Maine GOP Plays Musical Chairs, as Republicans Name Rick Bennett 3rd Party Head Since November

Posted on July 23, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

bennettOver the weekend, the Maine Republican Party selected current Trucost board member, former board member of the Maine Heritage Policy Center and co-Senate President Rick Bennett of Norway as their third chair since last year. Via MRP press release:

      The Maine Republican Party State Committee has elected former Maine Senate President Rick Bennett, as the new Chairman of the Maine Republican Party.

    The vote, cast by the party’s 77-person state committee, demonstrated broad support from all areas of the Republican Party, with a majority of members from across the party’s diverse areas pledging support for Bennett in advance and an even greater number delivering votes the day of the election.

    “The Maine Republican Party is ready to make the case to the people of Maine that the liberal leadership and policies of Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves are bad for the Maine people, bad for Maine’s small businesses, bad for Maine’s economy, and bad for the generations of Mainers who will inherit our decisions,” Mr. Bennett said.

    Susan Morissette from her "For the People" website, poses with Bruce Poliquin. 'Nuff said.

    Susan Morissette from her “For the People” website, poses with Bruce Poliquin. ‘Nuff said.


    “It is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work electing Republicans who will grow Maine’s economy, protect Maine’s small businesses, control the size and scope of government and give the next generation of Mainers a stronger, more prosperous Maine than we inherited,”
    Mr. Bennett concluded.

    In addition to electing Mr. Bennett as new party Chairman, the Maine Republican State Committee also elected former State Representative and current Kennebec County Republican Chair Hon. Susan Morissette as new Vice Chair.

Morisette previously served one term as HD 54 Representative of Winslow before losing her re-election bid to Catherine Nadeau.

gop-splitBut one needs a scorecard to keep up with all of the scandals, claims of manipulation/ disregard of party rules (see RNC2012), changes in leadership and controversies in the Maine Republican Party since 2010- oh, how the party of Margaret Chase Smith and Bill Cohen has fallen in recent years!

When Paul LePage first was elected Governor in 2010, Maine also witnessed both State House chambers go from blue to red- the first time that the state had gone to Republican control in both the Executive and Legislative branches in over 40 years. It heralded a time of devastating party splintering and questionable ethics such as the state had never before seen and was part of a much larger picture nationally.

The chair of the Maine Republican Party at the time, Charlie Webster, claimed much of the credit for the flip, But then… well… Charlie Webster quickly went from being “the man” to being “Crazy Uncle Charlie, that guy that has to be invited to Thanksgiving dinner”, telling more and more wild tales:

June 2011: Democrats “steal elections” via same day registration:

    “If you want to get really honest, this is about how the Democrats have managed to steal elections from Maine people,” Webster told a columnist for the Portland Press Herald in a piece published Friday. “Many of us believe that the Democrats intentionally steal elections.”

July 2011: Webster claimed that UMF College Republicans “parked their vans” on Election Day in 2010, as to prevent students getting to the polls, and submitted a list of 206 names to then Secretary of State Charlie Summers to investigate for voter fraud:

None was found and the accusations/ witch hunt resulted in national attention.

Sept 2011: Webster, still determined that SOME fraud had indeed occurred, insisted that “Canadians were able to come across the border and vote illegally”:

    “Do we want people who live in a motel deciding who we send to the state legislature when they never vote again in Maine?” he asked. “Do we want people who are illegal aliens — illegal Americans — from Canada or another state? … Do we want them influencing our elections?”

LD 1373, “An Act To Preserve the Integrity of the Voter Registration and Election Process”, was introduced by Rep. Rich Cebra (R-Naples) that was passed by the GOP-led 125th Legislature and supported by Secretary of State Charlie Summers and signed law by Governor Paul LePage, went to referendum in November- and was soundly smacked down by Maine voters by a 60-40 margin:


    “Maine voters sent a clear message: No one will be denied a right to vote,” said Shenna Bellows, director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. “Voters in small towns and big cities voted to protect our constitutional right.”

    “We felt good coming in and we knew we had run a better campaign,” Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said. “It feels good to get a win but this isn’t the last vote of 2011, it’s the first of 2012. We need to take this momentum into next year.”

Nov 2012: Grant’s statement of the Rich Cebra sponsored bill LD 1376’s 2011 defeat being the “first vote of 2012” proved true, as Democrats regained control of both legislative chambers.

maine-gop-chair-suspicious-of-dozens-of-black-votersCharlie Webster then announced that he would not seek re-election and held an interview with WCSH’s Don Carrigan and still determined that there was indeed voter fraud occurring within the state, claimed that it was being committed by “dozens of black people” travelling into towns. The story garnered more national headlines and Webster later apologized for his remarks.

Then the termed-out of the Legislature Rich Cebra came in as the new party chair, somehow managed to make an even bigger mess than the one he had found time and time and time again… and promptly left- after seven months with no warning.

Cebra_ethicsOn July 3, news broke that Maine Republican Party Chair and former Rep. Rich Cebra abruptly stepped down from his position as head of the party amid multiple controversies, and that his Vice Chair Beth O’Connor had given notice a few days’ prior as well. O’Connor originally planned to run against Cebra for the top slot, but chose at the time to pull her name before the vote.

From Dec 2012:

    “It’s a new day in Maine,” said Cebra, who praised O’Connor’s withdrawal as a sign that the Maine Republican Party “is a unified party that works.” He said he planned to focus initially on “ground work,” building the party’s base by strengthening local and county committees.

    John Frary, a committee member and party stalwart from Farmington, described O’Connor’s withdrawal as “a noble gesture for party unity.”

So much for that idea!

Rep Rich Cebra of Naples, who also served from Dec 2012 to July 2013 as MRP Chair before abruptly resigning.

Rep Rich Cebra of Naples, who also served from Dec 2012 to July 2013 as MRP Chair before abruptly resigning.

    “Cebra has been a big disappointment,” Vic Berardelli, a Republican state committee member from Penobscot County and chairman of the Maine Republican Liberty Caucus, said by phone Wednesday. “I stuck my neck out and lost some good friendships in my efforts to get Rich Cebra elected as Maine Republican Party chairman. He did not have the management and fundraising ability or people skills to bring factions together.”

About that fundraising and money management… one wonders what the numbers actually DO show!

More previous reaction from Charlie Webster and Bruce Poliquin:

    Webster said he had heard a couple of days ago that Cebra might resign, but he said he didn’t know why and had no other information.

