Archive for December 15th, 2012

Weekly Address of President Obama: Nation Grieves for Those Killed in Tragic Shooting in Newtown, CT

Posted on December 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

On Friday, we learned that more than two dozen people were killed when a gunman opened fire in an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Most of those who died were just young children with their whole lives ahead of them. And every parent in America has a heart heavy with hurt.

Among the fallen were also teachers – men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.

So our hearts are broken today. We grieve for the families of those we lost. And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived. Because as blessed as they are to have their children home, they know that their child’s innocence has been torn away far too early.

As a nation, we have endured far too many of these tragedies in the last few years. An elementary school in Newtown. A shopping mall in Oregon. A house of worship in Wisconsin. A movie theater in Colorado. Countless street corners in places like Chicago and Philadelphia.

Any of these neighborhoods could be our own. So we have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this. Regardless of the politics.

This weekend, Michelle and I are doing what I know every parent is doing – holding our children as close as we can and reminding them how much we love them.

There are families in Connecticut who can’t do that today. And they need all of us now. Because while nothing can take the place of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need – to remind them that we are there for them; that we are praying for them; and that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their own memories, but also in their community, and their country.

Thank you.

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Weekly Democratic Address of Rep. Mark Dion (Portland): Energy solutions must put more money in the pockets of Maine people and businesses

Posted on December 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

mark dionGood morning, I’m Democratic State Representative Mark Dion from Portland.

This morning I wanted to talk about something we can all relate to – the cost of heating our homes and businesses.

The high cost of energy in our state is an issue that every Maine family and small businesses struggles with every day. It is a key area where Maine must do better in order to strengthen our economy, rebuild our middle class, and improve our business climate.

For over a decade in Maine, we have had a bipartisan energy policy, which encourages energy efficiency and promotes alternative energy. Because of those policies, we’ve seen a decline in dependency on fossil fuels.

On average, Efficiency programs have saved nearly $3 for each $1 spent.

Homeowners have saved 30-40 percent or more in annual energy bills from efficiency programs.
Plus, Maine’s investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy has created more than 12,000 jobs in the state.

Maine’s efficiency programs are even helping our outdoor sports and tourism industry. Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Resort is using a grant through Efficiency Maine to lower it’s electricity consumption.
We must continue to work to together help lower energy costs, create jobs, and put more money in the pockets of middle class Maine families and small businesses.

We must also continue to work to lower our electric costs. But we won’t do it unless we follow a strategic plan that keeps Maine on the right path. We must continue to diversify our energy portfolio, while maximizing efficiency efforts in the short term.

We need to explore natural gas as a transition fuel to help wean us off our dependence on home heating oil.

Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, which encourages the purchase of alternative energy power, is helping to successfully diversify our energy resources.

It has given Maine a significant hedge against high fossil fuel costs. It has also made our electricity generation cleaner and more renewable – which is both good for our economy and the environment now and in the future.

We’ve seen our investment in this strategy already helping Maine people and businesses. The RPS helped the Verso Bucksport Paper Mill upgrade to a biomass boiler, making the mill’s future and its employees much more secure.

Maine’s business community has benefited from the RPS program with more than 300 businesses having worked to construct, support, and maintain the state’s existing renewable energy assets. Reed & Reed even started a new division of their construction business specializing in erecting wind-farm turbines.

Governor LePage has a plan that will undo energy efficiency, undercut our efforts to reduce our dependency on oil, and stifle job creation. He wants to send Maine taxpayer dollars to support Canadian Hydro power with no guarantee that we will get the best deal. This would do nothing to lower Maine energy prices but would certainly benefit Hydro Quebec.

It’s the wrong solution for Maine. We should be looking to help Maine companies and Maine people. We should be building off the reasonable bipartisan approach that has helped Maine people and so many of our businesses.

Thank you for listening; I’m Rep. Mark Dion from Portland.

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Domestic Violence Awareness Crucial to Elimination of Problem

Posted on December 15, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

lepage officeHello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

With the holidays upon us, it is a time to celebrate with family, be with friends, and help our neighbors. But even with the excitement of the holidays, there is a dark reality this time of year, and it relates to the rise in domestic violence crimes in Maine.

Recently, the murder of Kasandra Perkins has grabbed national headlines and yet again draws attention to domestic violence.

Kasandra’s boyfriend, Kansas City Chief football player, Jovan Belcher who was also a University of Maine graduate shot Kasandra nine times before killing himself.

Three days before Thanksgiving, in Alton, another domestic violence tragedy occurred. Thirty-nine year old Danielle Reed was killed in an apparent murder suicide which involved her estranged husband and his friend.

These deaths are a brutal reminder of the devastating effects of domestic violence.

These three deaths in Alton bring the number of homicides in Maine this year to 19, with nine of those deemed domestic violence-related deaths.

I cannot stress enough that these are not just numbers; these are our family, friends, and members of our communities.

Each year between 50 and 60 percent of homicides in Maine are domestic violence related. This is not a trend we want to see continue.

In 2011, Maine law enforcement received more than five-thousand calls related to domestic violence assaults. These crimes are on the rise in Maine and it is troubling.

As a society, we can stand up and say this is unacceptable.

Domestic violence awareness is crucial to eliminating the problem. We need a coordinated, community response to put an end to domestic violence now and for the next generation. Everyone has to step up. Personally, I would like to see men step up to the plate on this pivotal issue and they have.

We have many groups started by men including University of Maine Male Athletes Against Domestic Violence, Boys to Men, and Guys and Pies are just a few that are proactive with young men and raising awareness about domestic violence and abuse.

But we all know that it will take more than men to eliminate this heinous crime. It will take families and communities coming together to say enough is enough.

I encourage you to talk with your family members about domestic violence. It’s likely that you or someone you know has been affected by this abuse. As a survivor, I know how difficult it is to speak up, especially when you’ve experience the abuse yourself. This is a sobering subject, but we must all stand up and speak up together – we must do it in their memory and to help those who are affected by abuse right now.

Finally, I would like to leave you with information that has saved lives. The most dangerous time for a victim is when they try to end an abusive relationship. The Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence is committed to ensuring safety for victims.

If you are in or you know of someone in a harmful or potentially harmful situation, please, pick up the phone and call. The Coalition has resources to help.

The Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline is 1-866-83-4HELP. That’s 1-866-834-4357.

My thoughts and prayers are with the families who have lost a loved one to domestic violence.

Thank you for listening. Be safe and enjoy your weekend.

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