Archive for July 23rd, 2013

Politicians, Parades and Photo Ops

Posted on July 23, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

Now that the 126th Legislature is at ease, the focus turns for many in elected office to getting out into the public eye- have some fun, relax, chat with folks and enjoy summer- and how better to do that than at a parade? So here are a selection of photoquick s from recent events.

One note: It seems odd to me that for all of the events I have seen so far, not ONCE has there been any sort of presence from either Eliot Cutler or his team…

1. Maine Democrats at Portland Pride Parade (June 15).

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No gubernatorial candidates; nice to see a large group of Dems, though!

2. Jay- Livermore Falls July 4 Parade (July 3).

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A torrential thunderstorm, high winds and heavy rains didn’t stop this parade- or LePage target/ Senate Majority Leader/ 2nd Congressional District candidate Troy Jackson!

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3. Winslow July 4 Parade.

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Newly chosen Maine Republican Party Vice Chair Susan Morissette (L, blue shirt) waves to crowd; U.S. Senator Susan Collins chose to forego her Bangor-Brewer parade route (attended by Governor Paul LePage) as to march instead with the Kennebec GOP and Senate Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R- Augusta).

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Senator Katz had at that time just penned his opinion piece regarding his embarrassment over Governor LePage published around the country, leading to speculation of a possible primary challenge between the two- and possibly support for Katz by Collins.

4. Lisbon Moxie Festival Parade (July 13).

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Both Senator Snowe and Governor Paul LePage (dark blue shirt) chose to stay right in the center of the parade route and NOT go to the edges to shake hands or greet those along the parade route.

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Unlike Congressman/ potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud, who cheerfully greeted folks all the way down the parade route on an extraordinarily hot and humid day:

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Likewise for Troy Jackson:

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(Note: Emily Cain had planned on attending “Moxie”, but was unable due to illness- in her stead was staffer Jackson Pineau and campaign manager Levi Knapp.)

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5. Ft Fairfield Potato Blossom Festival Parade.

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Governor Paul LePage (far left) and First Lady Ann LePage (far right) both attended the parade; unlike the Moxie one, the Governor cheerfully greeted kids along the route.

NOTE: It did seem very odd, in light of that morning’s BDN bizarre story “Emails: LePage wanted to hire Miss Maine for education position; Bowen called plan ‘nuts’”, to see the Governor so upbeat.

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Senator Angus King was walking the parade route…

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…As were a large group of enthusiastic Aroostook Dems and Maine Dems from all corners of the state, who had just prior to the parade seen enough state committee members in attendance to hold a quorum. At that meeting, gubernatorial candidates Mike Michaud and Steve Woods, as well as 2nd Congressional District hopefuls Emily Cain and Troy Jackson spoke to those assembled.

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Democratic visitors from all over the state marching in the parade.

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Senator Emily Cain and campaign manager Levi Knapp.

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Kennebec Dems Rep. Lori Fowle (Vassalboro), MDP’s Jon Hiller and Jeremy Kennedy, and Portland Rep. Matt Moonen.

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Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson… no, wait- this is a large group of his supporters!

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Then this will be Troy… nope, more supporters and Senator Colleen Lachowicz (Waterville)!

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“Hi, I’m Troy Jackson… how are you?” (cheerfully said a few thousand times by this point)

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Mike Michaud greeting folks towards the end of the parade route- time to quit and call it a day now, right Mike?

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Nope! There are folks up on the hill to walk to and greet- they couldn’t come down to the street, so Mike walked up to say hi to each and every one of them instead. Nicely done!

THIS IS CLASS. And indicative of how folks connect with Mike…

More pictures of more events (fairs, parades, etc) to follow this summer, as time and opportunity allow!

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As Goodall Takes SBA Regional Job, Maine Dems’ Turn at “Musical Chairs”

Posted on July 23, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Last week at the end of the first half of the 126th Legislature, Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall (D-Sagadahoc), who was named last month as New England Regional SBA Administrator for the Obama administration, formally resigned his post in an address to his colleagues (apologies for the less than stellar camera work!).

It was announced that the Senate Democrats chose as his replacement Second Congressional District candidate and Assistant Majority Leader Senator Troy Jackson (D- Aroostook) and to fill Jackson’s slot, Senator Anne Haskell (D- Cumberland). Via press release:

    JACKSON-35Head2
    Maine Senate Democrats elected new leadership following the resignation of Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall. Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash was elected Senate Majority Leader and Senator Anne Haskell of Portland was elected Assistant Senate Majority Leader. Both Senators were unchallenged and unanimously elected by the entire Senate Democratic caucus.

      “Democrats in the State Senate are well served by the experience, commitment, and tireless advocacy of Senators Jackson and Haskell,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “We have a team of leaders who will continue fighting for the very things important to Mainers like improving our economy, getting people back to work, a strong public education system, and affordable health care.”

    Senate Majority Leader: Senator Jackson served as Assistant Senate Majority Leader for the First Regular Session of the 126th Legislature. He served as the Senate Democratic lead on the 2013 Redistricting Commission. This is his third term in the Senate and he previously served three terms in the House.

      “This is a great honor. I will do my best to lead by example and serve the Senate and my caucus,” said Senate Majority Leader Jackson. “We’re a hard working group and I know that we will continue to focus on the job the people of Maine sent us here to do.”

    A logger by trade, Jackson is the former Chair of the Labor Committee, and is known in Augusta as an advocate for working families and small businesses. He lives in Allagash with his partner Lana Pelletier, and their sons, Chace and Camden.

    anne haskellAssistant Senate Majority Leader: Senator Haskell chaired the Taxation Committee and served on the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee for the First Regular Session of the 126th Legislature. This is her first term in the Senate. She previously served six terms in the House where she chaired and served on the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee and the Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee.

      “I am humbled and honored to have the trust of this hard working caucus,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Haskell. “We made great strides this session—with so much work coming out of committees unanimously and with bipartisan support. However, we also understand how much we have left to do. We’re still living in challenging economic times. It is our responsibility to make our state stronger and prosper. I look forward to working on that in the months to come.”

    Haskell lives in Portland with her husband, Lou, where she enjoys visiting their summer camp, spending time with their grandchildren, and participating in an active lifestyle.

That still left Senator Goodall’s SD seat open. Last week, Governor LePage set a special election date for August 27th and Monday the Sagadahoc County Democrats selected Eloise Vitelli as their nominee against Green candidate Daniel Stromgren of Topsham and probably former GOP State Senator Paula Benoit.

Eloise Vitelli chosen as Democratic candidate for Dist. 19 special election on Aug. 27. Seen here with David Sinclair (left) and Will Neilson (right). Photo credit to Times Record.

Eloise Vitelli chosen as Democratic candidate for Dist. 19 special election on Aug. 27. Seen here with David Sinclair (left) and Will Neilson (right). Photo credit to Times Record.

Vitelli defeated Will Neilson, an Arrowsic resident and mostly non-practicing attorney who owns Solo Bistro in Bath and Bath City Councilor David Sinclair, also an attorney.

She won on the first ballot, garnering what Bronwen Tudor, chairwoman of the Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee called “a significant majority” of the 89 votes cast.

Vitelli was nominated by House Majority Leader Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham, who said she could hit the ground running in the Senate due to her experience supporting entrepreneurs and helping shape state policy. Berry considered running for the seat before endorsing Vitelli in early July.

More via BDN:

    Vitelli, who was chairwoman of the Sagadahoc County Democratic Committee for four years, said Wednesday that Goodall asked her to run for his seat, which includes Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden.

    “He turned to me when he knew he got the [SBA] position,” she said. Vitelli said she has helped Goodall with all of his Senate campaigns and has “worked closely with him” since then. She also wrote him a letter of recommendation for the SBA position, she said.

    Vitelli said she hopes to bring her experience in economic development — which she called “my clear passion” — to the Senate 19 seat.

    “Above that, I hope to bring a sense of how to make good decisions at the government level,” she said. “I’m a strong believer in the art of compromise. I guess I am old enough to be able to take the long view, and recognize that things don’t happen overnight, that we have to work together to find solutions. And I hope to bring an even temper.”

    Vitelli said the “incredibly important” race — likely against Benoit of Phippsburg — will be “very interesting. I don’t know how often it’s happened that two women have run against each other.”

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Maine GOP Plays Musical Chairs, as Republicans Name Rick Bennett 3rd Party Head Since November

Posted on July 23, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

bennettOver the weekend, the Maine Republican Party selected current Trucost board member, former board member of the Maine Heritage Policy Center and co-Senate President Rick Bennett of Norway as their third chair since last year. Via MRP press release:

      The Maine Republican Party State Committee has elected former Maine Senate President Rick Bennett, as the new Chairman of the Maine Republican Party.

    The vote, cast by the party’s 77-person state committee, demonstrated broad support from all areas of the Republican Party, with a majority of members from across the party’s diverse areas pledging support for Bennett in advance and an even greater number delivering votes the day of the election.

    “The Maine Republican Party is ready to make the case to the people of Maine that the liberal leadership and policies of Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves are bad for the Maine people, bad for Maine’s small businesses, bad for Maine’s economy, and bad for the generations of Mainers who will inherit our decisions,” Mr. Bennett said.

    Susan Morissette from her "For the People" website, poses with Bruce Poliquin. 'Nuff said.

    Susan Morissette from her “For the People” website, poses with Bruce Poliquin. ‘Nuff said.


    “It is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work electing Republicans who will grow Maine’s economy, protect Maine’s small businesses, control the size and scope of government and give the next generation of Mainers a stronger, more prosperous Maine than we inherited,”
    Mr. Bennett concluded.

    In addition to electing Mr. Bennett as new party Chairman, the Maine Republican State Committee also elected former State Representative and current Kennebec County Republican Chair Hon. Susan Morissette as new Vice Chair.

Morisette previously served one term as HD 54 Representative of Winslow before losing her re-election bid to Catherine Nadeau.

gop-splitBut one needs a scorecard to keep up with all of the scandals, claims of manipulation/ disregard of party rules (see RNC2012), changes in leadership and controversies in the Maine Republican Party since 2010- oh, how the party of Margaret Chase Smith and Bill Cohen has fallen in recent years!

