Maine Senate Takes Up EBT- TANF- GA Bills LDs 1829, 1822, 1820, 1842, 1815 and 1844 (VIDEOS)

Posted on April 8, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(NOTE: All of these will be separated and written up over the rest of the week. In the meanwhile, for the sake of sharing quickly, here are all 44 video clips taken during the Monday afternoon/ evening second session in order of debate.)

1. 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”.
ROLL CALL: 21 Yeas – 14 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1829 to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing LD 1829

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting LD 1829

Asst Minority Leader Sen. Roger Katz Opposing LD 1829

Sen. Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot) Supporting LD 1829

2. LD 1822, “An Act To Increase Integrity in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Expenditures”.
ROLL CALL: 18 Yeas – 17 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1822 (OTP as amended by H-787) to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by H-787

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting H-787 amended LD 1822

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by H-787

Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) Offers SAS 505 to amend LD 1822

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) opposing LD 1822 SAS-505

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 1)

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing LD 1822 CAH 787, SAS 505

Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) Opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. John Patrick (D-Oxford) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Sen. David Burns (R-Washington) opposing LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505

Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 1)

Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) concludes supporting remarks on LD 1822, SAS-505

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting LD 1822 as amended by SAS-505 (PT 2)

3. LD 1820, “An Act To Reduce Abuse of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program through Restriction of Electronic Benefits Transfers”.
ROLL CALL: Yeas 20 – Nays 15

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1820 as amended to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) opposing LD 1820

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) supporting LD 1820

4. LD 1842, “An Act To Amend the Laws Governing the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”.
ROLL CALL: Yeas 20 – Nays 15

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1842 to Senate w/ ONTP committee recommendation

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing ONTP on LD 1842

Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) Opposing “ONTP” on LD 1842

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz (D-Kennebec) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

Sen. Rebecca Millett (D-Cumberland) supporting ONTP on LD 1842

Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) Supporting “ONTP” on LD 1842

5. LD 1815, “An Act To Require a Work Search for Job-ready Applicants for Benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program”.
ROLL CALL: 20 Yeas – 15 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1815 (“ONTP”) to Senate

Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) Opposing ONTP on LD 1815

Sen. Ron Collins (R-York) Opposing ONTP on LD 1815

Asst Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) opposing ONTP on LD 1815

Asst Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland) supporting ONTP on LD 1815

Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Androscoggin) supporting ONTP on LD 1815

6. LD 1844, “An Act To Increase Local Responsibility for General Assistance”.
ROLL CALL: 22 Yeas – 12 Nays

HHS Chair Sen. Margaret Craven Introduces LD 1844 (ONTP) to Senate

Sen. Geoff Gratwick (D-Penobscot) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

Sen. John Cleveland (D-Androscoggin) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) opposing LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

Sen. Chris Johnson (D-Lincoln) supporting LD 1844 ONTP recommendation

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State Senator Eloise Vitelli (D-Sagadahoc) Sworn In To Maine Legislature; Delivers Weekly Address

Posted on September 4, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

DSC_0011One day after winning the Maine Senate District 19 special election last week, Democrat Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic was sworn into office by Governor Paul LePage and seated with her colleagues. Vitelli is Director of Program and Policy at Women, Work and Community where she has spent her career assisting small businesses, creating a statewide job training program that has assisted more than 3,000 entrepreneurs and helped unemployed Mainers start successful businesses. Senator Vitelli also currently serves on the Maine Economic Growth Council.

    “I am honored to be serving the people of Sagadahoc County and Dresden,” said Senator Vitelli. “I am greatly committed to standing up for the needs and concerns of the people in our community, including how we can all work together to strengthen our state. As a state senator, I look forward to continuing my work of helping workers and growing businesses,” she added.

    “As a former Head Start teacher and workforce advocate, I know that education is the backbone to economic development. We must work together to improve our schools and job opportunities. I look forward to putting my experience to work for the people of Maine.”

Then came the special session’s true business of voting on the bond bills that eventually passed both chambers and will go before voters this November.

On Saurday, Senator Vitelli delivered the weekly Democratic radio address: “Maine workers drive our economy, fuel our businesses, and grow the middle class” (Audio link).

senator vitelli


    Good Morning. This is newly-elected State Senator Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic.

    It’s Labor Day weekend. A time when our country takes pause to offer homage to the American worker. It’s a holiday that dates back more than a hundred years—and, it was borne out of an economic time very similar to the one we’ve experienced the last several years with the Great Recession.

    But there is no doubt, in a hundred years, we have made strides for the American worker. Workplaces are safer. Teen workers are protected. And even though we must do more, there is a minimum wage.

    But there are other differences.

    Today, more than ever before, there are more women in the workforce—nearly fifty percent of the American workforce are women.

    Women are a growing number of breadwinners for their families. And, in many cases, women out number men at our colleges and universities—and, are going on to get advanced degrees.

    Nationally, women own more than thirty percent of all small businesses.

