Archive for May, 2014
Speaker of the House/ 2014 Maine Democratic Convention Chair Mark Eves (D-N Berwick) Speech to Delegates
- FULL TEXT OF SPEECH AS PREPARED
Welcome to the Maine Democratic Party convention.
I’m Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves.
For the past two years, Senate President Justin Alfond and I joined forces to lead the Democratically-controlled Legislature.
We were on the frontlines standing up to Governor LePage on behalf of the people of Maine.
I want to thank Senator Alfond, our leadership teams, and all of the members of the Maine House and Senate here tonight for their hard work for our citizens.
I also want to thank Ben Grant, party chairman, and the amazing team he has assembled, led by Mary Erin Casale and Chuck Quintero.
We are poised for victory. We are poised to reclaim Our Maine.
We are the Party that stands for economic opportunity for everyone — not just those at the very top.
Democrats can be proud of the candidates up and down our ticket.
We are the party made up of everyday Mainers — firefighters, police officers, mill workers, moms, teachers, doctors, nurses, farmers, and small businesses owners.
We are Maine. And we are proud.
My mother was a school teacher and my father was a chaplain in the United States Military. I’m the youngest of seven children. Growing up, my family, struggled, like so many Maine families today. My parents taught my brothers, sister and I that when you pull together and work together, we all do better. They taught us the values of public service and giving back to the community.
These are the values that hold Maine communities together across our state.
My wife and I have been so proud to raise our three children here.
He has stood in the way of measures that would put more money in the pockets of Maine families, from expanding health care to increasing the minimum wage.
He’s squandered a $1 million of taxpayer funds on a controversial and plagiarized study to bolster his campaign talking points.
The Governor has mismanaged our state — even refused to do his job.
His unprecedented veto spree is nothing more than failed leadership.
When you govern by veto pen, Maine families lose.
As a family therapist helping people struggling with mental illness, I’ve seen first hand how lack of access to a health care can tear families apart. How mounting medical bills can lead to bankruptcy or even homelessness.
That’s why as Speaker of the House, I made it my top priority to expand health care to 70,000 Maine people, including nearly 3,000 veterans.
Five times — in five different bills — we worked to pass a measure that would allow us to take the federal government up on its offer to fund health care for our citizens.
We even worked across the aisle with reasonable Republicans
But Governor LePage and his Tea Party Republican allies said no:
They said no to life saving health care for our citizens.
They said no to a $1 million per day in economic investment
They said no to the 4,000 jobs it would have created.
They said no. And they had NO good reason!
For Maine people who are struggling to pay for their medicine for diabetes or face life threatening diseases, it’s hard to understand why politics stood between them and a doctor.
For Laura Tasheiko of Northport that became a terrifying reality.
When she found out she had seriously aggressive cancer she was fortunate to get the treatment she needed because she qualified for life-saving health care through Medicaid.
In January, she was among the 24,000 Mainers who lost coverage because we didn’t expand Medicaid.
Imagine being left without health care coverage while recovering from the ongoing and debilitating effects of cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy.
It’s heartbreaking; It is shameful and it is inhumane.
Governor LePage is the only Governor in the country to have vetoed Medicaid expansion five times.
He even considers it one of his highest accomplishments.
Well, I have a message for the Governor and his Republican allies in the Legislature from the tens of thousands of Mainers like Laura Tasheiko:
It’s no badge of honor to deny life saving health care to our citizens.
That message will be delivered in the voting booths across our state in November. The people of Maine will remember!
We are counting on all of you to help get Mike Michaud elected along with Democrats up and down the ticket — So that on day one of Governor Michaud’s administration, Maine can stop saying no … So that Maine can say YES to life-saving health care and the jobs and economic investment that comes with it.
During the past two years, I’m proud to say that Maine Democrats were able to improve the lives of our citizens despite the Governor.
We bolstered job training and workforce development. We invested in education for our students at all levels and health care for our seniors and people with disabilities.
We did it all working with Republicans and Independents, while the Governor sat on the sidelines waving his veto pen.
We also put a stop to some of the governor’s most harmful policies to gut protections for clean water and clean air in our state.
We prevented massive property tax spikes for middle class families and seniors.
