Archive for January 15th, 2015

HD 93’s Dickerson (D-Rockland) Abruptly Resigns; Special Election Will Decide Replacement

Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

UPDATE: The special election to fill this seat has now been scheduled for March 10.

Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) announces resignation: "You are looking at a free woman"

Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) announces resignation: “You are looking at a free woman”

Last weekend, Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) announced in a late night post to Facebook that “You’re looking at a free woman”, later elaborating that she had resigned her seat from the 127th Legislature.

An official statement was issued the following morning:

“After much thought and deliberation, I am announcing that I will resign the office of State Representative for District 93 this coming week. I am moving out-of-state for professional and personal opportunities that have developed since the election, but it is with a heavy heart that I leave Knox County and the Midcoast region. It has been a privilege to serve the people of Rockland and Owls Head over the last two years. I want to thank the residents of the district for the honor of serving them in Augusta. I look forward to helping during this transition time and I thank everybody for allowing to me to serve our communities.”

Dickerson elaborated in a much longer and detailed post on her website, explaining that she had moved to Colorado in December and expanding on her decision.

DSC_0171While her colleagues in the House and Democratic leadership wished Dickerson well, House Minority Leader Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport) immediately took a different tack:

“I wish Representative Dickerson all the best in her future endeavors. Her resignation presents an opportunity for Republicans to gain another seat in the Maine House, adding to the gains we made in November. We’re looking forward to the special election so we can make our case to the good people of House District 93 and we are confident that our common sense message will resonate with them.”

A number of potential candidates have now expressed interest in filling the seat, with more anticipated to throw their hats into the ring:

      1. Regional School Unit 13 Board Chairman Steve Roberts (D)

 

      2. RSU 13 Board member Carol Bachofner (D)

 

      3. Veteran retired educator Ralph Newbert (D)

 

    4. James Kalloch (R), who lost to Dickerson by 3% last November

The Maine Green Independent Party has also stated that they intend to recruit a candidate, but no names of those under consideration have yet been released.

The next steps include Governor LePage to call for a special election, which per the Secretary of State’s office, could take a few months to hold. The parties will be conducting caucuses to select their candidate.

      (§382.

REPRESENTATIVE TO LEGISLATURE

      When there is a vacancy in the office of Representative to the Legislature, the municipal officers of any

 

      municipality affected by the vacancy may inform the Governor if there is a need to fill the vacancy before

 

      the next general election, and the Governor shall issue a proclamation declaring the vacancy and ordering a

 

      special election under section 366. [1985, c. 161, §6 (NEW).]

1. Nominees chosen. The Governor shall order the appropriate political committees to meet and
shall set the deadline for choosing nominees, which may not be less than 15 days following the Governor’s
proclamation declaring a vacancy. The committees shall follow the procedure outlined in section 363.
[ 2011, c. 409, §2 (AMD) .]

SECTION HISTORY

1985, c. 161, §6 (NEW). 1997, c. 436, §57 (AMD). 2011, c. 409, §2
(AMD).)

Late today, the increasingly antsy Fredette once again spoke out publicly about Dickerson’s resignation:

Resignation letter of HD 93 Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) addressed to Speaker Mark Eves (D-N Berwick)

Resignation letter of HD 93 Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson (D-Rockland) addressed to Speaker Mark Eves (D-N Berwick)

      It’s been five days since Rep. Elizabeth Dickerson decided she no longer wanted to represent the people of Rockland and Owls Head in the Maine House of Representatives.

Despite the fact Rep. Dickerson announced her plans to resign on Facebook and in a media release, as of Thursday afternoon, she had yet to submit her formal letter of resignation to the Secretary of State. House Republicans want to know why she has not formally stepped down. According to the Bangor Daily News, there are now three people who are interested in representing the people of House District 93.

“The people of Rockland and Owls Head deserve proper representation in the Maine House,” said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette. “We want to know why, if Rep. Dickerson truly wants to give up her seat, she has yet to formally resign? There are people ready and willing to step in and do the job. What’s the delay?”

Dickerson responded by sharing a photo of herself with the letter and an envelope addressed to Speaker of the House Rep. Mark Eves. One hopes that this will be sufficient to calm Rep. Fredette down.

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(UPDATED x4) Maine Mayors Warn of Revenue Sharing Cuts, Tax Increases and Impact on Communities

Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Auburn Mayor Jonathan Labonte addresses media at Maine Mayors' Coalition press conference, urging lawmakers reject Governor LePage's revenue sharing cuts as part of FY 14-15 budget proposal.

Auburn Mayor Jonathan Labonte addresses media at Maine Mayors’ Coalition press conference, urging lawmakers reject Governor LePage’s revenue sharing cuts as part of FY 14-15 budget proposal.