    Our role, as women in the workplace, is central to the national economy—and, to the Maine economy.

    For me, sharing this, is about more than just economic and workforce trends. It’s been personal. For more than thirty years, through my work at Women, Work and Community, I have assisted Maine workers and small businesses. I started a statewide training program, that has helped more than three-thousand people—men and women—start successful businesses.

    For example, Lisa from Palmyra started Oats Anytime, a gluten-free product she sells nationwide; it was featured at a Taste of Maine event hosted by Senator Susan Collins in Washington this Spring.

    I am proud of these accomplishments, and know, that it is exactly this entrepreneurial spirit and determination to succeed that is seminal to the Maine work ethic. And better yet, the reputation of the Maine worker is nationally known as being second-to-none.

    As so as we look to what is needed to grow our state’s economy, to put more people back to work, and ensure that hard working Mainers earn what is fair, we must look at how to capitalize on the spirit of Maine workers by training them for the jobs of today and preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow.

    Earlier this week, I along with my Senate and House colleagues, took one step closer toward achieving that goal by passing a $149.5 million bond package that includes investments in many things like our state’s infrastructure and higher education facilities.

    We all agree that critical investments are needed for our roads and bridges, ports and rail. Ask any Maine driver and they’ll tell of the potholes and torn up roads we all have to travel on to get from “here to there”. This bond package addresses those concerns by investing $100 million in transportation issues. The good news, is that this will be a boost to our construction workers in the short-and long-term.

    We also invested $35.5 million in science, technology, engineering and math facilities at every campus of the University of Maine and Maine Community College systems and the Maine Maritime Academy. Prioritizing these so-called STEM programs and facilities ensures that Maine can train students and workers in high-demand, high-wage jobs, and, compete—perhaps even out-innovate and out-educate other states.

    In looking ahead, I am hopeful that beyond making these long overdue upgrades and investments in our college and university classrooms and science labs, that we realize we also need to invest in the people who learn and train in these facilities. We need to do more to encourage innovation—whether it’s through research and development or encouraging more STEM training.

    Ultimately, it is our people, our workers who drive our economy. It is our workers who fuel our businesses. It is our workers who build and grow the middle class.

    On this Labor Day weekend, let’s reflect not only on the work that we do, and the labor of our predecessors, but let’s look ahead to the future and think about all the possibility that remains in building the legacy of the Maine worker and the American worker.

    This is State Senator Eloise Vitelli. I thank you for listening. And have a good holiday weekend.

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Breaking: Democrat Eloise Vitelli Wins Maine Senate District 19 Special Election

Posted on August 27, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

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.

10 pm Update: Democrat Eloise Vitelli is projected to be the winner of the SD 19 special election with a 4621 vote total over Paula Benoit’s 4339 and Daniel Stromgren’s 357 tallies.

Senate President Justin Alfond released the following statement:

    “Congratulations to Eloise on her win tonight. As someone who has helped thousands of Mainers get to work and start businesses, Eloise is the right person for the job as Maine’s next State Senator. I know she will stand up for the people of her community, and I look forward to working with her as we help grow our economy and put more Mainers back to work.

    The people of Maine spoke strongly tonight. They want lawmakers who are going to stand up to the LePage approach and instead work collaboratively to get things done to move our state forward.”

=====

7pm Update via BDN: Earlier reports of ballot shortages were erroneous. Extremely high turnout continues to be seen in all districts:

    Topsham Town Clerk Ruth Lyons said at 5:30 p.m. that turnout was “huge.” However, despite reports by other media, Topsham did not run out of ballots, Lyons said.

    At 5:30 p.m., Topsham still had 1,500 to 2,000 blank ballots, as well as another 600 absentee ballots at the town office, “if it came to that,” Lyons said

    Clerks all over the district, which includes all of Sagadahoc County and the Lincoln County town of Dresden, said they had seen high numbers of voters.

    In this special election, clerks and poll workers will count the ballots by hand, which could slow the reporting of results, some election officials said.

5PM Update shows very high turnout and even one municipality running out of ballots:

    Voters are turning out in surprisingly large numbers across Senate District 19 today as residents decide who should fill the year remaining on the term of Sen. Seth Goodall.

    In Topsham, where officials eventually ran out of ballots, Ruth Lyons, the top voting official, said turnout was “heavy” at 11 a.m. In Bowdoin, the town clerk counted 150 ballots this morning and predicted higher turnout than for the June school referendums in that town.

    In Bath, City Clerk Mary Small said turnout had been “brisk.” By 3:30, Small said that 1,500 ballots, including absentee ballots, had been cast.

    In Topsham, meanwhile, voting was halted temporarily because the polling place had run out of ballots.

Goodall-headshot-colorWhen now former Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall announced in June that he was accepting the New England Regional SBA Administrator position, that set up the need for a special election to fill his Senate District 19 (Arrowsic, Bath, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Georgetown, Perkins Twp., Phippsburg, Richmond, Topsham, West Bath, and Woolwich in Sagadahoc County and Dresden in Lincoln County) seat.

There are three candidates vying for the coveted spot, which Goodall held for three terms: Former State Senator Republican Paula Benoit of Phippsburg (who served previously from 2006-8 and was defeated by Goodall), Maine Women’s Hall of Fame Democrat Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic, the Program and Policy Development Maine Centers Director for Women, Work, and Community, and Green Independent Daniel Longley Stromgren of Topsham. All three ran as Maine Clean Election Act candidates.

While Vitelli, who has spent decades working for Maine people and fostering women’s business growth efforts, has won endorsements from Bath Iron Works, International Association of Machinists—Maine Lobstermen, Local 207, Rep. Chellie Pingree and even had Democratic gubernatorial candidate and current Congressman Mike Michaud out knocking on doors for her campaign, former Blaine House director, Baxter LePage blogger and First Lady Ann LePage’s assistant Paula Benoit has found herself caught in the latest controversy caused by Governor Paul LePage (PPH, “Republican lawmakers: LePage said Obama ‘hates white people'”):

paula baxter

    Benoit said Thursday that LePage’s alleged comment about President Barack Obama hating white people has been overhyped by the media and is distracting voters from more important issues such as jobs, taxes and economic development.

“[The LePage controversy] isn’t affecting this election from where I stand,” said Benoit. “I’m just meeting people and going door to door and talking about myself. I’m not talking about the governor. All I say is that he sees a light at the end of the tunnel; it’s just that his message gets distorted.”

Several GOP insiders, however, have told the BDN that there is grave concern within the party that the latest LePage controversy will tip the race toward the Democrat Vitelli, so no one will talk about the issue publicly before the election.

Whether or not those in attendance will indeed come forward publicly remains to be seen; for his own part, Governor LePage offered a “non-apology” apology to Republican legislators. Benoit at a debate last week made numerous judgmental and disparaging remarks about her experiences meeting with SD 19 constituents while knocking on doors, echoing LePage’s infamous “get off the couch and get a job” speech at last year’s Maine Republican Party convention.

Polls opened at 8-10 am, depending on town, and all will close tonight at 8 pm.

Eloise Vitelli, Paula Benoit and Daniel Stromgren. Photo via Times Record (Twitter).

Eloise Vitelli, Paula Benoit and Daniel Stromgren. Photo via Times Record (Twitter).

Turnout for the special election is already seemingly very high:

      Voters are turning out in surprisingly large numbers across Senate District 19 today as residents decide who should fill the year remaining on the term of Sen. Seth Goodall.

In Topsham, Ruth Lyons, the top voting official called the turnout “heavy” at 11 a.m. In Bowdoin, the town clerk predicted a higher turnout than for the June school referendums.

Lyons said she would not expect a result before midnight tonight.

3pm UPDATES:

Times Record midcoastnews tweets:

SENATE 19: Topsham vote warden Ruth Lyons calls turnout “heavy.” #mepolitics

SENATE 19: Absentee ballots being counted now, throughout the day, clerk says. #MePolitics

SENATE 19: Topsham election warden Ruth Lyons says result unlikely before midnight. #MePolitics

SENATE 19: Turnout ‘heavy’ as cash gushes at finish line http://www.timesrecord.com/news/2013-08-27/Front_Page/SENATE_19_Turnout_heavy_cash_gushes_at_finish_line.html … #mepolitics

SENATE 19: @bangordailynews and @MidcoastNews to provide up-to-the- minute returns tonight at their sites. #MePolitics

SENATE 19: No electronic counting in municipalities, big absentee counts to push tally late #MePolitics

House Majority Leader Seth Berry @sethberry (who himself considered running for the seat): Fantastic turnout this AM in Bowdoinham; more than half for Vitelli so far. See you at Sagadahoc/Dresden polls before 8 pm! #mepolitics

Megan Hannan ‏@meganhannan: Heavy voter turnout in Bath today! #mepolitics #SD19

POLL RESULTS BY TOWN

Sagadahoc County

Arrowsic:
Vitelli 144, Benoit 58, Stromgren 5.

Bath:
Vitelli 1159, Benoit 1009, Stromgren 68.

Bowdoin:
Benoit 285, Vitelli 213, Stromgren 19.

Bowdoinham:
Vitelli 408, Benoit 320, Stromgren 29.

Georgetown:
Vitelli 226, Benoit 156, Stromgren 14.

Phippsburg:
Benoit 390, Vitelli 315, Stromgren 11.

Richmond:
Vitelli 307, Benoit 280, Stromgren 54.

Topsham:
Vitelli 990, Benoit 924, Stromgren 99.

West Bath:
Benoit 313, Vitelli 275, Stromgren 22.

Woolwich:
Benoit 429, Vitelli 371, Stromgren

Lincoln County

Dresden:
Vitelli 213, Benoit 175, Stromgren 15.

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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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