    Among those eyeing the job is former state Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who said he is considering the post after being approached by a number of people asking him to take the job. Poliquin is also considering running in the 2014 2nd District congressional race, now that Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is likely going to challenge LePage in next year’s gubernatorial election.

    “It’s a very difficult job and it’s important to be able reach out to all factions of the Republican party to make sure our message gets out about limited government and more economic growth and more jobs for Maine families,” he said. “It’s critical to get that message out. I’m sure we’ll find somebody who can do that.”

So, here’s the mess that Webster and Cebra left for Bennett- time will tell as to what he chooses to do- or even CAN do- with it.

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ICYMI: Maine Republican Legislators Present Alternative to Controversial LePage Budget

Posted on June 11, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Last week, Maine Republican legislators held a press conference in the State House Welcome Center, rolling out a non-leadership legislative member budget plan. This was in response to news of the Appropriation Committee’s ongoing efforts the previous day to come to a compromise on the FY 14-15 budget, in particular the zero revenue sharing portion as presented by Governor LePage.

Order of speakers: Rep Paul Davis (Sangerville), Sen. Doug Thomas (Somerset), Rep. Lawrence Lochman (Amherst), Rep. Heather Sirocki (Scarborough), Sen. David Burns (Washington), Sen. Andre Cushing (Penobscot).

gop budgetGarrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP), called the proposal from legislative Republicans to restore $368 million to the state budget “a step in the right direction.” But he cautioned members of the Legislature’s budget-writing appropriations committee to reject the Republican proposals to tax nonprofits and take over the assets of the Maine Health Access Foundation to raise additional revenues and seek other “realistic revenue alternatives.”

    “Yesterday, legislative Republicans acknowledged the need to break with the governor and restore $368 million to the state budget in order to avoid property tax increases on hardworking Maine families,” Martin said. “Some of the most conservative members of the Republican Party joined in this appeal that includes new revenue. MECEP has maintained all along that Maine working families need a budget that funds our schools, protects our elderly and disabled, and gives our economy a boost without crushing property tax increases. Republican admission that additional revenues are needed to balance the budget is a step in the right direction.

    Yesterday’s proposal did not include realistic revenue alternatives,” Martin said. “The proposals to tax nonprofits and take over the assets of the Maine Health Access Foundation amount to a ‘hail Mary’ pass in the wrong direction. There are much better alternatives that we urge members of the appropriations committee to consider.”

The budget, which finally after an extremely long session received unanimous approval from the Appropriations Committee, was the focus of the Governor’s weekly address last Saturday and will go to the full Legislature later this week.

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Maine Senate Republicans Floor Speeches Opposing LD 1546: “Washington Politics” and Mixed Messaging on Medicaid Expansion

Posted on May 26, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

(UPDATED: Links to more GOP floor speeches from the follow day’s second reading in the Senate are now found at the bottom of this original post. ~AP)

lepage veto 1546Originally, the intention was to simply share the various clips taken of the LD 1546, “An Act To Strengthen Maine’s Hospitals, Increase Access to Health Care and Provide for a New Spirits Contract” floor debates in the Senate and House as stand-alone posts without comment. Then a funny thing happened: in reviewing them, a clear separation of messaging became apparent between the members of the GOP in the Senate and the Governor’s “Office Du Jour” (see: Washington Post, Huffington Post, Talking Points Memo).

So, let’s take a look.

First Reading in the Senate, 5/20/13

Consistent GOP themes: LD 1546 is “Washington Politics”, “Welfare expansion”, myriad concerns over costs and having to hire either 83 new people (per Senator Mason) or 93 new people (per Senator Thibodeau) and general distrust of the federal government.

(Side note: If a business were to open in their district with 83-93 new jobs, Mason and Thibodeau would loudly cheer and claim “this was proof that Governor LePage’s policies work to help business.” Sigh…)

In short, everything Maine rejected from this party in the November election results.

So let’s go to the clips:

1. Senator Garrett Mason (Androscoggin)

    (:36) “… back room, Pelosi-style, Washington politics on full display, in the State House.”
    (:50) “… LD 1066, (“An Act To Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding”)is a massive welfare expansion that will cost Maine untold millions of dollars, not only over the next year, but over the life of the program.”
    (2:20) “… welfare expansion
    (2:47) “… So, what is this bill? Well, it’s a massive welfare expansion, to seventy thousand people…”

Perhaps some of the greater moments of irony came at the 1:20 mark, when Senator Mason claimed that the bill’s creation and process was “rude and disrespectful” of the VLA Committee and then further comments (2:00) that LD 1546 “was ram-rodded through”.

Um… anyone else remember LD 1333/ PL 90 from the 125th Legislative session? When Republicans openly admitted that they had not even read the bill? The bill that really WAS “ramrodded through”?

Republicans also claimed that it would pay for Maine’s 133,000 uninsured citizens and lower insurance costs. Um- not so much.

Onward.

2. Assistant Minority Leader Senator Roger Katz (Kennebec), Part 1

    “Linking these two bills together that have nothing to do with one another is just what people complain about when they see it happening in Washington. Unfortunately, that kind of strong-arm politics has migrated north.

    Governor LePage is in the middle of negotiations with the federal government to try to get us a better deal on Medicaid expansion. Maybe he will be successful and maybe he won’t. But if he is, that could save the state tens of millions of dollars. If we say yes to Medicaid expansion now, we lose our negotiating leverage.”

An ongoing “negotiation” since last July that has gotten Maine nowhere… nor this past March, when the Governor demanded a ten year waiver rather than three- something no other state has been granted by the federal government. In fact, Maine is no closer that it was in February 2012. Not exactly working to close the deal but rather putting off as long as he can.

Again- onward.

3. Senator James Hamper (Oxford)

Summary: Senator Hamper is concerned with the costs, especially in light of the reported DHHS shortfalls, inabilities to pay their bills past June 12th and budget projections for FY 14-15. Yet he urges that Maine not “rush through” with Medicaid expansion. Shame that the Governor thinks that “The Administration has not been entertained”and is now putting an unilateral gag order onto any within his administration that would go before the Appropriations committee to speak regarding the proposed budget and that he and he alone will be the one to speak to the committee.

    (5:48) “Slow down.
    (6:00)“We’re saying, ‘Don’t play Washington politics‘…”

As Hamper concluded: “Fool me twice… shame on me.

Indeed.

4. Senator Doug Thomas (Somerset)

“Charlie Brown’s football being hauled away by Lucy”. Um, okay. Not even gonna touch this one.

