(UPDATED) Maine Reacts to Trump Inauguration

Posted on January 22, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

(UPDATED, 1/22/17) MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Show aired the following as a quick review of the weekend’s events in Washington DC and nationally:



On Friday, as Donald J. Trump was sworn into office as the country’s 45th President, Mainers gathered in the State House’s Hall of Flags to read the U.S. Constitution. Here is full video of the event, hosted by ACLU of Maine:


Saturday saw the largest number of protesters ever gathered outside the State House complex as part of the over 600 international location rally/ #WomensMarch event, protesting President Trump. Numbers for participation are still being totaled, but event organizers are claiming over 10,000 participants at the Augusta site.

A quick video from within the crowd. State Senator Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec) can be heard speaking in the background.

Here are photos that better illustrate the strength of numbers (link to more photos here).

Via Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills’ offices in the Cross Building:



A Facebook photo shared by Maine Senate Democratic press secretary Mario Moretto from the State House shows Senator Bellows looking down at the crowds:


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Mainers Gather at Huge “Save Healthcare Rally” in Portland

Posted on January 15, 2017. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Approximately 800-1200 Mainers came together at a rally on the steps of Portland City Hall today, one of dozens of similar events across the country, urging Congress not to scrap the Affordable Care Act. Here is full video of the event:


Maine Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, who has been a strong advocate for healthcare over the years, gave an impassioned speech:


Photos here of the rally.

Prior to the rally, Congresswoman Pingree met with almost a dozen constituents at a round table discussion inside City Hall. She told those gathered that they were among over 1000 families that had written to her recently, urging that she vote to save the Affordable Care Act.

Video here of the round table.

From left to right:

1. Daniel Brouder of Cumberland Foreside
2. Emily Ingwersen of Arundel
3. Lynda Bond
4. Katie MacDonald of Portland
5. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree
6. Alyra Donisvitch
7. Briana Volk of Portland
8. Andrew Volk of Portland
9. Ruth Dean of South Portland
10. Mary Henderson of Topsham

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128th Maine Legislature Standing Joint Committee Chairs, Members

Posted on December 23, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

Joint Standing Committees – 128th

Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry
Sen. Paul T. Davis, Sr. Chair (R-Piscataquis)
Rep. Michelle Dunphy, Chair (D-Old Town)

Sen. Thomas B. Saviello (R-Franklin)
Sen. James F. Dill (D-Penobscot)
Rep. Ralph Chapman (D-Brooksville)
Rep. Roland Danny Martin (D-Sinclair)
Rep. Margaret M. O’Neil (D-Saco)
Rep. Russell J. Black (R-Wilton)†
Rep. Carol A. McElwee (R-Caribou)
Rep. MaryAnne Kinney (R-Knox)
Rep. Norman E. Higgins (R-Dover-Foxcroft)
Rep. Thomas H. Skolfield (R-Weld)
Rep. Kent Ackley (C-Monmouth)

Appropriations and Financial Affairs
Sen. James M. Hamper, Chair (R-Oxford)
Rep. Drew Gattine, Chair (D-Westbrook)

Sen. Roger J. Katz (R-Kennebec)
Sen. Catherine Breen (D-Cumberland)
Rep. John L. Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
Rep. Aaron M. Frey (D-Bangor)
Rep. Erik C. Jorgensen (D-Portland)
Rep. Brian L. Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor)
Rep. Denise A. Tepler (D-Topsham)
Rep. Tom J. Winsor (R-Norway)†
Rep. Heather W. Sirocki (R-Scarborough)
Rep. Jeffrey L. Timberlake (R-Turner)
Rep. H. Stedman Seavey (R-Kennebunkport)

Criminal Justice and Public Safety
Sen. Kimberley C. Rosen, Chair (R-Hancock)
Rep. Charlotte Warren, Chair (D-Hallowell)

Sen. Scott W. Cyrway (R-Kennebec)
Sen. G. William Diamond (D-Cumberland)
Rep. Catherine M. Nadeau (D-Winslow)
Rep. Thomas R. W. Longstaff (D-Waterville)
Rep. Martin J. Grohman (D-Biddeford)
Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt (D-South Portland)
Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross (D-Portland)
Rep. Karen A. Gerrish (R-Lebanon)†
Rep. Donald G. Marean (R-Hollis)
Rep. Patrick W. Corey (R-Windham)
Rep. Lloyd C. Herrick (R-Paris)