We held back his effort to undercut worker’s rights to collectively bargain for wages and benefits.
I’m so proud of the work we did. I’m proud to have stood with Senate President Justin Alfond against Governor LePage.
But what we did is not enough.
Maine needs champions that bring us together. Maine needs leaders that build opportunity for everyone. That’s why we need to elect Mike Michaud and a Democratic Majority in the Maine House and Senate. It’s why we need to keep Maine 2nd Congressional District blue, its why we need progressive leaders like Chellie Pingree in Congress, and its why we need to elect Shenna Bellows to the U.S. Senate.
So are you with me? Are you ready to take back our state? Are you ready to reclaim Our Maine?
It won’t be easy. Our opponents never let the facts get in the way of a good story.
They manufacture crisis after crisis, they disregard the truth.
But we can’t let that stop us. We can’t and we won’t back down.
We must restore the pride the people of Maine have in our state. The Maine where we unite to help one another and lift each other up, where we celebrate our accomplishments not denigrate our people, our schools, or our workers.
This is Our Maine.
So I’ll ask again: Are you with me? Are you ready to elect Mike Michaud our new Governor and Democrats up and down the ticket?
Join me in this fight to the finish.
(NOTE: Governor LePage is completely incorrect regarding his claims that LD 1839, “An Act To Increase the Deduction for Pension Income”, was “killed along party lines”. The roll call vote shows all Senate Democrats voted in favor of the bill (34-1), the one nay being Independent Sen. Dick Woodbury. The House enacted it “under the hammer,” or by unanimous consent.)
The Character of a Nation Demands Action from its People
The character of a Nation is within its people.
Our men and women in uniform have courageously defended our country for more than 250 years and continue to do so to this day. Along with our Nation’s history of patriotism and honor comes an expectation of commitment and care to our veterans long after they leave the battlefield.
This is where America’s character shines through.
The Veterans Affairs scandal is disappointing, to say the least. I have urged the federal government to fix these systemic problems. We need leadership in Washington that is helping our veterans, not hindering their support services.
America takes care of the men and women who have so bravely fought and sacrificed to defend the freedoms we share. As a people, it is our duty to demand our federal government follow through on its promises.
In Maine, we have the distinct honor of having one of the highest numbers of veterans by population among all states. We have nearly 128,000 veterans, each one deserving more than empty promises of accessible, quality health care.
Our Administration has worked hard to fight for veterans. We have enacted laws to ensure our veterans are given full credit for their military training and experience when they apply for an occupational license from the state.
We continue to provide workforce training to veterans through Maine’s CareerCenters. This week in Bangor, we’re inviting veterans to meet one-on-one with our staff to help them find a job. Career counselors will be on hand to help veterans apply for jobs in the trades and transfer military skills into civilian careers.
Our Administration thanks veterans for their service with more than words. We provide these services to show our appreciation and commitment for them.
I am also proud to say that when I took office in 2011, we reduced taxes on military pensions. We did so by increasing the income deduction to 10-thousand-dollars. We tried to further reduce taxes on military pensions during this past session, but my bill was killed along party lines.
We cannot give up on our veterans. They deserve better.
As President Ronald Reagan said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Our veterans fought to protect our freedoms. Now we must fight to protect the benefits and services they deserve. They have certainly earned it.
Thank you for listening.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Previously, the two met in Androscoggin County (Lewiston)- a link here to video clips of that event- Hancock County (Ellsworth) and earlier this week in Aroostook County (Presque Isle) at a televised debate. Link here to WAGM-TV footage and a Storify collection of campaign tweets during that debate.
Hosted by Oxford County Democrats at the Paris Town Office and moderated by selectman Bob Kirchherr, himself the Democratic candidate for House District 73 (Buckfield, Hebron & Paris), the event was a combination of the moderator asking both candidates prepared questions provided by members of the Oxford County Democratic Committee and questions posed by the more than three dozen audience members in attendance.
There will be more opportunities for Maine voters to hear from both candidates, with televised events planned on MPBN and WLBZ and a Washington County Democratic Committee sponsored event hosted in Machias, as well as the 2014 Maine Democratic Party’s convention at Bangor’s Cross Insurance Center on May 30-31.
Here are the full clips from the forum.