5. Senator Brian Langley (Hancock)

Now here is where it gets interesting- until this point, all of the GOP lawmakers have been on the same page of “Washington politics” and together poo-pooed the idea of expanding Medicaid at all. But at the 0:45 mark, we hear this from Senator Langley, who urges the bill be separated, rather than simply voted down- a far different position than all of the other Republicans that have spoken before him:

    “… because I am not opposed to it. What I am opposed to is the way it is being done here today.”

Interesting… and contrary to what Governor LePage said when he vetoed LD 1546.

    “Democrat leadership has spent the past week forcing this bill through the legislative process, over the objections of Republicans and Democrats alike. This unadulterated partisanship tied two different issues together in a quest to force welfare expansion upon the Maine people. I have said all along this bill would receive a veto when it reached my desk, so this letter should be no surprise.

    That is why I have filed a Governor’s bill today reflecting the parts of LD 1546 we all agree on—paying the hospitals and ensuring the liquor business provides the best return for the state—without the forced expansion of MaineCare. The Legislature will have the opportunity to vote up or down to pay the hospitals—I trust you will do the right thing.”

6. Minority Leader Senator Mike Thibodeau (Waldo)

Assistant Minority Leader Thibodeau, same as Rep. Ken Fredette would do later in the House, attempts to delay the vote with a series of procedural questions regarding the bill’s formation and combining of separate elements. Senate President, as Speaker of the House Eves would also do later in the session the next evening, explained his ruling. Thibodeau then speaks, first complaining on timelines elapsing in what he feels is a premature time frame, and then referring to items that the Democrats claimed were ramrodded through in the 125th Legislature.

He then quoted this PPH article penned by Maine Hospital Association president Steve Michaud:


    “Medicaid expansion is a centerpiece of the federal Affordable Care Act. While hospitals support the Medicaid expansion, we vehemently disagree that the expansion should be tied in any way to whether or not the outstanding bills get paid. Hospitals don’t control whether MaineCare gets expanded; they shouldn’t be punished if the expansion fails.”

What he failed to read was the following paragraph by Michaud:

    “This kind of leveraging of one issue versus another issue is bad policymaking. It is a common tactic in Washington, D.C., and one of the hallmarks of its dysfunction.”

And at the 5:10 mark, Thibodeau echos the phrase “Washington style politics”.

Wait, five “Washingtons”? BINGO!!

Oh wait… one of them was from the PPH article. Maybe we’ll get lucky with the next speaker.

7. Assistant Minority Leader Senator Roger Katz (Kennebec), Part 2

We already got Senator Katz down for a “Washington” mention. But we can add the good Senator from Kennebec as now a second supporter of Medicaid expansion! Note the 2:25 mark:

    “Personally speaking for myself, I have an open mind on the expansion.”

Moving along.

8. Senator Pat Flood (Kennebec)

Well, well! Add another senator who thinks (0:40) that expanding Medicaid is a good thing! His issues are similar to Senator Langley’s in that he would prefer the bills be examined and worked upon separately.

9. Senator David Burns (Washington)

(2:10)

    “Don’t be guilty of Washington politics.”

We even get a bonus, just to be sure (2:20)!

    “…don’t get caught up in the process of Washingtonian politics.”

Okay, there it is. BINGO!

Second Day Floor Speeches

1. Senator Pat Flood (Kennebec)

2. Senator Garrett Mason (Androscoggin), Part 1

3. Senator Garrett Mason (Androscoggin), Part 2

4. Asst Minority Leader Senator Roger Katz (Kennebec) Part 1

5. Senator Garrett Mason (Androscoggin) Part 3

6. Senator Andre Cushing (Penobscot)

7. Asst Minority Leader Senator Roger Katz (Kennebec) Part 2

8. Minority Leader Senator Mike Thibodeau (Waldo)

9. Senator Doug Thomas (Somerset)

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Maine Governor Paul LePage Vetoes LD 1546, Medicaid Expansion Bill (Video)

Posted on May 24, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

At a Hall of Flags ceremony surrounded by GOP legislators, Governor LePage on Thursday signed the letter to veto LD 1546, characterizing LD 1546, “An Act to Strengthen Maine Hospitals, Increase Access to Health Care and Provide for a New Spirits Contract,” as “tied payment of the hospital debt to welfare expansion” and then announced plans to reintroduce his own bill in its place.

    “Democrat leadership has spent the past week forcing this bill through the legislative process, over the objections of Republicans and Democrats alike. This unadulterated partisanship tied two different issues together in a quest to force welfare expansion upon the Maine people. I have said all along this bill would receive a veto when it reached my desk, so this letter should be no surprise.

    That is why I have filed a Governor’s bill today reflecting the parts of LD 1546 we all agree on—paying the hospitals and ensuring the liquor business provides the best return for the state—without the forced expansion of MaineCare. The Legislature will have the opportunity to vote up or down to pay the hospitals—I trust you will do the right thing.”

Press secretary Adrienne Bennett provided copies to the press of the letter the Governor read.

lepage veto lettr

The governor then informed those assembled of his plans to continue to hold the voter-approved bonds hostage unless his bill is passed through the Legislature, in what a press release categorized “a gesture of good faith”:

    The Governor also directed the State Treasurer to prepare the voter-authorized bonds for his signature. “I will sign them as soon as this new Governor’s Bill is enacted,” the Governor stated.
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Maine State Reps Sirocki (R-Scarborough), Malaby (R- Hancock) LD 1546 Opposition Speeches (Video; Text)

Posted on May 24, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

(NOTE: Representative Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough shared the texts of these prepared speeches last night on my personal FB wall; sharing here with the videos taken from the floor of the House. ~AP)

FLOOR SPEECH OF REP. HEATHER SIROCKI (R-SCARBOROUGH) (VIDEO)

    Mr Speaker, Ladies and Gentlemen of the House,

    I rise in strong opposition of the pending measure.

    Some may feel that combining bills from different committees is an efficient way to move forward, but the People of Maine are ill-served by considering legislation without input from the public.

    The question was posed, “ Is this bill properly before the body?”

    We were told that a public hearing was held. But I checked online, and found that no public hearings were scheduled.

    Before casting votes, most of us listen to testimony, read and research the issue, and consider the views of our constituents. I do not like being asked to pass bills first before I find out what is in them.

    LD 1546, the bill before us, did not follow the usual path of thoughtful consideration.

