICARE FOR MAINE SENIORS
Congressman Poliquin said he was “excited” to vote for the Republican Budget Resolution which covers expenditures for 2016, and proposes draconian cuts to Medicare. The proposed budget would privatize the program and turn it into a voucher program for anyone 56 years old or younger in 2025, while also slashing community services provided to seniors under the program. By ending the Medicare guarantee, Maine seniors will be forced to immediately pay more for preventative services and raises prescription drug costs. SOURCE.
INVESTMENT & FUNDING FOR TRANSPORTATION
Congressman Poliquin and his party leaders failed to pass a long term highway funding bill, leaving officials unable to predict when or if they will receive funding to finish projects. Their continuing inability to govern has again led to uncertainty throughout Maine and the country. Congressman Poliquin has let his party affiliation stand in the way of good governance. [SOURCE]
QUESTIONABLE CONGRESSIONAL AND CAMPAIGN ETHICS
Congressman Poliquin serves on the House Financial Services Committee where he regulates banks, investment instruments, and various segments of the economy. His campaign has been bankrolled by the same companies and industry groups he oversees.
CULAC THE PAC OF CREDIT UNION NATIONAL ASSOCIATION – $5,000
ASSOCIATED BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – $5,000
MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – $5,000
NATIONAL MULTIFAMILY HOUSING COUNCIL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – $4,000
J.P. MORGAN CHASE & CO. FEDERAL POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE – $4,000
KOCH INDUSTRIES INC POLITICAL ACTION COMMITTEE (KOCHPAC) – $3,000
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANIES PAC – $3,000[SOURCE]
INVESTING IN STUDENTS AND GROWING THE MIDDLE CLASS
Congressman Poliquin voted for the Republican Budget Resolution which would make it harder for Maine students to pay for college by cutting the highly successful Pell Grants Program. Nearly 30,000 Maine students rely on the Pell Grants program. We know that throwing up roadblocks to low income college students can be the difference between success or failure. Taking on an additional job, or working increased hours puts low income students at a disadvantage compared to their peers. [SOURCE]
SUPPORTING MAINE BUSINESSES WHO EXPORT GOODS OVERSEAS
While Senator Angus King, Senator Susan Collins, and Rep. Chellie Pingree all support reauthorizing the Export/Import Bank, Congressman Poliquin is the only member of the Maine delegation who opposes it. The work of the Export/Import Bank supported four Maine companies, which generated an export value of $51 million around the world since 2007. [SOURCE]
Sagadahoc County Reps. Jay McCreight and Denise Tepler have both weighed in on where the Maine House is headed on the Land for Maine’s Future bond issue. Following is a summary of what they have to report:
|UPDATE ON LAND FOR MAINE’S FUTURE: Governor’s Veto Sustained, New Bill EnactedLD 1378 Defeated
Introduced by Senator Katz (R-Kennebec County), LD 1378 would have limited the governor’s authority for withholding bonds to five fiscally-prudent reasons and prevented the chief executive from withholding voter-approved bonds for political reasons.
The governor is withholding, for the second time in three years, LMF bonds overwhelmingly ratified by voters in 2010 and 2012. Unissued bonds authorized in 2010 are set to expire this November.
Late Thursday, after the Senate overrode the governor’s veto by a vote of 25-9, House Republican leaders and the governor’s office staged an 11th-hour lobbying effort to flip Republican members who previously voted in favor of the legislation. Their mischaracterization of the bill led to the measure’s defeat. The veto was sustained by a vote of 91-52 – five votes short of an override.
The bill was originally approved 26-9 in the Senate and 102-48 in the House earlier this month.
LD 1454 Enacted
LMF supporters then turned to a second bill to address the administration’s unwillingness to make good on its commitments to the program and Maine voters. House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) offered an amendment to LD 1454, which the governor introduced earlier in the day. The governor’s bill sought to extend the 2010 LMF for eight months, rather than the more customary five-year extension.
Rep. McCabe’s amendment deleted the governor’s original proposal and replaced it with a resolve that directs the governor and the LMF board to take the needed steps to issue the bonds authorized by voters in 2010. The full text is here.
The measure won initial House approval with a bipartisan vote of 90-52. It was enacted and sent to the governor’s desk later in the day.
LMF supporters anticipate a veto of LD 1454. Because the Legislature has adjourned for the session, the governor would have to until January 2016. Meanwhile, bonds approved by voters in November 2010 will expire in November if the governor does not borrow the funds over the next few months.
As part of a bipartisan effort, Rep. McCabe will introduce a bill in January to extend the 2010 LMF bonds for an additional five years. If successful, it will ensure the bonding authority continues until 2020.
DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS: Rep. Grohman: We’re not going to give up on Land for Maine’s Future (Audio Here)