1. Introductions at Oxford County 2CD Democratic Candidates’ Forum
2. Oxford County 2CD Democratic Candidates’ Forum Pt 1
1. Maine’s Future
2. East West Highway
3. ACA/ Healthcare
5. Tax cuts for wealthy
6. Lyme disease epidemic, insurance coverage bill
3. Oxford County 2CD Democratic Candidates’ Forum Pt 2
1. Gun control
2. Follow-up, location restrictions
3. Infrastructure and job creation
4. College debt- current and future
4. Oxford County 2CD Democratic Candidates’ Forum Pt 3
1. Opportunity Maine- retaining students post graduation
2. Negative attack ads
3. Economy, unions, past legislative achievements and endorsements by labor
5. Concluding remarks by Emily Cain at Oxford Co Dem 2CD Candidate Forum
6. Concluding remarks by Troy Jackson at Oxford Co Dem 2CD Candidate Forum
Audio link here; originally released by the Governor’s office for 5/21/14.
Medicaid expansion has been disastrous for other states
Democrats and their allies in the media pushed hard for Maine to expand Medicaid and add 100,000 people to our welfare system. They claimed expanding Medicaid would be free because the federal government would pay for it. They were wrong.
I vetoed Medicaid expansion five times this session because we knew that expanding Medicaid would not be free. It would cost Maine taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars over the next decade.
But don’t take my word for it. Just look at states that are now being crushed by ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion.
Arkansas expanded Medicaid the same way Maine Democrats wanted to. Already this year, Arkansas is $8 million over budget.
In California, 1.4 million more people signed up for Medicaid than they anticipated. California taxpayers are now facing $1.2 billion in unexpected costs.
Rhode Island expanded Medicaid in a way that was similar to what Democrats originally proposed for Maine. They originally estimated that 28,000 people would sign up by September. By the end of March, over 64,000 had already signed up. Rhode Island now has a $52 million budget shortfall.
Democrats claimed that expanding Medicaid in Maine would be free. But it wasn’t free after Maine first expanded Medicaid in 2002. It resulted in welfare debt of $750 million to Maine’s hospitals, and it squeezed out funding for our elderly, our disabled and our nursing homes.
Arkansas, California and Rhode Island have learned the hard way that expanding welfare under ObamaCare is far from free. The federal government will not pay for their busted budgets. Local taxpayers have to foot the bill for these financial disasters.
The rush to sign up for Medicaid isn’t the only problem some states are grappling with. Massachusetts chose to set up its own website to enroll people for insurance under ObamaCare. That website is a catastrophic failure, and it has to be scrapped.
The boondoggle will cost Massachusetts an estimated $100 million. Local taxpayers are left holding the bag for that one.As we said over and over again, there is no free lunch. These states are facing enormous costs because of Medicaid expansion and ObamaCare. We did not want Maine to get stuck in that position. That’s why we hired a consultant to advise us on how best to manage all of our welfare programs.
The consultant just released the bulk of his report, detailing what we are doing right and what we can do to improve our welfare programs. Before they could even read it, Democrats jumped up to attack the report. They just won’t face facts.
Take time to read it before you go on the attack. We must take control of our welfare program. The federal government’s one-size-fits-all approach has been disastrous in many states.
We must be able to adjust Maine’s welfare program to fits the needs of Maine people and the Maine budget.
You will hear much more about our efforts to reform welfare in the coming months. The Democrats won’t like it, but I know you will.
Thank you for listening.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
(12 pm: BILLS UPDATED BELOW WITH VOTE TOTALS) Also marking down if veto sustained. Quite possibly one of the easiest and most comprehensive graphics for tracking the vetoes is on the Bangor Daily News site; their “State and Capitol” live updates are worth reading as well.
(4:45 pm: UPDATE x2) Senate at ease until 6:30; House until 7pm.
(6am 5/2: UPDATEx3) 14 of 48 vetoes overridden; Appropriations Committee worked until midnight on the 2 bills that Governor LePage sent them earlier on Thursday (reintroduction of LD 1811 and a new nursing homes funding bill. After coming to agreements on both, they learned that the governor intended to veto them due to the amendments. So AFA voted them out to the Legislature “ONTP” (Ought Not To Pass). Some time afterwards, the 126th Legislature voted the bills dead and declared the 126th session sine die.
