Democratic Senator Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic has a 100% voting record for the second session of the 126th Legislature. She is one of 12 Democratic senators to receive a perfect attendance score, meaning she voted on, or was excused from, all roll call votes.
“I am honored to represent the people of Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden – the very least I can do is show up,” said Senator Vitelli. “I am even prouder of the votes I took to invest in our economy, increase access to pre-K, and pave the way for solar energy in the State of Maine.”
During the second session, the Senate voted for two bipartisan supplemental budgets to pay the state’s bills, restore Governor LePage’s proposed cuts to education, and reduce and eliminate the wait lists for people with severe disabilities to get critical home-based care services.
The Legislature also approved measures to increase access to pre-Kindergarten programs, create a road map for solar energy in Maine, restore critical revenue sharing funds to Maine’s cities and towns, and create jobs and invest in Maine’s small business economy through $50 million in bonds.
The 126th Legislature adjourned May 2, concluding its work for the year.
During the last session, the Legislature approved a re-districting plan based on data from the 2010 census, which will go into effect with the 2014 elections. As a result House and Senate districts throughout the state have new numbers, whether or not their boundaries have changed. As of February first, the numbers on our website are the new ones, even though we all have incumbents completing their terms under the old district numbers.
Our Senate District remains the same, namely all of Sagadahoc plus the Town of Dresden, but the SD number has changed from SD 19 to SD 23..
Below are boundary changes for the Sagadahoc House Districts which are due to population losses in Bath, Brunswick and Topsham following the closure of BNAS, along with their new numbers.
BATH (formerly HD 62, now HD 52): The entire city is now a single district represented by Jennifer DeChant who is completing her first term.
TOPSHAM (formerly HD 60, now HD 54): The entire municipality is now a single district represented by Andrew Mason who is completing his first term.
WEST BATH: (formerly HD 64, now HD 51): The entire municipality is now joined to Hallowell and a portion of Brunswick in a district represented by Jeremy Saxton who is completing his first term.
ARROWSIC, GEORGETOWN, PHIPPSBURG, DRESDEN and a small portion of RICHMOND (formerly HD 65, now HD 53): have joined WOOLWICH to form a new HD represented by Peter Kent who is completing his third term.
BOWDOIN, BOWDOINHAM and the remainder of RICHMOND (formerly HD 67, now HD 55): form a single HD and the seat will be open on 2014 because incumbent Seth Berry is completing his fourth term and is not eligible to run. Alice Elliott of Richmond has declared her candidacy for the seat.
I hope you are enjoying the beginning of the fall season.
You might recently have read a letter or an opinion column in one of our local papers criticizing my legislative attendance record and calling into question my commitment to representing the people of Phippsburg, West Bath and Harpswell. I wrote a response to the letters, and I wanted to make sure I shared it with all of you:
To the Editor:
In response to the recent letter concerning any time/votes I missed in my role as a state legislator – I fully agree that the people of House District 64 deserve a good representative and an explanation for my 72.1% roll call attendance.
Less than one year ago, I had a heart pacemaker installed after dozens of episodes in which I fainted and my heart stopped beating. This surgery required many follow up appointments with specialists. So, at the beginning of session, I did miss some votes in the House due to medical reasons.
Toward the end of session, bills return to the House for a series of rapid-fire procedural votes. In one day, a legislator could miss dozens of procedural votes due to the pace. I work for my family’s very busy marina and restaurant and I had promised them I would be back full time after the statutory adjournment date of June 19. The legislative session stretched into July and I found myself juggling my legislative work with my work that sustains my family and pays the bills. This is a struggle that I think most people in our region are familiar with.
In fact, after running the kitchen at the restaurant one busy night I received a call from my caucus leader that my vote was needed. I jumped into my car and drove to Augusta at 10:45 p.m. to cast two votes. I was happy to be able to do both jobs that night.
It’s possible that I may never achieve a perfect 100% attendance record, but the trade-off is that I am a real person who has similar challenges as the people I serve. I’m proud to serve in Maine’s citizen legislature and I hope that my constituents know that I will continue to represent them to the best of my ability.
Rep. Jeremy Saxton
House District 64
Please rest assured my commitment to you remains steadfast, and I hope that the quality of my votes and the long hours spent on the Marine Resources Committee untangling some of the state’s most controversial issues will reflect that.
Finally I want to remind you that you can always call or e-mail me any time with any questions or concerns.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Late last week, we wrapped up nearly all of the legislative work for the session. I’m happy that we passed a number of measures that strengthen our economy and middle class – just as we had set out to do at the start of the session.
Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle found common ground in areas important to our constituents. We passed a first-of-its kind workforce development measure that addresses the skills gap and helps workers gain the skills they and their employers need for the jobs of tomorrow. We enacted historic energy legislation that lowers costs and increases efficiency.
We averted a government shutdown through bipartisan cooperation and passed a budget that blunts the massive property tax hike in Gov. Paul LePage’s original proposal and restores funding to our schools and other vital programs. When the governor vetoed this compromise budget, we held together and overrode his veto.
I’m proud of other work we accomplished, including:
-Increased state funding of public education to 47 percent of the total cost, putting Maine on track to reach the 55 percent threshold approved by voters.
-Funding the Head Start program and restoring funds to programs that help seniors and the elderly pay for their medicine.
-Modifying existing law so Mainers have access to affordable medications from safe international mail-order pharmacies
-Putting training into the schools to reduce youth suicide.
We’re still waiting to see what the governor does with a number of other key bills. There’s one, for example, that would prevent insurance companies from charging rural Mainers higher rates and another that would tie the minimum wage to the cost of living. Others would protect infants and toddlers from the toxic chemical BPA and encourage the state to buy American-made products.
I’ll let you know in future emails about some of the other good work we did this session and some other important bills that do become law.
We worked very hard this session to increase access to affordable health care to 70,000 Mainers. We’re going to continue that fight. We know that if we take the federal government’s offer, it will be good for hard-working Mainers, our state’s bottom line and our economy. Democrats are going to introduce an emergency bill when we reconvene in January.
The best part of being your representative is working on the Marine Resources Committee. We passed a major compromise bill to help with marketing our signature Maine lobsters to the rest of the world. We stopped draggers from landing lobster by-catch here in Maine. We opened up the Saint Croix River to alewives, and we worked very hard to find common ground on Maine’s always-controversial elver fishery. We also prevented Maine from adding more ethanol to its fuel – a good thing for both outboard engines and the environment. Talking to so many of you helped get all this work done, so thank you for staying engaged.
Please continue to seek out your friends and neighbors and ask them to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org so they can receive these updates. I also encourage you to forward this newsletter to anyone our district you think might be interested. Finally, you can also call me at 751-7616 or on the State House message line at 1-800-423-2900.
Thanks for reading. I look forward to hearing from all of you.
Go to town website here.