    The process of working this bill has been violated at its most basic level…two bills combined into one that did not receive any input from the public. As a matter of fact, there is not one piece of public testimony posted for this particular bill. Not one.

    There are, however, 69 documents of public testimony on the Medicaid expansion bill. But the Health and Human Services Committee is the only committee to have heard from the public regarding the expansion of Medicaid.

    I am very uncomfortable knowing that the sitting members of the Veterans and Legal Affairs committee, the committee of jurisdiction for this bill, have not had the opportunity to seek public input on this very important portion of LD 1546.

    Mr Speaker… How can we vote to move this bill forward when the process has been violated in this manner?

    Ramming a bill through a committee where the members did not have the opportunity to even read about the details, and where they did not hear even ONE minute of public testimony, is wrong.

    This violation of the process at the committee level is unacceptable.

    Regarding other reasons to vote No on this bill, let’s start with fiscal irresponsibility.

    Negotiating the liquor contract is time sensitive. If we miss the deadline, it will cost Maine’s hardworking taxpayers an additional $5 million. The clock is ticking.

    If we had paid our hospitals as the debt accrued, we would have been able to take advantage of a higher federal dollar match rate.

    My back-of-the- napkin calculations show that this delay has already cost us tens of millions of dollars.

    Thus, if we miss this deadline, that number bumps an additional $5 million.

    Let me repeat – tens of million dollars.

    Money that we could have spent towards services for … perhaps… disabled individuals who have been placed on waitlists.

    Mr. Speaker you are correct this is a moral and ethical issue.

    Mr. Speaker, I implore this body to recognize that the expansion of Medicaid is a separate bill with a separate timeline. Currently, that bill sits on the table in my committee- the Health and Human Services committee. The expansion should not be rushed. As a matter of fact, it is in Maine’s best interests to take our time, because rushing the expansion, may in fact, cost us more money, potentially, a lot more money. An audit is currently underway and is expected to be complete within a month. We do not have firm promises from the federal commission of health and human services yet.

    I urge each member of this body to think carefully before voting today.

    Please recognize that LD 1546 should go back to its roots. We need to bifurcate LD 1546. These are two separate bills, the one that was assigned to the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee and the other bill to consider expanding Medicaid, which still sits on the table over in the Health and Human Services committee, where it rightfully belongs.

    For these reasons I cannot support LD 1546.

    We need to pay our hospitals now.

    We need to take our time negotiating with the federal government on further expansion of Medicaid.

    Two separate bills.

    Two separate time lines.

    Two separate votes.

    Thank you.

FLOOR SPEECH OF REP. RICHARD MALABY (R-HANCOCK) (VIDEO)

    Mr. Speaker, Ladies and gentleman of the House, I rise in opposition to the pending motion.

    As a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Health and Human Services, I would love to see that everyone in Maine with an Income below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level has true health insurance. It would likely save money for our health care providers and would hopefully improve health care outcomes. Who could not vote for that?

    Unfortunately that is NOT what we are voting on. The Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act is neither Health Insurance nor is it fiscally responsible for the state of Maine.

    Medicaid and our healthcare delivery system are clearly broken. And more of the same won’t fix it. Expanding Medicaid is the wrong prescription for a broken system and a faulty diagnosis invariably leads to the wrong treatment. Medicaid needs to be reformed prior to any expansion. We need to design a system that aligns consumer actions with societal goals while decreasing costs……… increasing access ……..and promoting quality. The bill before us will increase access at the expense of increasing costs and will do nothing to promote overall quality.

    I would gladly vote to reform Medicaid, a program designed in 1965 and rife with perverse incentives both for the consumers and the providers! I just can’t see how burdening the people of the state of Maine with hundreds of Millions of dollars of ongoing and future expenses for a program with no demonstrated efficacy in terms of health care outcomes is going to help anyone. At its very heart Medicaid encourages people to over consume and undervalue health care. With no copay or premium for health care in a system with unknown prices or information about quality is it any wonder that health care costs keep rising out of control? And isn’t that our real problem?

    Likewise Medicaid encourages providers to overbill for services. If patients are not paying for the health care services they receive, then they are unlikely to shop for quality and value. Consequently providers whether hospitals or doctors have no incentives to keep prices low in order to compete-as in any other market place- and hence the provider is incented to maximize their revenue and income based on the reimbursement model. Isn’t that why we owe our hospitals $484 Million for 2009 and 2010? And why is is that this bill requests $490.2 Million dollars when we owe the hospitals $484 Million? Is it the intent of the sponsors to repay the debt after October 1, thereby receiving $5 million less in FMAP match? Is that not irresponsible?

    The previous Medicaid expansions in which eligibility had been increased and optional services added currently costs the state of Maine $177 Million annually in General Fund dollars. Those who urged the past expansion of Medicaid promised it would reduce the number of the uninsured, reduce charity care, lower ER usage and have low and predictable costs. In reality health care costs have grown 4 times the rate of inflation, enrollment has exploded, there has been a gigantic increase in charity care and programs are now “capped” as the state has no money to pay for those seeking services. The state has even started to tax hospitals and nursing homes in pursuit of those federal dollars. I find that incredibly shameful.

    I support paying our hospitals that which we owe them. The state made a deal and the hospitals have lived up to their end of that bargain. I would support a true health insurance program for our low income population, but insurance is something you buy in a competitive market place where prices are known and competition is real and buyers shop based on value and price. I can’t support the poorly conceived expansion of Medicaid now being urged by so many. Expanding a financially failed program simply does not make sense.

    The hard working Maine taxpayers understand that we need to control spending. It is our job as legislators to prioritize our spending needs. What about all those people we currently have on waitlists for services who legally and morally deserve those services? The expansion will not address their needs. I am embarrassed by our inability to take care of the truly needy. Prioritizing spending during tough economic times requires leadership. For too long we have taken the easy way out by saying yes to more and more federal dollars. This has resulted in a never ending cycle of growing waitlists for our disabled population, increased pressure to repeatedly raise taxes, ongoing and annual supplemental budgets and crowding out of the true investments the state should be making. It is time to say no.

    Thank you Mr Speaker.

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(UPDATED) Final List of Maine State House 126th Legislature with Full Updated Recount Details

Posted on November 21, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

More ballots arriving for recounts via Maine State Police transport.

While the majority of the 2012 election results were known quickly, almost a dozen legislative races were close enough to generate manual recounts. These recounts were a result of either being automatically generated due to the closeness of the initial tallies or per request of a candidate.