When Paul LePage first was elected Governor in 2010, Maine also witnessed both State House chambers go from blue to red- the first time that the state had gone to Republican control in both the Executive and Legislative branches in over 40 years. It heralded a time of devastating party splintering and questionable ethics such as the state had never before seen and was part of a much larger picture nationally.

The chair of the Maine Republican Party at the time, Charlie Webster, claimed much of the credit for the flip, But then… well… Charlie Webster quickly went from being “the man” to being “Crazy Uncle Charlie, that guy that has to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner”, telling more and more wild tales:

June 2011: Democrats “steal elections” via same day registration:

    “If you want to get really honest, this is about how the Democrats have managed to steal elections from Maine people,” Webster told a columnist for the Portland Press Herald in a piece published Friday. “Many of us believe that the Democrats intentionally steal elections.”

July 2011: Webster claimed that UMF College Republicans “parked their vans” on Election Day in 2010, as to prevent students getting to the polls, and submitted a list of 206 names to then Secretary of State Charlie Summers to investigate for voter fraud:

None was found and the accusations/ witch hunt resulted in national attention.

Sept 2011: Webster, still determined that SOME fraud had indeed occurred, insisted that “Canadians were able to come across the border and vote illegally”:

    “Do we want people who live in a motel deciding who we send to the state legislature when they never vote again in Maine?” he asked. “Do we want people who are illegal aliens — illegal Americans — from Canada or another state? … Do we want them influencing our elections?”

LD 1373, “An Act To Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process”, was introduced by Rep. Rich Cebra (R-Naples) that was passed by the GOP-led 125th Legislature and supported by Secretary of State Charlie Summers and signed law by Governor Paul LePage, went to referendum in November- and was soundly smacked down by Maine voters by a 60-40 margin:


    “Maine voters sent a clear message: No one will be denied a right to vote,” said Shenna Bellows, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. “Voters in small towns and big cities voted to protect our constitutional right.”

    “We felt good coming in and we knew we had run a better campaign,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said. “It feels good to get a win but this isn’t the last vote of 2011, it’s the first of 2012. We need to take this momentum into next year.”

Nov 2012: Grant’s statement of the Rich Cebra sponsored bill LD 1376’s 2011 defeat being the “first vote of 2012” proved true, as Democrats regained control of both legislative chambers.

maine-gop-chair-suspicious-of-dozens-of-black-votersCharlie Webster then announced that he would not seek re-election and held an interview with WCSH’s Don Carrigan and still determined that there was indeed voter fraud occurring within the state, claimed that it was being committed by “dozens of black people” travelling into towns. The story garnered more national headlines and Webster later apologized for his remarks.

Then the termed-out of the Legislature Rich Cebra came in as the new party chair, somehow managed to make an even bigger mess than the one he had found time and time and time again… and promptly left- after seven months with no warning.

Cebra_ethicsOn July 3, news broke that Maine Republican Party Chair and former Rep. Rich Cebra abruptly stepped down from his position as head of the party amid multiple controversies, and that his Vice Chair Beth O’Connor had given notice a few days’ prior as well. O’Connor originally planned to run against Cebra for the top slot, but chose at the time to pull her name before the vote.

From Dec 2012:

    “It’s a new day in Maine,” said Cebra, who praised O’Connor’s withdrawal as a sign that the Maine Republican Party “is a unified party that works.” He said he planned to focus initially on “ground work,” building the party’s base by strengthening local and county committees.

    John Frary, a committee member and party stalwart from Farmington, described O’Connor’s withdrawal as “a noble gesture for party unity.”

So much for that idea!

Rep Rich Cebra of Naples, who also served from Dec 2012 to July 2013 as MRP Chair before abruptly resigning.

Rep Rich Cebra of Naples, who also served from Dec 2012 to July 2013 as MRP Chair before abruptly resigning.

    “Cebra has been a big disappointment,” Vic Berardelli, a Republican state committee member from Penobscot County and chairman of the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus, said by phone Wednesday. “I stuck my neck out and lost some good friendships in my efforts to get Rich Cebra elected as Maine Republican Party chairman. He did not have the management and fundraising ability or people skills to bring factions together.”

About that fundraising and money management… one wonders what the numbers actually DO show!

More previous reaction from Charlie Webster and Bruce Poliquin:

    Webster said he had heard a couple of days ago that Cebra might resign, but he said he didn’t know why and had no other information.

    Among those eyeing the job is former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who said he is considering the post after being approached by a number of people asking him to take the job. Poliquin is also considering running in the 2014 2nd District congressional race, now that Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is likely going to challenge LePage in next year’s gubernatorial election.

    “It’s a very difficult job and it’s important to be able reach out to all factions of the Republican party to make sure our message gets out about limited government and more economic growth and more jobs for Maine families,” he said. “It’s critical to get that message out. I’m sure we’ll find somebody who can do that.”

So, here’s the mess that Webster and Cebra left for Bennett- time will tell as to what he chooses to do- or even CAN do- with it.

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