Education and Cultural Affairs
Sen. Brian D. Langley, Chair (R-Hancock)
Rep. Victoria P. Kornfield, Chair (D-Bangor)

Sen. Joyce A. Maker (R-Washington)
Sen. Rebecca J. Millett (D-Cumberland)
Rep. Matthea Elisabeth Larsen Daughtry (D-Brunswick)
Rep. Richard R. Farnsworth (D-Portland)
Rep. Teresa S. Pierce (D-Falmouth)
Rep. Roger Jason Fuller (D-Lewiston)
Rep. David Harold McCrea (D-Fort Fairfield)
Rep. Phyllis A. Ginzler (R-Bridgton)†
Rep. Beth Peloquin Turner (R-Burlington)
Rep. Heidi H. Sampson (R-Alfred)
Rep. Harold L. Stewart III (R-Presque Isle)

Energy, Utilities and Technology
Sen. David Woodsome, Chair (R-York)
Rep. Seth A. Berry, Chair (D-Bowdoinham)

Sen. Andre E. Cushing III (R-Penobscot)
Sen. Mark N. Dion (D-Cumberland)
Rep. Deane Rykerson (D-Kittery)
Rep. Jennifer L. DeChant (D-Bath)
Rep. Janice E. Cooper (D-Yarmouth)
Rep. Christina Riley (D-Jay)
Rep. Heather B. Sanborn (D-Portland)
Rep. Nathan J. Wadsworth (R-Hiram)†
Rep. Lance Evans Harvell (R-Farmington)
Rep. Beth A. O’Connor (R-Berwick)
Rep. Jeffery P. Hanley (R-Pittston)

Environment and Natural Resources
Sen. Thomas B. Saviello, Chair (R-Franklin)
Rep. Ralph L. Tucker, Chair (D-Brunswick)

Sen. Amy F. Volk (R-Cumberland)
Geoffrey M. Gratwick (D-Penobscot)
Rep. Robert S. Duchesne (D-Hudson)
Rep. John L. Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
Rep. Denise Patricia Harlow (D-Portland)
Rep. Jessica L. Fay (D-Raymond)
Rep. Stanley Paige Zeigler, Jr. (D-Montville)
Rep. Jonathan L. Kinney (R-Limington)†
Rep. Richard H. Campbell (R-Orrington)
Rep. Jeffrey K. Pierce (R-Dresden)
Rep. Scott Walter Strom (R-Pittsfield)

Health and Human Services
Sen. Eric L. Brakey, Chair (R-Androscoggin)
Rep. Patricia Hymanson, Chair (D-York)

Sen. Roger J. Katz (R-Kennebec)
Sen. Benjamin M. Chipman (D-Cumberland)
Rep. Anne C. Perry (D-Calais)
Rep. Scott M. Hamann (D-South Portland)
Rep. Dale J. Denno (D-Cumberland)
Rep. Colleen M. Madigan (D-Waterville)
Rep. Jennifer Ellen Parker (D-South Berwick)
Rep. Deborah J. Sanderson (R-Chelsea)†
Rep. Richard S. Malaby (R-Hancock)
Rep. Frances M. Head (R-Bethel)
Rep. Paul B. Chace (R-Durham)

Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Sen. Scott W. Cyrway, Chair (R-Kennebec)
Rep. Robert S. Duchesne, Chair (D-Hudson)

Sen. David C. Woodsome (R-York)
Sen. Michael E. Carpenter (D-Aroostook)
Rep. Robert W. Alley, Sr. (D-Beals)
Rep. Denise Patricia Harlow (D-Portland)
Rep. Catherine M. Nadeau (D-Winslow)
Rep. Paul A. Stearns (R-Guilford)†
Rep. Stephen J. Wood (R-Greene)
Rep. Roger E. Reed (R-Carmel)
Rep. Peter A. Lyford (R-Eddington)
Rep. Gina M. Mason (R-Lisbon)
Rep. Timothy S. Theriault (R-China)

Insurance and Financial Services
Sen. Rodney L. Whittemore, Chair (R-Somerset)
Rep. Mark W. Lawrence, Chair (D-South Berwick)

Sen. Dana L. Dow (R-Lincoln)
Sen. Brownie Carson (D-Cumberland)
Rep. Heidi E. Brooks (D-Lewiston)
Rep. Gina M. Melaragno (D-Auburn)
Rep. Benjamin T. Collings (D-Portland)
Rep. Heather B. Sanborn (D-Portland)
Rep. Raymond A. Wallace (R-Dexter)†
Rep. John Joseph Picchiotti (R-Fairfield)
Rep. Robert A. Foley (R-Wells)
Rep. Dwayne W. Prescott (R-Waterboro)
Rep. Garrel Robert Craig (R-Brewer)