The manual examinations included recounting all ballots separately for each municipality within the district, searching for any potentially overlooked ballots accidentally tucked into stacks of absentee envelopes, ensuring that the overseas ballots from other areas of the state were either not accidentally included or that overseas ballots were not accidentally omitted and investigation of all rejected ballots.

The process was methodical, meticulous, slow and tedious, yet professionally and expertly handled by Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn and her staff over the course of the past 2 weeks at the Maine Public Safety Building in Augusta.

The entire proceedings, open to the public, included teams made of an official from the Secretary of State’s office working with both a registered Democratic and Republican volunteer. There were attorneys for both parties available throughout the recounts as well as other support staff tabulating the final tallies before the final certification, which included signatures from the candidates in addition to the political party’s attorneys and officials from the Secretary of State’s office.

Here is the full breakdown of the recounts:

Wednesday, November 14

HD 80’s Rep. Mel Newendyke (R-Litchfield) is congratulated by Democratic challenger Rachel Sukeforth

8:30 am HD 80- Sukeforth (D)/ incumbent Newendyke (R). Newendyke up 5.
(Incumbent GOP Rep. Mel Newendyke (Litchfield) was able to hold on to a 3 vote lead to win re-election)

1 pm HD 127- Aronson (D)/ incumbent Volk (R). Volk up 5.
(Rep. Amy Volk of Scarborough won her re-election bid with a 12 vote margin)

5:30 pm HD 94- incumbent Hayes (D)/ Turner (R). Hayes up 34.
(Rep. Terry Hayes, the Assistant Minority Leader of the 125th Legislature, added to her lead and clinched her win by a 58 vote advantage)

GOP Rep Bruce Bickford and Democratic challenger wait together for the results of the closest recount, HD 70.

Thursday, November 15

8:30 am HD 70- Werts (D)/ incumbent Bickford (R). Werts up 2.
(Auburn’s Wayne Werts’ lead doubled to 4, as he was proclaimed the winner over Rep. Bruce Bickford in the tightest of the recounts)

1 pm HD 144- Noon (D)/ Archambault (R). Noon up 19.
(William Noon added to his lead and won by 23 votes. This was an open seat, previously held by Republican Rep. Joan Nass of Acton)

5:30 pm HD 109- incumbent Graham (D)/ Austin (R). Graham up 42.
(Rep. Anne Graham won her recount with a final tally of 34 votes)

Friday, November 17

SD 17 Democratic challenger Colleen Quint observes the recounts for her race.

8:30 SD 17- Quint(D)/ incumbent Mason (R). Mason up 50.
(Incumbent GOP Rep. Garrett Mason lost ground in the recount process, but ultimately won by a 28 vote margin)

Monday, November 19

Deputy Secretary of State and recount lead official Julie Flynn congratulates Representative-elect Brian Jones of Freedom on his HD 45 win. Also pictured: Democratic lawyer Katherine Knox and House Democratic coordinated campaign staffer Brendan Mayhieu

8:30 am HD 45- Jones (D)/ incumbent Harmon (R). Jones up 33.
(GOP Rep. Ryan Harmon was upset by Democratic challenger Brian Jones of Freedom by a final margin of 31 votes)

1 pm HD 137- incumbent Casavant (D)/ Guay (R). Casavant up 15.
(Rep. Alan Casavant’s lead held and he won re-election by the 15 vote margin)

5:30 pm HD 54- Nadeau (D)/ incumbent Morrissette (R). Nadeau up 34.
(GOP Rep. Susan Morrissette of Winslow was upset by Democratic challenger Catherine Nadeau, whose lead after the recount was extended to a 52 vote victory)


Tuesday, November 20

Former State Senator and US Congressional District 1 GOP candidate Jon Courtney congratulates Senator Chris Johnson on his SD 20 re-election victory)

8:30 am SD 20 (Lincoln County)- incumbent Johnson (D)/ Fossel(R). Johnson up 164.
(Incumbent Senator Chris Johnson’s lead increased to a 171 margin)

(Sidenote: After his loss, former Rep. Les Fossel told Kennebec Journal reporter Sue Cover that he blamed his loss on ‘dirty politics’ and made this statement: “I’m going to figure out a way to punish people who do dirty campaigning.”

Interesting…)

HD 29’s Representative-Elect Stan Short (D-Pittsfield) is congratulated by GOP staff attorney Bill Logan, as MDP vice chair and AG candidate Janet Mills looks on)

5:30 pm HD 29- Short (D)/ Englehart (R). Short up 15.
(This open seat formerly held by GOP Rep. Stacey Fitts of Pittsfield went to Stanley Short of Pittsfield, who won by 11 votes)

So here now is the full list of the 126th Legislature that will be sworn in on December 5th:

    SENATE

    SD1- Dawn Hill (D)- Incumbent

    SD2- Ronald Collins (R)- Incumbent

    SD3- John Tuttle (D)

    SD4- David Dutremble (D)

    SD5- Linda Valentino (D)

    SD6- James Boyle (D)

    SD7- Rebecca Millett (D)

    SD8- Justin Alfond (D)- Incumbent; Senate President

    SD9- Anne Haskell (D)

    SD10- Stan Gerzofsky (D)- Incumbent

    SD11- Dick Woodbury (I)- Incumbent

    SD12- Gary Plummer (R)

    SD13- James Hamper (R)

    SD14- John Patrick (D)- Incumbent

    SD15- John Cleveland (D)

    SD16- Margaret Craven (D)- Incumbent

    SD17- Garrett Mason (R)- Incumbent

    SD18- Thomas Saviello (R)- Incumbent

    SD19- Seth Goodall (D)- Incumbent; Majority Leader

    SD20- Christopher Johnson (D)- Incumbent

    SD21- Patrick Flood (R)

    SD22- Edward Mazurek (D)

    SD23- Michael Thibodeau (R)- Incumbent; Minority Leader

    SD24- Roger Katz (R)- Incumbent; Assistant Minority Leader

    SD25- Colleen Lachowicz (D)

    SD26- Rodney Whittemore (R)- Incumbent

    SD27- Douglas Thomas (R)- Incumbent

    SD28- Brian Langley (R)- Incumbent

    SD29- David Burns (R)

    SD30- Emily Cain (D)

    SD31- Edward Youngblood (R)

    SD32- Geoffrey Gratwick (D)

    SD33- Andre Cushing (R)

    SD34- Roger Sherman (R)- Incumbent

    SD35- Troy Jackson (D)- Incumbent; Assistant Majority Leader

    HOUSE

    HD1- Allen Nadeau (R)