(Originally posted 11 Jun 2013) Last week a press conference was held at the State House’s Welcome Center where leaders from Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, Augusta, Gardiner, Waterville, Sanborn and Bangor addressed the media and voiced concerns regarding the impact Governor LePage’s proposed zero revenue sharing cuts will have on their communities. Dozens more municipalities across the state have sent resolutions and communications to the Legislature protesting the cuts.

Augusta Mayor Bill Stokes said, “Maine communities have already absorbed a 30% cut in revenue sharing. This year, we are receiving just under $98 million, instead of the $140 million we would have received by law. Now there are proposals to cut that by $20 million a year or more. That will mean a significant property tax increase in Augusta.”

Karen Heck, Waterville’s Mayor, has long been outspoken in her criticism of tax cuts and how those cuts affect municipalities, as was her predecessor, Paul LePage. She laid out a bleak picture:

“Even the best of these (Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee) proposals means a loss of nearly 50% million to municipalities over the next two years. We have been cutting services and trimming payroll for several years. We simply cannot absorb that kind of cut without raising taxes. Revenue sharing is an obligation, a bill the state should pay.”

She had spoken up the previous evening at a Waterville city council meeting as well, blasting the Governor’s proposal:

heck waterville

“This is really a ridiculous position for all of us to be in,”

      Heck said of the man who was mayor of the city from 2004 until he became governor in 2010.

“When the governor was mayor, clearly he used some profane language to describe exactly what he’s doing to us in a much worse way.”

She continued: “I’m not sure why the governor is interested in making sure hospitals get paid. But the mayors feel that the state needs to pay its bills when it comes to what it’s mandated to pay us in revenue sharing.”

Gardiner Mayor Thom Harnett noted that “we have a revenue problem in Maine and we need to look at additional streams of revenue”:

“We are calling on all legislators to commit to preventing this tax shift to the property tax. As we recommended in a letter to the Governor last month, this tax shift can be prevented by some modest shifts to the sales tax. The Mayors Coalition is supportive of proposals that temporarily raise the sales tax to 6% and raise the lodging tax.”

Jonathan Labonte, Mayor of Auburn, who noted that his city has been working to share services with nearby Lewiston for some time now, added that “Eliminating revenue sharing would effectively undermine the state’s 40 year cooperative agreement with municipalities. These are the revenues that keep your property taxes from skyrocketing and help to pay for municipal services such as firefighters, schools and road maintenance.

Also speaking out were Cathy Conlow (VIDEO), Bangor’s city manager, Maura Herlihy of Sanford and Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett for Mayor Macdonald (VIDEO), who mentioned at length the expensive, multiple fires his city had recently endured:

Mayor of Portland Michael Brennan (VIDEO) concluded by asking, “all legislators to work to prevent a property tax increase in virtually every community in the state.”

(Bonus: Q&A clip)

————

UPDATE #1: Originally posted in June 2013 and oh, what a difference a year made. In June 2014, Governor Paul LePage selected Auburn Mayor Jonathan Labonte to serve as Office of Policy and Management director, as outgoing head Richard Rosen had been tapped to temporarily take over at Department of Financial Services for the retiring Sawin Millett.

    The chance to serve the state of Maine and the governor was one he (LaBonte) couldn’t turn down, he said.

“When a governor calls and asks you join their team, that’s a unique opportunity,” LaBonte said.

LaBonte said he did not believe his appointment had anything to do with election-year politics.

“If there’s anything political about this, it is the governor was eager to see this office created and is looking to see works delivered out of it,” LaBonte said.

DAFS Commissioner Richard Rosen presents the LePage FY 2016/2017 biennual budget to AFA, 1/13/15.

DAFS Commissioner Richard Rosen presents the LePage FY 2016/2017 biennual budget to AFA, 1/13/15.

Yesterday, the LePage administration continued to roll out the governor’s proposed FY 2016/2017 biennial budget as now DAFS Commissioner Richard Rosen, deputy commissioner Dr. Michael Allen and Labonte sat down with Maine media, a day after Rosen presented the budget to the newly seated 127th Legislative Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. This jumps out:

      LaBonte, who also is the director of LePage’s office of policy management, said Wednesday during a briefing with reporters that fears the proposal would decimate municipal finances are overblown.

He said in 2008 revenue sharing only accounted for 5 percent of municipal budgets statewide and that the figure had decreased to 3.5 percent by 2012.

“So revenue sharing is not a large share of those municipal budgets and certainly not a large share of what’s going toward those expenditures,” LaBonte said.

When revenue sharing was first put in place, its intent was to provide property tax relief. Because the funding was directed to municipal government and did not go directly to property owners, they never ultimately benefited, LaBonte said.

On Friday, Governor LePage attempted to minimize the effects of municipal revenue sharing and the impact its removal will have on Maine’s 460 plus cities and towns.

So same as 2013 Governor Paul LePage thought 2009 Mayor LePage wrong* on municipal revenue sharing, apparently 2015 OPM Director/ LePage team player Jonathan Labonte seems to now think that 2013 Auburn Mayor Labonte was making a big deal out of nothing.