Sen. Lisa Keim, Chair (R-Oxford)
Rep. Matthew W. Moonen, Chair (D-Portland)

Sen. Rodney L. Whittemore (R-Somerset)
Sen. Dawn Hill (D-York)
Rep. Joyce McCreight (D-Harpswell)
Rep. Christopher W. Babbidge (D-Kennebunk)
Rep. Donna Bailey (D-Saco)
Rep. Barbara A. Cardone (D-Bangor)
Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt (D-South Portland)
Rep. Stacey K. Guerin (R-Glenburn)†
Rep. Roger L. Sherman (R-Hodgdon)
Rep. Richard T. Bradstreet (R-Vassalboro)
Rep. Chris A. Johansen (R-Monticello)

Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development
Sen. Amy F. Volk, Chair (R-Cumberland)
Rep. Ryan M. Fecteau, Chair (D-Biddeford)

Sen. Brian D. Langley (R-Hancock)
Sen. Shenna L. Bellows (D-Kennebec)
Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio (D-Sanford)
Rep. Dillon F. Bates (D-Westbrook)
Rep. James R. Handy (D-Lewiston)
Rep. Donna R. Doore (D-Augusta)
Rep. Michael A. Sylvester (D-Portland)
Rep. Susan M. W. Austin (R-Gray)†
Rep. Lawrence E. Lockman (R-Amherst)
Rep. Joel R. Stetkis (R-Canaan)
Rep. Karen R. Vachon (R-Scarborough)

Marine Resources
Sen. Joyce A. Maker, Chair (R-Washington)
Rep. Walter A. Kumiega III, Chair (D-Deer Isle)

Sen. Eric L. Brakey (R-Androscoggin)
Sen. Eloise A. Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc)
Rep. Michael G. Devin (D-Newcastle)
Rep. Robert W. Alley, Sr. (D-Beals)
Rep. Lydia C. Blume (D-York)
Rep. Stephanie Hawke (R-Boothbay Harbor)†
Rep. Kevin J. Battle (R-South Portland)
Rep. William R. Tuell (R-East Machias)
Rep. David G. Haggan (R-Hampden)
Rep. Abden S. Simmons (R-Waldoboro)
Rep. Paula G. Sutton (R-Warren)

State and Local Government
Sen. Paul T. Davis, Sr. Chair (R-Piscataquis)
Rep. Roland Danny Martin, Chair (D-Sinclair)

Sen. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford)
Sen. Susan A. Deschambault (D-York)
Rep. Mark E. Bryant (D-Windham)
Rep. Pinny Beebe-Center (D-Rockland)
Rep. George W. Hogan (D-Old Orchard Beach)
Rep. John E. Madigan, Jr. (D-Rumford)
Rep. John Alden Spear (D-South Thomaston)
Rep. Richard A. Pickett (R-Dixfield)†
Rep. Matthew A. Harrington (R-Sanford)
Rep. Lester S. Ordway (R-Standish)
Rep. Chad Wayne Grignon (R-Athens)

Sen. Dana L. Dow, Chair (R-Lincoln)
Rep. Ryan Tipping, Chair (D-Orono)

Sen. Andre E. Cushing III, (R-Penobscot)
Sen. Justin M. Chenette (D-York)
Rep. Stephen S. Stanley (D-Medway)
Rep. Janice E. Cooper (D-Yarmouth)
Rep. Gay M. Grant (D-Gardiner)
Rep. Joyce McCreight (D-Harpswell)
Rep. Maureen Fitzgerald Terry (D-Gorham)
Rep. Gary L. Hilliard (R-Belgrade)†
Rep. Bruce A. Bickford (R-Auburn)
Rep. Matthew G. Pouliot (R-Augusta)
Rep. Karleton S. Ward (R-Dedham)

Sen. Ronald F. Collins, Chair (R-York)
Rep. Andrew J. McLean, Chair (D-Gorham)

Sen. Kimberley C. Rosen (R-Hancock)
Sen. David R. Miramant (D-Knox)
Rep. Walter A. Kumiega III (D-Deer Isle)
Rep. Gay M. Grant (D-Gardiner)
Rep. John C. Schneck (D-Bangor)
Rep. Betty A. Austin (D-Skowhegan)
Rep. Bettyann W. Sheats (D-Auburn)
Rep. Wayne R. Parry (R-Arundel)†
Rep. Richard M. Cebra (R-Naples)
Rep. James S. Gillway (R-Searsport)
Rep. Michael D. Perkins (R-Oakland)

