Archive for February 24th, 2014

LePage Reneges on $100M Statewide Maine Jobs Bond Contracts, Day 3: MaineDOT Projects in Peril?

Posted on February 24, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Feb. 22—Maine Governor Paul LePage and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant at the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee session, which was about the future of the National Guard.

Feb. 22—Maine Governor Paul LePage and Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant at the Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee session, which was about the future of the National Guard (photo via NGA).

We are giving Governor LePage a pass on the “Day Count” for Saturday and Sunday, as he was down in DC for the NGA winter meetingwell, until yesterday morning at least.

He inexplicably skipped last night’s dinner with President and Mrs. Obama at the White House, as well as multiple meetings today with the President and Vice-President Biden.

Hey, waitaminute… Anyone else remember when LePage pulled out of NGA?

    LePage said he will attend the winter meeting, held in Washington, D.C., because of its sessions with President Barack Obama and cabinet members. But he said he has no use for the other meetings held by the group.

    “I get no value out of those meetings,” he said. “They are too politically correct and everybody is lovey-dovey and no decisions are ever made. There are some tough decisions that need to be made in this country and we need to start making them.”

(If anyone can make sense of his thought processes, oh do please- let the rest of Maine in on the trick…)

Fortunately, the Kennebec Journal helpfully shared this (Governors: ‘ObamaCare here to stay’) for LePage, so he can be up to speed on what he missed and via AP, gave Maine a shout-out:

    …governors from both parties report that a full repeal of the law (ACA) would be complicated at best, if not impossible, as states move forward with implementation and begin covering millions of people – both by expanding Medicaid rolls for lower-income resident or through state or federal exchanges that offer federal subsidies to those who qualify.

    A recent Associated Press analysis of the sign-ups found that six Republican-led states – Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, and Wisconsin – were on pace or better than the states had initially projected.

Oh dear.

Onward to Day Three!

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Last August, Maine Governor Paul LePage recorded a video, urging support for a $100 million transportation bond as a means of “supporting economic development and jobs”.

It was a politically motivated plea sent out directly at the public for a solitary transportation bond to be put on the November ballot. He also called for a special session and once the dust settled on that special session called for by the Governor, there was agreement on a slew of bonds to go before voters.

Four in particular are of interest, as they related directly to bonds for higher education and transportation:

Voters in November passed all four of the above bonds by wide margins and as the Secretary of State’s office “Citizen’s Guide 2013” points out, all passed measures go into effect 30 days after the election results are certified.

Governor Paul LePage and MDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt release 3 year statewide Work Plan in North Augusta.

Governor Paul LePage and MDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt release 3 year statewide Work Plan in North Augusta.

On January 13, Maine media was advised by Maine DOT press secretary Ted Talbot that there would be a press conference rolling out an ambitious statewide transportation plan the following day. Inside a North Augusta MaineDOT garage, Governor Paul LePage, Senator Ron Collins (R-York), MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt and others gathered as LePage and Bernhardt released MDOT’s statewide 3 year, $2B work plan:

    The Maine DOT’s “Three Year Work Plan” will use $100 million in state transportation bonds – approved last November by voters – and federal highway funds to pay for more than 1,600 projects from now until 2016 in all 16 of the state’s counties.

    In 2014, a total of 425 projects are scheduled at a cost of $455 million.

    “The work plan represents more than a listing of projects,” LePage said during a news conference in Augusta. “Our transportation infrastructure is the backbone that delivers economic opportunities and good-paying jobs to Maine. That’s why I will continue to support the Maine DOT’s innovative efforts to upgrade our transportation system and to keep stretching that buck.”

The governor commented that this was a non-partisan effort:

    “The bond package was approved by about 70 percent of the voters in Maine. So it was a non-partisan effort,” LePage said. “Everybody worked together on it.”

As there was quite a bit of ongoing bickering over the budget, revenue sharing, the infamous Alexander Report and Medicaid expansion a few miles away at the State House, media questioned the Governor after the presentation about those topics instead of the MDOT work plan.

LePage minced no words as he attacked Democratic lawmakers:

    “The boogey man in the room…”

    “It’s just the opposite of what the opponents say. Let me tell you something… I hear, Mark Eves says… (unintelligible) “tea party guy”… it takes one to know one. When I was a Democrat… I was a Democrat- until- I learned how to count. You see that? I learned to count; I became a Republican. Because they’re giving you smoke and mirrors. They gave us smoke and mirrors in 2002 and they’re doing it again today.

    Let me tell you something else that you don’t… Democrats… there’s going to be several nursing homes closing, because they’re not covered. And we have the waiting list, that’s not covered. So all of these things that they … Democrats say are gonna happen are wrong. They’re simply wrong.”

… and that he has “no power” with this legislature, among other claims.

    “I have no power when it comes to this legislature. They do what they damn well please.”

So at no time in January did the Governor publicly threaten to renege on the transportation bond. In fact, on the following day (January 15), his weekly address stressed that “Maine has an obligation to help our most vulnerable and pay its bills”.

At the time of the work plan roll out, Associated General Contractors of Maine executive director Matt Marks was quoted by MPBN:

    The work will provide badly needed jobs in Maine’s construction sector, where as recently as early last year, says Matt Marks, unemployment topped 26 percent. Marks is executive director of Associated General Contractors of Maine.

    “Last year, I worried about the talented constructors who would leave Maine for jobs in other states,”
    he said. But Marks says unemployment among his membership has now dropped to 16 percent, a downward trend he expects will continue, as the 2014 transportation projects get under way this spring.

    The Transportation Department says it’s confident it will secure the state and federal funds it will need to complete the more than 1,000 projects scheduled for 2015 and 2016.

Here is the list of contracts awarded so far, updated as late as February 14. It will be interesting to see how they react to news of the Governor’s refusal to honor the state’s signed contracts and whether the work already scheduled will be able to continue.

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*RELATED:

1. BREAKING: Governor LePage Reneges on $100M Jobs Bonds; Bounces $59M State of Maine Check
2. LePage Reneges on $100M Statewide Maine Jobs Bond Contracts, Day 2
3. (Aug 2013 Review) Governor LePage (Video): Support of the Transportation Bond Supports Economic Stability and Jobs

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Alan Tibbetts Announces Candidacy for House District 77 (Sidney, Oakland)

Posted on February 24, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

(Originally posted 2/18/14; updating with campaign website and corrected Facebook campaign page links)

Via press release:

AlanTibbettsFilePhotoAlan Tibbetts has announced he will be a candidate for State Representative in District 77 which includes Sidney and most of Oakland.

“I’m running as a common sense voice for the people of Oakland and Sidney, to represent their interests, not the special interests,” Tibbetts said. “We need jobs that pay living wages, health care that is both affordable and ethical, and our personal privacy must be better protected. I’m tired of seeing people that work hard and play by the rules keep losing ground because the people in power keep changing the rules. It’s time that political power returns to the people where it belongs.”

Alan grew up in Eustis. The son of a logger and school teacher, he graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in political science. After serving on active duty, Alan returned to Maine and joined the National Guard. He was in command of units which provided assistance to Maine towns during the flood of ’87 and again during the ice storm of ’98.

After 33 years of service, Alan retired from the Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013.

Alan, his wife Kathy, and their two children, Heidi and Brian, have lived in Sidney for 18 years.

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Louis Sigel Announces Senate District 14 Run

Posted on February 24, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Gardiner resident Louis Sigel has thrown his hat into the open SD 14 race. A reminder: The seat is currently held by Senator Pat Flood (R-Winthrop), who recently said he does not plan not to run for re-election; former State Senator Earle McCormack (R-West Gardiner) has decided to run for his old seat again. Former Hallowell Mayor David Bustin made his intentions to run for the Democratic slot known recently as well, setting up a primary race.

The candidate took to Facebook last week to make his announcement:

louis sigel

    I am running for the Maine State Senate District 14–Gardiner, West Gardiner, Chelsea, Randolph, Pittston, Farmingdale, Hallowell, Manchester, Winthrop, Readfield and Monmouth.

    I am running to assure future budgets always include full 5% revenue sharing and full 55% state aid to local education–it is definitely not ‘welfare for towns and cities’, but it is clearly spelled out in Maine law and yet it is ignored and cheated on!

    I want Medicaid expansion to provide health insurance for the 70,000 left out and with no options simply because their incomes are too law for the health insurance marketplaces–and that includes 3,000 veterans.

    As far as veterans are concerned, I want veterans’ pensions treated the same as Social Security and thus exempt from the state income tax; and I want the state Bureau of Veteran Services to adopt a commitment to coordinate federal, state, and local services, both public and private to end veteran homelessness in Maine.

    I want to fulfill and extend the Affordable Care Act in Maine with a Maine health insurance mandate, Maine-run health insurance marketplaces for individuals and for small businesses [preferably set up by the proven winners–Deloitte Consulting], adopting a Maryland-style hospital rate-setting board [so all Maine hospitals charge all patients the same for the same procedure]’ and abolishing the Certificate of Need procedure for investment in the healthcare sector.

    I want to extend and expand campaign finance reform in Maine to include referendum and People’s Veto campaigns and require corporations to poll their stockholders each and every time they want to make campaign contributions in Maine political campaigns.

    I want to promote tax reform based on Democratic principles of focusing on fairness, transparency and the ability to pay.

    I will actively oppose any efforts that restrict women’s reproductive rights, suppress or discourage voting, or weaken necessary environmental protections.

    So anyone interested in donating to my seed money to launch my campaign is very much appreciated–I can raise up to $1500 from any individuals who are US citizens with a $100 limit on contributions. My intention, of course is to run as a Clean Elections publicly-financed candidate!

He elaborated further:

    Why am I running? I am running because I have been active on the Democratic Platform Committee and want to see that the platform becomes policy through legislation–especially a compact between the state and the towns and cities.

    I would welcome any support for my candidacy for Maine State Senate District 14:
    Make it Legal with Sigel!

    I am attempting to run as a Clean Elections candidate, so at this point contributions up to $100 from any US citizen are welcome toward the ‘seed money’ total of $1500 maximum

    So any contributions to: Sigel for Senate 2014 are greatly appreciated.

    As I said previously ‘Make it Legal with Sigel’ means following the law by
    1) Full 5% revenue sharing
    2) Full 55% state aid to local education
    3) State assuming its responsibility for teacher pensions and not pushing any part on to local education budgets
    4) Medicaid expansion
    5) Reinvigoration and extension of the Maine Clean Elections system–restoring gubernatorial coverage and providing for additional funding
    and more
    and yes, of course, I fully support a sensible, Maine-based approach to marijuana and recognize that the current prohibition is a failure!

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