Busy day ahead for the 126th Legislature: 48 vetoes to be dealt with (14 in Senate and 34 in House to start), reintroduction of LD 1811 and a brand new bill that doesn’t even have a designation in the calendars- let alone committee assignment, public hearing or work session. No word yet if the session will be extended past today. Links to watch or listen in are below.
1. Yea 31 Nay 4, HOUSE: Yea 118 Nay 28 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1827, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue To Support Maine Small Business and Job Creation”
2. Yea 30 Nay 5, HOUSE: Yea 96 Nay 50 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1431, “An Act To Support School Nutrition and Expand the Local Foods Economy”
3. Yea 27 Nay 8, HOUSE: Yea 126 Nay 21 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1824, “An Act To Provide Additional Authority to the State Board of Corrections”
4. Yea 30 Nay 5, HOUSE: Yea 115 Nay 32 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 347, “An Act To Amend Insurance Coverage for Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders”
5. Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1833, “An Act To Improve Workers’ Compensation Protection for Injured Workers Whose Employers Have Wrongfully Not Secured Workers’ Compensation Insurance”
6. Yea 30 Nay 5, HOUSE: Yea 111 Nay 35 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 440, “An Act To Support Community Health Centers through Tax Credits for Dentists and Primary Care Professionals Practicing in Underserved Areas”
7. Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1468, “Resolve, Directing the Public Utilities Commission To Study the Potential Benefits and Barriers Involved in Making Renewable Thermal Technologies Eligible for Qualification in Maine’s Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard”
8. Yea 9 Nay 26 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1310, “An Act To Improve Access to Dental Care through the Establishment of the Maine Board of Oral Health”
9. Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1640, “An Act To Enhance the Stability and Predictability of Health Care Costs for Returning Veterans and Others by Addressing the Issues Associated with Hospital Charity Care and Bad Debt”
10. Yea 19 Nay 16 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1641, “An Act To Amend the Workers’ Compensation Laws as They Pertain to Employee Representation”
11. Yea 22 Nay 13 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1837, “An Act To Provide Former Employees of the Maine Military Authority the Ability To Sue for Severance Pay”
12. Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1750, “An Act To Amend the Maine Administrative Procedure Act and Clarify Wind Energy Laws”
13. Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1765, “An Act To Establish the Criminal Law Revision Commission”
14. Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1851, “An Act To Delay Implementation of the Maine Metallic Mineral Mining Act and Related Statutory Provisions”
1. Yea 134 Nay 12; SENATE Yea 35 Nay 0 – VETO OVERRIDDEN.
LD 1858, “An Act to Achieve the Savings Required under Part F of the Biennial Budget and To Change Certain Provisions of the Law for Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015″
2. Yea 131 Nay 15, SENATE: Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 297, “An Act To Require Forest Rangers To Be Trained in Order To Allow Them To Carry Firearms”
3. Yea 114 Nay 32, SENATE: Yea 31 Nay 4 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1043, “An Act To Authorize a General Fund Bond Issue and To Assist in the Creation of Jobs through Regional Economic Development”
4. Yea 123 Nay 23, SENATE: Yea 28 Nay 7 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1747, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 180: Performance Evaluation and Professional Growth Systems, a Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Education”
5. Yea 138 Nay 8, SENATE: Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 933, “An Act To Establish a Separate Regulatory Board for Dental Hygienists”
6. Yea 105 Nay 41, SENATE: Yea 20 Nay 14 Abs 1 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1719, “An Act To Improve Education about and Awareness of Maine’s Health Laws and Resources”
7. Yea 137 Nay 9, SENATE: Yea 35 Nay 0 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1729, “An Act To Increase the Period of Time for the Calculation of a Prior Conviction for Operating Under the Influence”
8. Yea 98 Nay 48, SENATE: Yea 33 Nay 2 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1600, “An Act to Require Health Insurers to Provide Coverage for Human Leukocyte Antigen Testing to Establish Bone Marrow Donor Transplantation Suitability”
9. Yea 94 Nay 52 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1367, “An Act To Require Health Insurance Carriers and the MaineCare Program To Cover the Cost of Transition Services To Bridge the Gap between High School and Independence”