Veterans and Legal Affairs
Sen. Garrett P. Mason, Chair (R-Androscoggin)
Rep. Louis J. Luchini, Chair (D-Ellsworth)

Sen. Ronald F. Collins (R-York)
Sen. Michael E. Carpenter (D-Aroostook)
Rep. Thomas R. W. Longstaff (D-Waterville)
Rep. John C. Schneck (D-Bangor)
Rep. Kimberly J. Monaghan (D-Cape Elizabeth)
Rep. Craig V. Hickman (D-Winthrop)
Rep. Bradlee Thomas Farrin (R-Norridgewock)†
Rep. Kathleen R. J. Dillingham (R-Oxford)
Rep. Sheldon Mark Hanington (R-Lincoln)
Rep. Dustin Michael White (R-Washburn)
Rep. Owen D. Casás (I-Rockport)

Joint Select Committee on Joint Rules
Rep. Jared F. Golden, Chair (D-Lewiston)

Rep. John L. Martin (D-Eagle Lake)
Rep. Seth A. Berry (D-Bowdoinham)
Rep. Roger L. Sherman (R-Hodgdon)†
Rep. Donald G. Marean (R-Hollis)

Government Oversight Committee
Sen. Roger J. Katz, Chair (R-Kennebec)
Rep. Anne-Marie Mastraccio, Chair (D-Sanford)

Sen. Paul T. Davis, Sr. (R-Piscataquis)
Sen. Thomas B. Saviello (R-Franklin)
Sen. Nathan L. Libby (D-Androscoggin)
Sen. G. William Diamond (D-Cumberland)
Sen. Geoffrey M. Gratwick (D-Penobscot)
Rep. Jennifer L. DeChant (D-Bath)
Rep. Deane Rykerson (D-Kittery)
Rep. Jeffrey K. Pierce (R-Dresden)†
Rep. Matthew A. Harrington (R-Sanford)
Rep. Paula G. Sutton (R-Warren)

†Ranking Republican Member

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(UPDATED) Veto Day Score Card

Posted on April 28, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Not nearly as epic as last year’s list and hopefully less dramatic! A reminder that a 2/3s vote of members present in both legislative chambers is necessary to override the governor’s veto. Here goes:



1. LD 365, “An Act To Provide a Tax Reduction for Modifications To Make a Home More Accessible for a Person with a Disability.” (House OVERRIDE, 148-0     Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)

2. LD 419, “An Act To Establish the Summer Success Program Fund.”  (House SUSTAIN, 93-56) DEAD

3. LD 654, “An Act to Expand the 1998 Special Retirement Plan to Include Detectives in the Office of the Attorney General.” (House SUSTAIN, 96-53) DEAD

4. LD 655 “Resolve, To Provide the Engineering Study and Planning Needed for a Statewide, Centrally Located Emergency Services Training Facility and Several Regional Training Facilities.” (House SUSTAIN, 93-55) DEAD

5. LD 1279 “An Act To Authorize Advance Deposit Wagering for Horse Racing.” (House OVERRIDE, 120-29     Senate OVERRIDE, 23-11)

6. LD 1696, “Resolve, To Establish a Moratorium on Rate Changes Related to Rule Chapter 101: MaineCare Benefits Manual, Sections 13, 17, 28, and 65.” (House OVERRIDE, 101-45     Senate OVERRIDE, 28-6) 

7. LD 1514, “An Act To Conform Maine Law to the Requirements of the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation.” (Senate SUSTAIN, 20-14) DEAD

8. LD 1498, “An Act To Clarify Medicaid Ombudsman Services.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5     House OVERRIDE, 118-28)

9. LD 1465, “Resolve, To Require the Department of Health and Human Services To Conduct a Study of Ambulance Services.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 33-1     House 139-10)

10. LD 1689, “An Act To Protect Children in the State from Possible Sexual, Physical and Emotional Abuse by Persons Who Have Been Convicted of Crimes.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5    House 100-49)


11. LD 1649, “An Act To Modernize Maine’s Solar Power Policy and Encourage Economic Development.” (House SUSTAIN, 96-52) DEAD 

12. LD 1253, “An Act To Improve the Evaluation of Elementary and Secondary Schools.” (House OVERRIDE, 112-31     Senate OVERRIDE, 33-1)

13. LD 1675, “Resolve, To Create the Task Force on Public-private Partnerships To Support Public Education.” (House OVERRIDE, 137-12     Senate OVERRIDE, 30-4)

14. LD 1394, “An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Strengthen the Adequacy and Equity of Certain Cost Components of the School Funding Formula.” (House SUSTAIN, 95-52) DEAD

15. LD 1489, “An Act To Clarify Expenditures Regarding Androscoggin County.” (House SUSTAIN, 87-61) DEAD

16. LD 1547, “An Act To Facilitate Access to Naloxone Hydrochloride.” (House OVERRIDE, 132-14     Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5)

17. LD 1552, “An Act To Reduce Morbidity and Mortality Related to Injected Drugs.” (House OVERRIDE, 108-40     Senate OVERRIDE, 29-5)

18. LD 1521, “An Act To Create Equity among Essential Nonprofit Health Care Providers in Relation to the Sales Tax and the Service Provider Tax.” (House OVERRIDE, 139-10     Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)

19. LD 1579, “An Act Regarding the Maine Clean Election Fund.” (House SUSTAIN, 84-63) DEAD

20. LD 1629, “An Act to Implement the Recommendations of the Commission to Study the Public Reserved Lands Management Fund.” (House SUSTAIN, 90-58) DEAD

21. LD 1224, “An Act To Amend the Child Protective Services Laws.” (House OVERRIDE, 147-1     Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)


22. LD 1398, “An Act to Reduce Electric Rates for Maine Businesses.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 33-2   House OVERRIDE, 110-38)

23. LD 1468, “Resolve, To Improve the Safety of Ferries in the State.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 35-0 House OVERRIDE 113-32)

24. LD 1540 “An Act To Protect All Students in Elementary or Secondary Schools from Sexual Assault by School Officials.” (Senate OVERRIDE 34-0,      House OVERRIDE, 140-6)

25. LD 1686, “An Act to Amend the Finance Authority of Maine Act.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 28-7   House OVERRIDE 122-24)

26. LD 1614 “Resolve, To Provide Funding for the County Jail Operations Fund.” (House OVERRIDE, 148-0     Senate OVERRIDE, 33-2)

27. LD 1617, “An Act Regarding the Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 34-1     House OVERRIDE, 129-18)

28. LD 1692, “An Act to Amend and Clarify the Laws Governing the Brunswick Naval Air Station Job Increment Financing Fund.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 26-9     House SUSTAIN, 85-62) DEAD

29. LD 867, “An Act To Provide Tax Fairness and To Lower Medical Expenses for Patients under the Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act.” (Senate SUSTAIN, 23-12) DEAD

30. LD 690, “An Act To Ensure the Safety of Home Birth.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 28-7)

31. LD 1645, “An Act To Address Employee Recruitment and Retention Issues at State Mental Health Institutions.” (Senate OVERRIDE, 34-0)

32. LD 1472, “Resolve, To Enhance the Administration of the Child and Adult Care Food Program by Creating Clear Guidelines for Organizations and Streamlining the Application Process.” (Senate SUSTAIN, 23-12) DEAD

33. LD 1481, “An Act to Protect Maine’s Natural Resources Jobs by Exempting from Sales Tax Fuel Used in Commercial Farming, Fishing and Forestry.”



NOTE: This post will be updated as results become known.

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Hiatus Over- Back At It!

Posted on April 26, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Just a general announcement that my tenure as Sanders 2016 Western Maine RFO is over and that I intend to pick up where I left off on other projects, assignments and the like.


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Announcing Hiatus- #FeelTheBern!

Posted on January 25, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Taking a break from photo, video journalism and overall freelance reporting in the State House for awhile and announcing tonight that I have accepted a position as the new CD2 Field Organizer (Lewiston Office, Western Maine Counties) for the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign, located at 110 Lisbon St in Lewiston (the old Lamey Wellehan building).

As they say, #FeelTheBern!

Once again, the video of Senator Sanders in Portland last year.

    Published on Jul 7, 2015
    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, running for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, spoke with thousands of enthusiastic supporters on July 6th at the Cross Insurance Arena/ Portland Civic Center. Crowd estimates range from 7500 (MPBN) to as high as 9000 (BDN).