    HD2- Ken Theriault (D)- Incumbent

    HD3- Bernard Ayotte (R)- Incumbent

    HD4- Carol McElwee (R)

    HD5- Robert Saucier (D)

    HD6- Tyler Clark (R)- Incumbent

    HD7- Alex Willette (R)- Incumbent; Assistant Minority Leader

    HD8- Joyce Fitzpatrick (R)- Incumbent

    HD9- Ricky Long (R)- Incumbent

    HD10- Stephen Stanley (D)

    HD11- Beth Turner (R)- Incumbent

    HD12- Jeffery Gifford (R)- Incumbent

    HD13- Anita Haskell (R)

    HD14- James Dill (D)- Incumbent

    HD15- Adam Goode (D)- Incumbent

    HD16- John Schneck (D)

    HD17- Victoria Kornfield (D)

    HD18- Aaron Frey (D)

    HD19- Ryan Tipping-Spitz (D)

    HD20- David Johnson (R)- Incumbent

    HD21- Arthur Verow (D)

    HD22- Stacey Guerin (R)- Incumbent

    HD23- Roger Reed (R)

    HD24- Raymond Wallace (R)- Incumbent

    HD25- Ken Fredette (R)- Incumbent; Minority Leader

    HD26- Paul Davis Sr (R)- Incumbent

    HD27- Peter Johnson (R)- Incumbent

    HD28- Dean Cray (R)- Incumbent

    HD29- Stanley Short (D)

    HD30- Lawrence Lockman (R)- Incumbent

    HD31- Joyce Maker (R)- Incumbent

    HD32- Katherine Cassidy (D)

    HD33- Peter Doak (R)

    HD34- Richard Malaby (R)- Incumbent

    HD35- Brian Hubbell (D)

    HD36- Walter Kumiega (D)- Incumbent

    HD37- Ralph Chapman (D)- Incumbent

    HD38- Louis Luchini (D)- Incumbent

    HD39- Brian Duprey (D)

    HD40- Richard Campbell (R)

    HD41- James Gillway (R)- Incumbent

    HD42- Joseph Brooks (I)

    HD43- Erin Herbig (D)- Incumbent

    HD44- Jethro Pease (R)

    HD45- Brian Jones (D)

    HD46- Joan Welsh (D)- Incumbent

    HD47- Elizabeth Dickerson (D)

    HD48- Charles Kruger (D)- Incumbent

    HD49- Jeffrey Evangelos (I)

    HD50- Ellen Winchenbach (R)

    HD51- Mick Devin (D)

    HD52- Deborah Sanderson (R)- Incumbent

    HD53- Timothy Marks (D)

    HD54- Catherine Nadeau (D)

    HD55- David Cotta (R)- Incumbent

    HD56- Corey Wilson (R)

    HD57- Matthew Pouliot (R)

    HD58- Lori Fowle (D)

    HD59- Gay Grant (D)

    HD60- Andrew Mason (D)

    HD61- Bruce MacDonald (D)- Incumbent

    HD62- Jennifer DeChant (D)

    HD63- Charles Priest (D)- Incumbent

    HD64- Jeremy Saxton (D)

    HD65- Peter Kent (D)- Incumbent

    HD66- Matthea Daughtry (D)

    HD67- Seth Berry (D)- Incumbent; Majority Leader

    HD68- Michael Beaulieu (R)- Incumbent

    HD69- Brian D. Bolduc (D)- Incumbent

    HD70- Wayne Werts (D)

    HD71- Mike Lajoie (D)- Incumbent

    HD72- Michael Carey (D)- Incumbent

    HD73- Nathan Libby (D)

    HD74- Margaret Rotundo (D)- Incumbent

    HD75- Stephen Wood (R)- Incumbent

    HD76- Henry Beck (D)- Incumbent

    HD77- Thomas Longstaff (D)- Incumbent

    HD78- Robert Nutting (R)- Incumbent

    HD79- Sharon Treat (D)- Incumbent

    HD80- Melvin Newendyke (R)- Incumbent

    HD81- Gary Knight (R)- Incumbent

    HD82- Craig Hickman (D)

    HD83- Dennis Keschl (R)- Incumbent

    HD84- Karen Kusiak (D)

    HD85- Jeffrey McCabe (D)- Incumbent; Assistant Majority Leader

    HD86- Ann Dorney (D)

    HD87- Paul Gilbert (D)- Incumbent

    HD88- Larry Dunphy (R)- Incumbent

    HD89- Lance Harvell (R)- Incumbent

    HD90- Russell Black (R)- Incumbent

    HD91- Jarrod Crockett (R)- Incumbent

    HD92- Matthew J. Peterson (D)- Incumbent

    HD93- Sheryl Briggs (D)- Incumbent

    HD94- Terry Hayes (D) – Incumbent

    HD95- Tom Winsor (R)- Incumbent

    HD96- Jeffrey Timberlake (R)- Incumbent

    HD97- Helen Rankin (D)- Incumbent

    HD98- Lisa Villa (D)

    HD99- Jonathan Kinney (R)

    HD100- Roger Jackson (R)

    HD101- Christine Powers (D)

    HD102- Michael Shaw (D)- Incumbent

    HD103- Michael McClellan (R)- Incumbent

    HD104- Dale Crafts (R)- Incumbent

    HD105- Elsie Espling (R)- Incumbent

    HD106- Sara Gideon (D)

    HD107- Janice Cooper (D)

    HD108- Stephen Moriarty (D)

    HD109- Anne Graham (D)- Incumbent

    HD110- Thomas Tyler (R)

    HD111- Jane Pringle (D)

    HD112- Mary Nelson (D)- Incumbent

    HD113- Mark Dion (D- Incumbent)

    HD114- Peter Stuckey (D)- Incumbent

    HD115- Erik Jorgensen (D)

    HD116- Denise Harlow (D)- Incumbent

    HD117- Richard Farnsworth (D)

    HD118- Matthew Moonen (D)

    HD119- Benjamin Chipman (I)- Incumbent

    HD120- Diane Russell (D)- Incumbent

    HD121- Kimberly Monaghan-Derrig (D)- Incumbent

    HD122- Terry Morrison (D)- Incumbent

    HD123- Scott Hamann (D)

    HD124- Bryan Kaenrath (D)- Incumbent

    HD125- Ann Peoples (D)- Incumbent

    HD126- Andrew Gattine (D)

    HD127- Amy Volk (R)- Incumbent

    HD128- Heather Sirocki (R)- Incumbent

    HD129- Andrew McLean (D)

    HD130- Linda Sanborn (D)- Incumbent

    HD131- Donald Marean (R)

    HD132- Sharri MacDonald (R)

    HD133- Barry Hobbins (D)

    HD134- Justin Chenette (D)

    HD135- Paulette Beaudoin (D)- Incumbent

    HD136- Megan Rochelo (D)- Incumbent

    HD137- Alan Casavant (D)- Incumbent

    HD138- James Campbell (I)

    HD139- Aaron Libby (R)- Incumbent

    HD140- Wayne Parry (R)- Incumbent

    HD141- Paul Bennett (R)- Incumbent

    HD142- Andrea Boland (D) – Incumbent

    HD143- Anne-Marie Mastraccio (D)

    HD144- William Noon (D)

    HD145- Joshua Plante (D)

    HD146- Mark Eves (D)- Incumbent; Speaker of the House

    HD147- Kathleen Chase (R)- Incumbent

    HD148- Roberta Beavers (D)- Incumbent

    HD149- Paul McGowan (D)

    HD150- Windol Weaver (R)- Incumbent

    HD151- Deane Rykerson (D)

    Tribal Representatives

    Wayne Mitchell (Penobscot Nation)
    Madonna Soctomah (Passamaquoddy Tribe)

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Weekly Democratic Address by Sen. Chris Johnson (Lincoln): GOP tax policies push costs onto towns, ask taxpayers to foot the bill

Posted on October 27, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

Good Morning. This is State Senator Chris Johnson of Somerville.

When I was growing up my family watched the Wizard of OZ every year. Do you remember the scene in which the curtain is pulled aside revealing the real identity of the wizard, a man with no real wizardry, saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”? Well I have to tell you the curtain has been pulled aside again, this time on the economic policies and priorities of the current administration, and the GOP-led legislature.

The truth is that many Maine people are worse off, not better, and paying more for less. And you don’t have to take my word for it. Earlier this month the independent, nonpartisan organization, Maine Center for Economic Policy, released a report analyzing the tax policies and priorities of the last legislature.

Here’s what they found:

Two hundred and seventy thousand Mainers earning $42,000 or less are paying more in taxes.

The wealthiest one percent, earning more than $323,000 a year, are paying a lot less.

And our towns are forced to slash critical town services—letting our local roads crumble, closing or cutting hours at our libraries, or laying off teachers and first responders.

The problem with this slash and burn approach is that, at the end of the day, we are hurting our community. We can all agree to making government more efficient and frugal, but at some point, regardless of how much cutting you do, there is a baseline cost for keeping the lights on and the doors open.

There is a cause and effect to the Republican priority of giving tax breaks to the wealthy; pushing costs onto our towns and asking the local taxpayer to foot the bill.

They’ve created false choices—one where towns are being forced to deplete reserves, cut services, or raise property taxes. It is unfair and not sustainable.

Frankly, the conclusions of this report are not surprising. It confirms what many of us have been feeling across the state, that property taxes are increasing. Towns and taxpayers are feeling the financial squeeze like never before. We are being asked to do more with less—often with so much less, that essential services like police, fire, and rescue are on life support.

I have seen this first hand with the hard choices many of the towns in my district are faced with. Take Damariscotta. Because of the cost shift, they have proposed eliminating the police department in order to save the town money it lost in state revenue sharing. Many residents and local businesses are concerned about what this may mean for their public safety—and rightly so, especially when they have clearly stated their willingness to pay more in property taxes to keep the local police department on duty. Without the cuts from the state, Damariscotta could keep its police department and not pass along a property tax increase.

Other towns have been forced to make similar choices. Just ask Waterville Mayor Karen Heck who had to shed 14 employees as a result of less state revenue coming to her city.

It all comes down to decisions made at the state level. Governor LePage and many legislative Republicans came into office with the promise of cutting taxes, creating more jobs, and getting our economy back on track. Unfortunately, it hasn’t happened. While tax cuts have been made–for some–they’ve led to property tax increases for nearly everyone. When cost shifts are ignored by policymakers in Augusta, they are turning their backs on a hard reality faced daily by Maine people. It turns into a State vs. Town game of whack-a-mole.

Since they took over, we have lost more than 2,300 jobs and we still rank at the bottom of the list for personal income growth. Their solutions for fixing Maine’s economy are in fact leaving behind middle class families, and those trying hard to stay in the middle class.

We need economic policies that encourage and prioritize investments for the very things we know will work, like investing in education, R&D, our roads, bridges and high-speed Internet. We need to encourage job growth by making sure our workforce is trained and ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. And we also need a realistic tax program considering state and local taxes, that is fair and makes sense.

It is time to pay attention to what’s behind the curtain. It’s time to be realistic, and rely on what our own hearts, brains, and bravery tell us, not trickle-down magic.

This is State Senator Chris Johnson of Somerville. Thank you for listening and have a great weekend.

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Democratic Weekly Address by Sen. John Patrick (Oxford): Under GOPs’ Watch, Promises Made, Broken, Middle Class Forgotten

Posted on October 13, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Audio link here.

Good Morning. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford.

It caught my ear when I heard that Maine Republicans held a press conference this week. I wondered, “what more could they be saying about the failed policies of the last couple of years—under their watch?” Certainly, since they’ve been running Augusta, we’ve heard them make a lot of promises.

Like the time when Republicans promised that all Mainers would pay less for health insurance because of their “overhaul” bill. Well, that turned in to a promise broken.

Not only does their new law impose a $22 million tax on every person who has health insurance, it raises rates so that Mainers are paying more for less. If you’re a family of four, you will pay an extra $400 to $600.

Because of their law, insurance rates skyrocketed for all Mainers over the age of 60. And their law lets insurance companies charge middle age Mainers five-hundred times more than younger Mainers.

Small businesses didn’t fare any better either—especially small businesses with older workers in rural areas. They were hit the hardest. In fact, nine out of ten businesses saw an increase.

It seems that the Republican “overhaul” law should change its name to the Republican Rate Hike Law.

There were also promises of putting Maine’s students first. But that too was a promise broken.

The Republican-led legislature cut millions of dollars for HeadStart and other pre-K programs—critical programs that help children and parents.

They spearheaded policies that siphon tax payer dollars away from our community public schools to fund private, religious, virtual and even for profit schools. That’s not going to make our students better—in fact, it will result in lost opportunities for our students and erode our community public schools.