*RELATED: Video: Did 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage Rip 2013 Governor LePage For Revenue Sharing Cuts To Towns, Education Funding Failures?

————–

UPDATE #2: OPM Director/ Auburn Mayor Labonte has responded via Twitter in an interesting exchange as well as Bangor city councilor Ben Sprague:

When the email is received, it will be shared here. ~AP

——————–

UPDATE #3: The February 2013 email exchanges between Auburn Mayor Jonathan Labonte, members of the Maine Mayor Coalition and legal counsel were shared by Labonte moments ago:

——————–

(2/16/15) As Labonte continues to see his own position as not inconsistent, this post is being updated below with more conversations via Twitter today.

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Troy Jackson: I’m running for DNC

Posted on January 15, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Yesterday former Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson announced on Facebook that he is running for the Democratic National Committee opening, created when Phil Bartlett resigned as to take the mantle as Maine Democratic Party Chair:

Troy Jackson speaking at 3rd Annual Rally for Unity on January 8th in Hall of Flags.

Troy Jackson speaking at 3rd Annual Rally for Unity on January 8th in Hall of Flags.

    “This morning I wrote the members of the Maine Democratic State Committee to announce my candidacy for the Democratic National Committee and ask for their support. It is time to go boldly forward and shape our party into one that wins the hearts and minds of working families and the middle class. It is time for the Democratic Party to find electoral prominence by embracing its ideological soul, not running away from it. I will merge the opportunity to serve on the DNC with my activist roots and ask others to do so. We must make our party one that ceases to decry Conservatism without clearly explaining why a future of Progressivism can be a better alternative. Please, join with me – together we can create a party that charges forward for the sake of our values and for the sake of Maine.”

Below is the letter Jackson sent to the party’s state committee members, who will be convening later this month, and photos taken during the last state committee meeting of 2014, where Jackson nominated and spoke eloquently in strong support of Bartlett.

jacksonbluemoose

    The most incredible experience I’ve had has been the opportunity to travel to and spend time in places all over Maine where I met most of you and other like-minded activists. I saw firsthand just how many of you, or how many of us, rather, believe in a progressive vision of our state.

    Maine can be a place of living wages in a creative economy that works in tandem with our traditional economy. Maine can be a place where its citizens aren’t consumed by the cost of healthcare, let alone access to it. Maine can be a place where working families are fairly taxed and corporations finally pay their share. Maine can lead the nation in the “New Food” movement, in renewable energies, and in rural revitalization. We all want these things and we see a path to them. So let’s do it.

    The trouble seems to be that instead of great leaders like Mike Michaud and Shenna Bellows, we have conservative radicals like Paul LePage and Bruce Poliquin in charge right now. How did we Democrats fall from grace as Maine’s natural ruling party? How did people who once voted for George Mitchell and Mike Michaud begin voting for Tea Partiers?

    Troy Jackson nominates Phil Bartlett for Maine Democratic Party Chair.

    Troy Jackson nominates Phil Bartlett for Maine Democratic Party Chair.

    I believe it’s because those Tea Partiers stood for something and they never doubted it. Their policies may be wrong, but they stuck to them. When we questioned how much we should expect as Leftists, they demanded all they could as defenders of the Right. When we laughed, “How could middle class people vote against their own interests?” Republicans were convincing them that they truly ought to. When we told them a future of bipartisan compromise was coming with Democrats, Republicans told them a future without progressive tax policy, without unions, dictated by the Heritage Foundation was what they should vote for.

    And they did. They sided with the Republicans. We cannot expect middle class voters to stand with us if we don’t stand strong ourselves; if it’s not even clear what we stand for. We need to shape our Party into one as bold, as daring, and as endearing to the forgotten middle class as the Republicans are shaping theirs.

    For these reasons, I want to announce I am seeking election to the Democratic National Committee. I want to have a direct hand in steering us to electoral prominence not because we sold our ideological soul, but because we embraced it. I ask for your support because if we don’t use politics as a means of exercising our beliefs it is irrelevant.

    Jackson and Bartlett shake hands at December MDP state committee meeting in Augusta.

    Jackson and Bartlett shake hands at MDP state committee meeting in Augusta.

    As one of Maine’s DNC members, I will not only be an unyielding voice for progressive populism among that body in Washington, D.C. I will also continue to serve here at home by merging this position with my activist roots. As one of the Maine Democratic Party’s ambassadors to the public I will not be afraid to stand for middle class working people and call out those who would hold them back.

    Let us go forward with a new, bold Democratic Party that no longer just says conservative politics are wrong, but truly seeks to convince people progressivism is right. I am from a rural populist tradition and I refuse to cede any corner of our state because of a failure to show locals we do relate to them. We will build our party, we will build our coalition, and we will open a ladder of opportunity to all. Like a Bull Moose that charges forward because of what it knows its nature to be, so will we.

    In Solidarity,

    Troy Jackson

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