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Bernie Sanders 2016 Campaign Announces Maine Working Class Cabinet

Posted on January 19, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Today at the State House, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign announced the creation of the Maine “Working Class Cabinet.” Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap will chair the committee.

From his prepared remarks:

    “Bernie Sanders is the strongest advocate for working families this country has seen since President Roosevelt nearly 70 years ago. He plans to build a strong economy for all of us, not just the billionaires. He is also our best hope for tackling climate change, getting big money out of politics, fighting for women’s rights, caring for our veterans, and making college tuition free and debt free. This cabinet is a reflection of the people-powered campaign Bernie Sanders is running. We look forward to working together to get him elected.”

House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe:

    “If you’re not outraged by the disappearance of the middle class here in the state of Maine, then it’s time to skip the cocktail parties. It’s time to head down to the main street to the coffee shop. It’s time to talk to your neighbors.”

bernpressBernie 2016 Maine Working Class Cabinet

    Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap
    House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe,
    State Senator David Dutremble
    State Senator Geoffrey Gratwick
    State Senator David Miramant
    State Senator John Patrick
    State Representative Robert Alley
    State Representative Roberta Beavers
    State Representative Lydia Blume
    State Representative Heidi Brooks
    State Representative James Campbell
    State Representative Ralph Chapman
    State Representative Benjamin Chipman
    State Representative Michael Devin
    State Representative Mark Dion
    State Representative Donna Doore
    State Representative Michelle Dunphy
    State Representative Jeffrey Evangelos
    State Representative Richard Farnsworth
    State Representative Paul Gilbert
    State Representative Adam Goode
    State Representative Scott Hamann
    State Representative Denise Harlow
    State Representative George Hogan
    State Representative Brian Hubbell
    State Representative Michel Lajoie
    State Representative Gina Melaragno
    State Representative Kimberly Monaghan
    State Representative Christine Powers
    State Representative Diane Russell
    State Representative Deane Rykerson
    State Representative Robert Saucier
    State Representative Stanley Short
    State Representative Stephen Stanley
    State Representative Peter Stuckey
    State Representative Ryan Tipping-Spitz
    Honorable Severin Beliveau, Former Maine Democratic Party Chair
    Honorable John Richardson, Former Speaker of the House
    Honorable Michael Brennan, Former Past Mayor of Portland
    Honorable Bruce Bryant
    Honorable Robert Duplessie
    Honorable Charles Priest
    Former President Don Berry, ME AFL-CIO
    Former President Joe Gaudette, ATU 714
    District VP, Serina DeWolfe CWA District 1400
    President Peter Keefe, IBEW 2327
    Reggie Munson, Ironworkers Local 7 Business Agent
    President Cokie Giles, Maine State Nurses Association
    Chairperson Tom Reynolds, Androscoggin County Democratic Party
    Chairperson Troy Haines, Aroostook County Democratic Party
    Former Chairperson Shelly Mountain, Aroostook County Democratic Party
    Chairperson Bruce Hodson, Knox County Democratic Party
    Chairperson Rita Moran, Kennebec County Democratic Party
    Chairperson Joanne Dunlap, Franklin County Democratic Party
    Chairperson Carole Boothroyd, Piscataquis County Democratic Party
    Chairperson Ellen Farnsworth, Washington County Democratic Party
    Legislative Chairperson Charles Chick Cicotte, American Legion
    President Jim Gerritsen, Organic Seed Growers OSGATA
    Craig Brown, Founder, Common Dreams
    President James Pross, Androscoggin Land Trust
    Tomlin Perkins Coggeshall, Founder, Frances Perkins Center
    Maine Business Leader Kevin Mattson
    Maine Business Leader Jim Wellehan
    Maine Business Leaders Connor and Chelsea Belliveau

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LePage Holds Presser to Address Racism Charges, Blames Media For Bad Drug Coverage

Posted on January 18, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Maine Governor Paul LePage found himself in hot water recently, as his racially-charged comments made regarding Maine’s heroin crisis at a Bridgton town hall event made international news.

    “These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty… these types of guys… they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

Some reactions are below.

1. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree: “Governor LePage’s comments were disgraceful and racist. Once again, just a week before Martin Luther King Day, the governor has made a comment that is offensive to the African American community and to all of us. It does not represent the values of Maine people and is embarrassing to our state. And although the governor seems to regret getting caught making those remarks, he also seems unwilling to apologize to the community that he has insulted.”

2. 2CD Democratic candidate Emily Cain (D-Orono): “We need to be talking about real solutions to the serious epidemic of heroin addiction afflicting our state. Governor LePage’s appalling remarks this week embody the very worst of fear-mongering in politics that hold us back as a state and a nation, and they do not reflect Maine values. There is absolutely no place for this in our public discourse – especially in Maine. Unfortunately, Congressman Bruce Poliquin – who in the past has referred to himself and LePage as ‘good friends’ – has still remained silent on LePage’s ugly remarks. Does Bruce Poliquin defend LePage’s comments?”

3. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Justin Alfond (D-Portland): “At best, the governor’s comments were careless or poorly stated. At worst, they were purposeful and deeply offensive. Either way, they were completely unproductive. Maine’s drug addiction crisis is complex, and impacts ever aspect of life for those affected by it. We need to work on solutions, not reduce the problem to racially charged soundbites.”

4. House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): “Today, at a national summit of rural state leaders, I am being bombarded by questions about Governor LePage’s hateful statements rather than about what Maine is doing right. At a time when Maine needs leaders to move our state forward, the governor is making national headlines for the wrong reasons yet again. He is making it harder for us to work on policies important to Maine people, whether it’s energy, substance abuse or growing the rural economy.”

5. Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D-Freeport): “The governor keeps saying he wants to address the state’s drug epidemic. Comments like the one he made in Bridgton keep Maine from moving forward on this front. If the governor is serious about tackling this crisis, he should stop standing in the way of the Legislature’s comprehensive plan and help Mainers desperate for treatment get the care they need.”

A few days later, the governor held a press conference in his Cabinet Room in hopes of clarifying his remarks and discussing the state’s heroin epidemic. From a media advisory:

    AUGUSTA- Governor Paul R. LePage will hold a news conference at 10:00 AM in the Cabinet Room to discuss his recent remarks regarding Maine’s drug crisis. All verified media is welcome to attend.

    When: Friday, January 08, 2016, 10:00 AM
    Where: Cabinet Room, State House, Augusta

Here is full video from that press conference.

Here are a few parsed out moments from the press conference.

1. Maine Governor Paul LePage to Media: “You Don’t Like Me, and I Don’t Like You”

2. Governor Paul LePage Describes Drug Bust He Personally Witnessed While in Office

3. LePage Accuses Press of Being in Bloggers’ Backpockets

4. LePage To NECN: “Your comment is inappropriate”; “Never said anything about being black”

5. Maine Governor Paul LePage on Drug Omnibus Bill: “Ecstatic” Legislature Taking Up Issue

6. LePage on Media Role in Solving Maine’s Drug Crisis

7. Maine Governor Paul LePage Tells Stories of Addicts, Narcan Usage

8. LePage Tells Media What They Are Missing in Reporting on Maine’s Drug Crisis

9. LePage to WMTW: “Only time I see you in this building… is when you are criticizing me”

10. LePage Verbally Attacks Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond (D-Portland) At Press Conference

11. Maine Governor Paul LePage Hints at New County Jail Program

12. LePage Takes Followup Question, Re: Drug Busts He Has Witnessed

The governor will conduct another public town hall event tomorrow evening in Windham.

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Maine Coalition Submits Signatures to Put Minimum Wage Increase on 2016 Ballot

Posted on January 18, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Last Thursday, Mainers for Fair Wages submitted 75,000 plus verified signatures to Secretary of State Dunlap’s office to place a minimum wage increase on the November ballot. Supporters and signature gatherers assembled for a rally in the State House’s Hall of Flags.

Mainers for Fair Wages, a coalition including the Maine People’s Alliance, Maine Small Business Coalition, and Maine AFL-CIO, launched the petition process for a citizen initiative to raise Maine’s minimum wage in June. If passed, the initiative would increase the minimum wage to $9 per hour in 2017 and then by $1 a year until it reaches $12 by 2020. After that the wage would increase at the same rate as the cost of living. The initiative would also incrementally raise the sub-minimum tipped wage until it matches the minimum wage for all other workers by 2024.

Speakers included:

  • Adam Lee – Chairman, Lee Automalls, Auburn
  • Benjamin Waxman – Co-owner, American Roots, Portland
  • April Thibodeau – Volunteer and restaurant server, Westport Island
  • Adelaide Manirakiza – Homecare worker, Westbrook

Prepared remarks of other speakers:

  • Katie Logue, Auburn: “I work at a convenience store for just over the state minimum wage and I struggle to support myself and my family. When you’re this close to the edge, one emergency can ruin everything. It wasn’t too long ago that we were forced to live in a homeless shelter, while I was working full time but unable to keep up with the bills. It just isn’t right that there are people like me all over the state who are working hard every day but can’t get ahead. That’s why I helped to collect hundreds of signatures to get this measure on the ballot, boost our state economy and help tens of thousands of struggling Mainers.”


  • Melissa Stevens, Lewiston: “I’m a single mother and I know what it’s like to work low wage jobs and not be able to make ends meet. On $8 an hour it was impossible to afford basic necessities for my family like childcare, transportation and keeping a roof over our heads. While I was working full time I still needed to rely on food assistance to be able to feed my family. I joined the minimum wage campaign last fall to collect signatures to support this initiative and I am thrilled to be here today with so many community leaders from all walks of life as we submit far more than enough signatures to place this referendum on the ballot.”
  • Esther Pew, Portland: “I am working as a tipped worker at a restaurant and a boost in my base wage would mean that I would not have to rely solely on tips in order to support myself. It’s hard to stick to a budget and be financially responsible when your wages can fluctuate drastically from one shift to the next. Getting a steady paycheck from my employer, and not just tips from my customers, would be a boost for me and thousands of tipped workers, mostly women, working in restaurants all over Maine.”
  • Tyler Williams, Bangor: “From the time I was 15, I’ve had to work a number of minimum wage jobs to help my family make ends meet. As the breadwinner, I was responsible, as a child, for making sure the heat stayed on through the winter, and unfortunately, I often failed in this endeavor. Recently, I was forced to drop out of school because minimum wage, does not pay enough to get necessities, much less to pay tuition, too. This is the true tragedy of having such a low minimum wage. No one should have to choose between an education and a pittance. Hard work is supposed to give you the opportunity to pull yourself out of poverty, but $7.50 doesn’t help you out of poverty. It keeps you in it.”


  • Brandy Staples, Phippsburg: “When I was 26, I was diagnosed with aggressive stage four breast cancer. I had to leave the workforce for in order to deal with it and regain my health and strength. Since then, I have had a hard time finding dependable and livable wage work that allows me to make ends meet while still paying off huge amounts of medical debt. I currently work two part time jobs at very close to minimum wage, plus I help my parents with their business. With these three jobs, I still don’t make enough to get by. I heard similar stories all the time while I was collecting signatures to get this initiative on the ballot. That’s what motivated me to collected more than 600 signatures last summer and fall. Raising Maine’s minimum wage to $12/hour will help me get on my feet and will help so many others like me.”

The Secretary of State’s office has 30 days to review the petitions and refer the matter to the Legislature to either enact without change or allow placement on the November ballot.

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Trio of New Maine Unions Announced

Posted on January 18, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Maine AFL-CIO announced the formation of two new unions last week:

Also organizing are the employees at McTeague-Higbee in Topsham. Their press release is below.

    Local Law Firm Employees Ratify Labor Agreement

    mcteagueTOPSHAM, MAINE. Legal professionals at McTeague-Higbee, a highly-regarded law firm that has represented organized labor in Maine for decades, and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) have completed negotiation of their second 3-year collective bargaining agreement. The Topsham law firm specializes in employee/plaintiff-oriented labor law, workers’ compensation, discrimination, and personal injury cases. The IAMAW has a reputation for being one of the most diversified labor unions in North America.

    Although negotiation of its first contract was challenging, the negotiation of the second contract took less than 8 hours of negotiation before agreement was reached. The contract was ratified unanimously by the members.

    Law firm managing partner Kevin Noonan, stated, “McTeague Higbee has a long history of fighting for workers’ rights, and we are pleased to take this to a new level. We are very proud to be the only unionized law firm in the entire State of Maine. By fully embracing unionization of our staff, we are doing our best to live up to our own motto: Justice for All.”

    The new 3-year accord features wage increases of 3.25% the first year and 3% in each of the next two years, as well as increased contributions to the IAM pension plan, and continuation of the IAM Benefits Trust Healthcare Plan, grievance and arbitration procedures, seniority provisions, and paid time off.

    “We attribute this excellent result to both the effective negotiation skills of George Edwards, Assistant Directing Business Representative of IAMAW District Lodge 4 and the law firm’s good-faith approach to negotiating this contract. The firm has demonstrated an awareness that collective bargaining is good for both sides of the table and we are hopeful McTeague Higbee will serve as a role model for other employers,” said paralegal and bargaining committee member Carol Sanborn.

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