But perhaps the biggest promise they made to Mainers was the promise of jobs. There was a lot of fanfare around this promise. In fact, they even put signs up saying Maine was “open for business”. I was hopeful. Frankly I didn’t care—and I still don’t care—which party, Democrat or Republican, gets Maine people back to work—as long as it happens. But that too turned out to be a promise broken.

While the rest of the country has figured out ways to emerge from the greatest recession of our lifetime, Maine lags behind—way behind.

There are still more than 50,000 Mainers out of work.

We’re dead last in personal income growth and our economy is the only state in New England whose economy actually shrank.

Are we moving forward or backwards under the leadership of the Republican Party?

And so to find out, I looked at the fancy booklet that the Republicans passed out at their press conference and this is what I saw: More of the same. They’re not telling the whole story. They’re forgetting to tell the part that impacts Maine families and working people.

For two years Republicans have been running Augusta and now they’re running from their record.

The fact is that they have made it harder to live, work, and invest in Maine.

Because of their priorities and policies, health care is more expensive, costs have shifted and more people are working harder for less.

A fancy booklet or press conference won’t change the fact that too many Mainers are still out of work and that Republicans have failed to get our economy moving again. They have left the middle class behind.

And so when the Republicans held their press conference and made no mention—during their thirty minutes behind the microphone—not one mention of jobs, not one mention of putting Mainers back to work, I have to wonder where are their priorities? Who are they working for?

I can tell you as a maintenance mechanic at a paper mill—for the last 32 years, I know what it means to earn a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. I know what it’s like to want a better and brighter future for my children. I know what it’s like to worry about how to pay your medical bills and also pay your mortgage. And I know that we can do better to get Maine back on track. We need to stop the rhetoric, put away the glossy booklet, knuckle down and roll up our sleeves to get results.

Thank you for listening. This is State Senator John Patrick of Rumford. Have a great weekend!

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New ‘Yes’ on 1 Ad Featuring ME Rep. Stacey Fitts (R-Pittsfield) Shows People Can Change Their Minds on Marriage

Posted on October 9, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

Stacey Fitts of Pittsfield talks about why, as a Republican, he supports the freedom to marry. He voted against marriage for same-sex couples in 2009, but, since then, he’s talked with the people in his life and changed his mind.

The accompanying press release:

    PORTLAND – Mainers United for Marriage today released a new statewide TV ad featuring Republican State Rep. Stacey Fitts, who voted against allowing same-sex couples to receive a marriage license in 2009 but has changed his mind and supports a “Yes” vote on Question 1 this year.

    “Stacey is an example of folks – from all across the political spectrum – who are changing their minds about the freedom to marry,” said Matt McTighe, campaign manager for Mainers United for Marriage. “Through more than 200,000 one-on-one conversations, we know that Stacey isn’t alone. Thousands of Mainers have changed their minds and support allowing same-sex couples to receive a marriage license.”

    Fitts: “I’ve always been a Republican. I voted against same-sex marriage in 2009. But I know some gay people, and I’ve talked with them and with my family.

    “Deciding who you marry is the most important decision you will ever make.

    “I don’t believe the government should tell anybody who they can love and who they can marry.

    “Voting ‘Yes’ protects religious freedom and it protects individual freedom. To me, that’s what our country is all about.

    “We should allow gay people the freedom to marry, and we should protect individual liberty, too. Voting ‘Yes’ on Question 1 will do both.”

    The 30-second ad can be viewed at: www.mainersunited.org/ads.

    Mainers United for Marriage is the coalition to win marriage for all Maine families. A “Yes” vote on Question 1 in November will allow marriage licenses for loving, committed same-sex couples in Maine while also protecting religious freedom.

    For more information about the campaign, visit http://www.mainersunited.org.

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(UPDATED) Wonkette Scores Exclusive on SD25 Candidate Colleen Lachowicz: “STUNNING MAINE GOP DISCOVERY: DEM CHALLENGER IS SOCIALIST VIDEO GAME PSYCHO”

Posted on October 4, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

(5:30pm update: Politico now has the story as well)

Cross posted from Wonkette with permission:

    Citizens of Maine State Senate District 25, some grave news today: your Democratic candidate for office… has been on the computer. Possibly every day. Possibly… having a good time.

    She plays World of Warcraft, you see. She plays it so good. And you know what THAT means: serious, disturbing sociopathic tendencies, obviously.

    From the Maine GOP, which appears to be totally serious:

      Colleen Lachowicz, the Democratic candidate for State Senate District 25 (Waterville), has been living a time-consuming double life as a member of the World of Warcraft community. World of Warcraft is an online gaming network where people play a fantasy role-playing game in an imaginary world called “Azeroth.”

    OH LORD, she plays a video game? Be still my heart! And to think, we almost elected her to office in the 41st most populous state in These Uniteds. Surely no Maine Republican would stoop so low as to have hobbies.

    Oh, wait, the INCUMBENT REPUBLICAN has hobbies?

Click on over to read the rest of the lurid details! ZOMG!!!11!!

An Act Blue link here: Support a Gamer Who’s Under Attack

Colleen’s press release:

    Statement from Maine State Senate Candidate Colleen Lachowicz

    Waterville, ME—State Senate candidate Colleen Lachowicz released the following statement in response to an attack piece sent out by the Maine Republican Party.

    Colleen Lachowicz says, “I think it’s weird that I’m being targeted for playing online games. Apparently I’m in good company since there are 183 million other Americans who also enjoy online games. What’s next? Will I be ostracized for playing Angry Birds or Words with Friends? If so, guilty as charged!”

    Lachowicz added, “What’s really weird is that the Republicans are going after my hobbies instead of talking about their record while they’ve been running Augusta for the last two years. Instead of talking about what they’re doing for Maine people, they’re making fun of me for playing video games. Did you know that more people over the age of 50 play video games than under the age of 18? As a gamer, I’m in good company with folks like Jodie Foster, Vin Diesel, Mike Myers, and Robin Williams. Maybe it’s the Republican Party that is out of touch.”

    According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, here’s a break down and profile of a gamer in the United States:

  • 65% of U.S. households
  • 49% of 18 – 49 year olds
  • 26% over the age of 50
  • 25% under the age of 18
  • 2 out of 5 people are female
  • average age of a gamer is 34
  • $24.8 billion industry

    According to the Christian Science Monitor, 183 million Americans play video games.

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