10. Yea 82 Nay 64 (SUSTAINED)
LD 38, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 201: Provider of Last Resort Service Quality, a Major Substantive Rule of the Public Utilities Commission”
11. Yea 83 Nay 62 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1761, “An Act To Ensure That Large Public Utility Reorganizations Advance the Economic Development and Information Access Goals of the State”
12. Yea 113 Nay 33, SENATE: Yea 29 Nay 6 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1806, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations Contained in the State Government Evaluation Act Review of the Maine Public Employees Retirement System”
13. Yea 96 Nay 50 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1816, “An Act To Address Recommendations from the Report by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability Regarding the Public Utilities Commission”
14. Yea 93 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1809, “An Act Concerning Meetings of Boards of Trustees and Governing Bodies of Quasi-municipal Corporations and Districts That Provide Water, Sewer and Sanitary Services”
15. Yea 137 Nay 8, SENATE: Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1821, “An Act To Implement Recommendations of the Right To Know Advisory Committee”
16. Yea 134 Nay 12, SENATE: Yea 33 Nay 2 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1479, “An Act to Clarify Telecommunications Regulation Reform”
17. Yea 124 Nay 22; SENATE: Yea 35 Nay 0 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 906, “An Act to Permit a School Administrative Unit Discretion Concerning Participation of Students from Charter Schools in School Extracurricular and Interscholastic Activities”
18. Yea 88 Nay 58 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1120, “An Act To Improve Maine’s Tax Laws”
19. Yea 96 Nay 51 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1185, “An Act to Enhance Efforts to Use Locally Produced Food in Schools”
20. Yea 133 Nay 14, SENATE: Yea 29 Nay 6 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1194, “An Act to Protect Social Media Privacy in School and in the Workplace”
21. Yea 92 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1247, “An Act To Expand Coverage of Family Planning Services”
22. Yea 91 Nay 54 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1345, “A Resolve to Study the Design and Implementation of Options for a Universal Health Care Plan”
23. Yea 104 Nay 42, SENATE: Yea 25 Nay 10 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1463, “A Resolve to Develop a Process for Tax Expenditure Review”
24. Yea 93 Nay 54 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1593, “A Resolve to Eliminate Financial Inequality in MaineCare Reimbursement for Community-based Behavioral Health Services”
25. Yea 110 Nay 37, SENATE: Yea 20 Nay 15 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1757, “A Resolve to Establish the Blue Ribbon Commission on Independent Living and Disability”
26. Yea 94 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1772, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Chapter 200: Metallic Mineral Exploration, Advanced Exploration and Mining, a Late-filed Major Substantive Rule of the Department of Environmental Protection”
27. Yea 83 Nay 63 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1794, “An Act To Cancel the No-bid Alexander Group Contract To Produce Savings in Fiscal Year 2013-14″
28. Yea 94 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1829, “An Act To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Report Annually on Investigations and Prosecutions of False Claims Made under the MaineCare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Food Supplement Programs”
29. Yea 87 Nay 59 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1820, “An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers”
30. Yea 87 Nay 58 (SUSTAINED)
LD 222, “An Act Designating the Chief of the State Police as the Only Issuing Authority of a Permit To Carry a Concealed Handgun”
31. Yea 128 Nay 16, SENATE: Yea 22 Nay 13 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1154, “An Act To Establish the Maine Length of Service Award Program”
32. Yea 94 Nay 53 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1578, “An Act To Increase Health Security by Expanding Federally Funded Health Care for Maine People”
33. Yea 139 Nay 7, SENATE: Yea 24 Nay 11 (OVERRIDDEN)
LD 1850, “Resolve, To Establish the Commission To Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula”
34. Yea 125 Nay 21, SENATE: Yea 21 Nay 14 (SUSTAINED)
LD 1744, “An Act To Protect Maine Lakes”
1. LD 1811, “An Act To Appropriate and Allocate Funds To Strengthen the State’s Efforts To Investigate, Prosecute and Punish Persons Committing Drug Crimes”
2. Press release (4/30/14) from Governor LePage’s office: Maine Nursing Homes Facing Closure, Elderly At Risk
———–Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )