Last Thursday the Maine House of Representatives took up House Order 34, “Establishing the House Special Investigative Committee”, sponsored by Rep. Ben Chipman (D-Portland), calling for a special committee to investigate allegations of multiple incidences of wrongdoing by Governor Paul LePage. Ultimately the House voted 96-52 to indefinitely postpone the measure, effectively killing any further action towards impeachment. Full floor debate is below.
From the House Journal:
- (4-3) On motion of Representative CHIPMAN of Portland, the following House Order: (H.O. 34) (Cosponsored by Representatives: BABBIDGE of Kennebunk, BEAVERS of South Berwick, BEEBE-CENTER of Rockland, BLUME of York, EVANGELOS of Friendship, RYKERSON of Kittery, SAUCIER of Presque Isle, WARREN of Hallowell) WHEREAS, the Constitution of Maine, Article IX, Section 5 provides that every person holding any civil office under this State may be removed by impeachment for misdemeanor in office; and WHEREAS, the Constitution of Maine, Article IV, Part First, Section 8 vests in the House of Representatives the sole power of impeachment; and WHEREAS, grave and serious allegations have been raised regarding the conduct of Governor Paul R. LePage; now, therefore, be it ORDERED, that the House Special Investigative Committee is established to investigate allegations of misfeasance, malfeasance, nonfeasance and other misconduct by Governor Paul R. LePage and to make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives as to whether cause exists for impeachment. The committee shall conduct a comprehensive review of allegations of misconduct by Governor LePage, including but not limited to the:
1. Refusal, beginning in 2012, to facilitate the issuance of land conservation bonds that were ratified by the voters of the State in statewide elections held in November 2010 and November 2012 and repeated insistence on extracting compliance by the Legislature on unrelated issues prior to the Governor’s carrying out the will of the people of the State regarding issuance of the bonds;
2. Alleged use of state assets as leverage to bring about the resignation in 2013 of the President of the World Acadian Congress, Jason Parent;
3. Exertion of pressure, in March 2013, on hearing officers in the Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation to favor employers in their decision making;
4. Refusal, beginning in May 2013, to allow cabinet members and members of the administration to appear and testify before legislative committees;
5. Alleged use of state assets as leverage to bring about the resignation in January 2015 of the President of the Maine Community College System, John Fitzsimmons;
6. Request, in February 2015, that the Maine Human Rights Commission postpone a proceeding against a particular business pending before the commission and threatening to withhold state assets when the commission declined to postpone the proceeding;
7. Creation, in April 2015, without public notice in violation of Maine’s Freedom of Access Act, of a panel to conduct a review of the Maine Human Rights Commission; and
8. Alleged use of state assets as leverage to intimidate the Board of Directors of Good Will-Hinckley in June 2015 into terminating its employment of Mark W. Eves, the Speaker of the House of Representatives; and be it further ORDERED, that the House Special Investigative Committee consists of 13 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Speaker’s designee, 6 of whom are appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives upon the recommendation of the House Minority Leader, and that the first-named member is the chair of the committee; and be it further ORDERED, that the House Special Investigative Committee:
1. Shall adopt rules to govern the proceedings before it in order to ensure due process, fundamental fairness and a thorough investigation;
2. May administer oaths and compel the attendance and testimony of persons and the production of papers, documents and other evidence under oath, by subpoena, when the testimony, documents or evidence is necessary for or incident to any inquiry relevant to the business or purposes of the committee and punish any person for the neglect, refusal to appear or failure to produce papers or documents or provide evidence commanded by subpoena or who, upon appearance, either with or without subpoena, refuses to be sworn or testify or produce papers, documents or evidence demanded;
3. May hire special counsel and such other personnel as may be necessary to carry out the committee’s responsibilities; and
4. Following its review and investigation of the facts and circumstances relating to the alleged misconduct of Governor Paul R. LePage, shall submit to the House of Representatives no later than April 1, 2016 its findings and recommendations in the form of a final report, including, if the committee concludes such action is warranted, articles of impeachment describing the misdemeanors in office with which Governor Paul R. LePage is charged. The committee may request from the Speaker of the House of Representatives or the Speaker’s designee extensions of time to complete its work.
Multiple interviews followed the conclusion of the day’s work.
1. Representatives Chipman and Gay Grant (D-Gardiner)
2. House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport)
3. Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N. Berwick)
4. House Majority and Asst Majority Leaders Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) and Sara Gideon (Freeport)
Governor LePage issued a written statement to the press:
- “As I have said all along, this impeachment nonsense was nothing more than a political witch hunt that had absolutely no merit. While some members of the Legislature were obsessing for months over this foolishness, I have been working on the real issues that matter to the Maine people.”
“Just today, I was the keynote speaker at the Mid Maine Chamber of Commerce breakfast meeting, where I spoke about the drug crisis facing our state, lowering taxes and reducing student debt to keep our young people here. I met with the State Employee Health Commission to discuss how to reduce the cost of health care, and I had a lunch meeting with a group of manufacturers to discuss how reducing energy costs can help them create more jobs.”
On the first day of the 2016 session, the Maine House Democratic caucus took time before the start of the day’s work to lay out their objectives for the remainder of the 127th session.
From a press release:
- Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) opened the press conference by saying, “We’re focusing on priorities that matter for Maine families and our communities. Those priorities include getting good, high paying jobs for our towns, making sure seniors can stay in their homes, getting people who want it the life-saving treatment they need to enable recovery from drug addiction, and educating our children.”
House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon focused on job creation and the economy, particularly for rural Maine.McCabe, D-Skowhegan, noted that the release of voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future bonds, growth of the agricultural sector, and promotion of the outdoor recreation economy are all key.
“If we here in Augusta are going to accomplish things, we’ll need willing partners,” McCabe said. “We’ll need the other legislative caucuses and we’ll need Governor Paul LePage. We’ll need transparency and cooperation from the administration. We’ll need the governor to allow his commissioner and other state employees to work with the Legislature and we’ll need access to the information we need to do our jobs.”
Gideon, D-Freeport, focused on how investments in broadband and renewable energy can boost the economy.
“If we all agree that jobs are the top priority, then let’s talk about two ways that we can actually pump life into our economy,” said Gideon. “Maine can catch up and step into the 21st century if we start investing in functional and forward-thinking technology and infrastructure. This is true for broadband capability and it’s true for Maine grown-energy production.”
After the press conference, House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe took more questions from the media:
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I believe every person in this Chamber is a proud American. Our ancestors come from different places; practice different faiths; eat different meals. But we share one nation and one set of ideals. We share a belief in the greatness of our country. A belief that what makes us a great nation isn’t our sameness, but our diversity. Today in the hallways of this magnificent building we saw some of Maine’s diversity. There were people here who came from Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congo Brazza-ville, Djibouti, Mauritania, Rwanda, Somalia.
They hail from the continent of my ancestors, who did not come to these shores by choice. Ancestors who did not come to these shores fleeing anything. Still, I love America more than any other country on earth, and I wish to be nowhere else.
It has already been quoted, but I am going to quote it again:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
I am certain, Mr. Speaker, that every person here, every person listening or watching online, knows that those closing lines from Emma Lazarus’ 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus” are emblazoned on a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, placed there in 1903.
We are a nation of immigrants.
Let us never forget.
As Thomas Jefferson challenges us, “Shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe?”
We are a nation of immigrants.
Let us be reminded by the international community through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for which the United States voted, that “[e]veryone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”
We are a nation of immigrants.
Let us never forget.
Throughout this conversation, we have heard arguments such as: “We can’t even afford to take care of our own; we can’t help our disadvantaged, our elderly, and our infirm, so we can’t help them.” I say, Why not? Why can’t we? From the long perspective of human history, from before the times of the Pharaohs to now, in the wealthiest nation ever to exist on the earth, can we really cry poverty in good faith?
Throughout this conversation, we have heard fears like this: “They don’t look like us. They don’t speak our language. They worship differently than we do. They have strange ways. They can’t be trusted. They just come here to take from us, to pick our pockets, and live off the dole.”
If we haven’t walked in their shoes, then who are we to judge them?
Mr. Speaker, women and men of the house, have we forgotten what makes us human? How have we forgotten what makes us humane? Have we forgotten the purpose of our government?
Our purpose for existing, the principles that guide our work in this Chamber, are laid out in our State Constitution. We have formed the government of the State of Maine “to establish justice, insure tranquility … promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty.” Is not the welfare of all God’s children our “common welfare”? Isn’t treating all of our residents with fairness and equality indeed “justice”? Isn’t our responsibility to truly secure the blessings of liberty for those who have sought refuge among us, fleeing tyranny and civil war?
It breaks my heart that we are even having this debate.
I will quote a passage from “The Fire Next Time,” by James Baldwin:
“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death – ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.”
And so in facing the conundrum of life in this debate, I am going to flip the script. I am not going to call them immigrants, or asylum seekers, or legal non-citizens. I am going to call them exactly what they are: human beings seeking a better life in the greatest country on earth.
How can we in good conscience vote to throw decent human beings out onto the streets because our sometimes cold and insensitive language around “welfare cheats and illegals” has been repeated so often we have lost our ability to see the human beings behind the labels?
As Martin Luther King said, “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”
In order to live with my conscience, I cannot, ought not, will not vote against human beings who need our help. I cannot, ought not, will not pit them against other human beings who need our help. And I cannot, ought not, will not fear what happens at the ballot box in the next election.
Mr. Speaker, women and men of the House, no matter the outcome on this conundrum, this amendment, this vote that we are about to take here this afternoon, I pledge to work with anyone in this Chamber to make sure that our state is more welcoming to young families; more welcoming to people who don’t look like most of us; more welcoming to people from different lands and other countries. And, yes, more welcoming to human beings fleeing the terrible places where life can be found, human beings whose toughness and resilience and ambition will make us a better state now and in the future.
Brilliantly blessed are those who create Unity out of vast Diversity, for they will experience Heaven on Earth.
Mr. Speaker, women and men of the House, let us remember who we are. Let us follow the light of the golden lamp of Lady Liberty and vote to pass this amendment.
Last week, the Republicans in both legislative chambers of the Maine State House selected their leadership.
With Friday’s recount of Senate District 11 between Sen. Mike Thibodeau of Waldo and challenger Jonathan Fulford of Monroe concluding that the district re-elected the incumbent by a 135 vote margin, the make-up of the Senate Majority leadership team selected last week will be: Senate President Mike Thibodeau, Majority Leader Garrett Mason and Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing. Each issued statements:
Senate President Mike Thibodeau:“I cannot begin to express what this means to me. It is a true honor to be chosen by such an outstanding group of people to lead not only them, but the entire Maine Senate.
“At the same time, I recognize it is an awesome responsibility. The people of Maine spoke very clearly in this week’s election. They are demanding action on critical issues such as job creation, energy costs, and welfare reform. We cannot let them down. Delivering real results will take the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats to put their partisan differences aside and work in a collaborative manner on behalf of the people of Maine. It is what we were elected to do and we must rise to the challenge.”
Majority Leader Garrett Mason: “I am very honored to have earned the trust of my Republican colleagues who chose me to be the majority leader. I look forward to working with my fellow senators, members of the House of Representatives, and Governor LePage to find real solutions for the people of Maine.”
Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to go to work on the agenda items that are most important to the citizens of Maine.”
As has been noted in the past, both Thibodeau and Cushing have long-standing ties to ALEC, as do a number of other returning Maine GOP senators and incoming Kim Rosen, wife of former State Senator Richard Rosen of Bucksport.
Over in the House, Republicans chose to retain 126th Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport to serve again in the 127th in that office and replace outgoing Alex Willette, who resigned to take a position with the LePage re-election campaign, with Rep. Eleanor Espling of New Gloucester.
On Wednesday, Democrats held separate caucuses to select their leaders. The House Democrats had lost a few seats in the recently concluded elections, but managed to retain their majority.
While Speaker of the House Mark Eves was not challenged for his seat, the other two leadership positions went up to votes by the caucus, with Rep. Barry Hobbins going up against Assistant Majority Leader Jeff McCabe for the Majority Leader spot last held by termed-out Rep. Seth Berry (Bowdoinham), and 126th freshmen Rep. Lori Lister Fowle (Vassalboro) taking on Rep. Sara Gideon (Freeport) for McCabe’s chair. Ultimately the body selected McCabe and Gideon to join Eves as their 127th Legislative leaders.
Speaker of the House Mark Eves: “It is an honor and privilege to lead our strong and historic 83 seat majority. With Election Day behind us, now is the time govern. We must come together with Governor LePage and our Republican colleagues to address the challenges we face as a state. We cannot allow the partisan battles of the past dictate our future.
“Too much is at stake for leaders to put their party ideology ahead of common sense solutions. Democrats and Republicans can see eye to eye on smart and strategic investments in our state, on property tax relief, on lowering energy costs and helping seniors and veterans. We must focus on areas of common ground, not conflict.”
Majority Leader Jeff McCabe: “We need to move Maine forward and do everything we can to improve the lives of Mainers. We must establish an economic message and policy that works statewide. The voters sent us a message on Election Day. They don’t care about party labels or partisan ideology. They care about government that works.”
Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon: “Now that these long and divisive campaigns are over, it’s time to show the people of Maine that we are about action, that Democrats will deliver while holding steadfast to our values, that Democrats own the idea of prosperity for everyone. We will work with all our strength to protect the values of Maine people: women’s economic security and basic rights, workers’ ability to organize, a clean and sustainable environment and the integrity of excellent public school systems.”
The Senate-elect Democrats, who saw their 18 majority shrink to a 15 seat minority last week, held a caucus Wednesday evening in Hallowell.
They chose outgoing Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland to serve as their Minority Leader in the upcoming 127th legislative session. Alfond is in his final term and served in the 125th Legislature as Assistant Minority Leader to then-Senator Barry Hobbins’ Minority Leader.
Senator Dawn Hill of Cape Neddick, who chaired the 126th Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and was honored as Emerge Maine’s Woman of the Year along with fellow AFA Chair Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston, was chosen to serve as Assistant Minority Leader for the next two years.
Minority Leader Senator Justin Alfond:“Even though, as Democrats, our political beliefs may be different from Paul LePage and Republicans in the Legislature, there are areas in which we agree–and we must build off of that common ground in order to serve the Maine people. I will extend my hand with to Governor LePage, Senate President-elect Thibodeau and others to find that common ground and forge the relationships needed to move ideas forward that work for Maine people.”
Asst Minority Leader Dawn Hill: (sent a message of listening to her fellow lawmakers to ensure that) “we all carry the distinct stories and values of our districts. Listening is how we define our plan and our purpose going forward.”
The 127th Legislature will be sworn into office on December 3 by Governor Paul LePage.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Weekly Democratic Address by House Speaker Mark Eves (N Berwick): “With Election Day behind us, now is the time to govern”
House Speaker Eves: “With Election Day behind us, now is the time to govern”
The political ads on TV and radio are done. With Election Day behind us, now is the time to govern.
We are honored that the people of our state have put their faith in Democrats to run the Maine House of Representatives.
We are the People’s House and you can count on us stand strong for you while also coming to the table with Governor LePage and Republican legislative leaders.
Maine families deserve leaders who will set aside politics and ideology, and seek common sense solutions to grow opportunity for everyone.
-Our seniors deserve to have a more secure retirement right here in Maine.
-Our children deserve to have more opportunity to live and grow in our great state.
-Our working men and women deserve a raise! An honest day’s work deserves an honest day’s pay.
If you work full time you should not live in poverty. Too many women and men in our state are working harder and harder for less and less. It is time to raise the minimum wage.
We are committed to holding the line for the middle class in our state. And we have an opportunity to work together to do so.
Democrats and Republicans can see eye to eye on property tax relief on lowering energy costs and helping seniors and veterans. We must focus on areas of common ground not issues that divide us.
As a former family therapist, I know first hand how to listen and bring people together. And as a father of three young children, I care deeply about ensuring a strong future for our state.
Too much is at stake for leaders to put their party ideology ahead of common sense solutions.
As Speaker of the House, I promise today to always seek progress and not get caught up in the pettiness of politics. I commit that the House of Representatives will always seek what is best for our economy and our people.
In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “Let us not seek the Republican answer or the Democratic answer, but the right answer. Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past. Let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
Let’s determine our future together.
Thank you I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
“I’m running as a common sense voice for the people of Oakland and Sidney, to represent their interests, not the special interests,” Tibbetts said. “We need jobs that pay living wages, health care that is both affordable and ethical, and our personal privacy must be better protected. I’m tired of seeing people that work hard and play by the rules keep losing ground because the people in power keep changing the rules. It’s time that political power returns to the people where it belongs.”
Alan grew up in Eustis. The son of a logger and school teacher, he graduated from the University of Maine with a bachelor’s degree in political science. After serving on active duty, Alan returned to Maine and joined the National Guard. He was in command of units which provided assistance to Maine towns during the flood of ’87 and again during the ice storm of ’98.
After 33 years of service, Alan retired from the Guard as a Lieutenant Colonel in 2013.
Alan, his wife Kathy, and their two children, Heidi and Brian, have lived in Sidney for 18 years.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Via press release- Don is the former chair of the Piscataquis County Democratic Committee:
Don Crossman seeks House Seat 120
MILO, Maine — Don Crossman of Milo is a candidate for House District 120. He is dedicated to improving the lives of Piscataquis county citizens via common sense legislation, valuing self reliance and accountability. “I believe that I will be an asset to Piscataquis County at this time of opportunity for rural Maine.” Don lists his priority’s as twofold:
“Piscataquis County is ready for growth. It will not likely arrive as a Private Prison in Milo or a Resort in Brownville. As a community, we have expended much energy, time and tax payer’s money on looking outside our county for the economic cure that has not arrived. I say look inward to the successful small businessmen who are the foundation of our local economy. They have the answers in their success. One job at a time.”
“Taxes are payment for services rendered. The question is are we as rural Maine citizens getting the best bang for our buck, There is no free meal and never has been. Every dollar your government spends comes from our collective wallets. We can do better.”
Don has been a member of the MSAD 41 Board of Directors for the past 9 years serving the last seven as the Board Chair. He has helped maintain budgets that are lean, affordable and meet the needs of our children. He has lead this board in its formation of AOS-43 and respective savings our communities have experienced because of this consolidation. Of more importance, this sharing of resources will present, expanding opportunities for our children.
He has been a strong advocate of small rural schools fighting to maintain the viability of all of our schools in the District. “Our schools are the heart and soul of our communities.“
He served for several years as an EMT for Three Rivers Ambulance enjoying this opportunity to serve the public.
His experience as a small business owner has taught him the value of a dollar and the need to stay with a budget that is affordable. He has the ability to make the tough financial choices that will be necessary. Don currently serves as the treasurer of one of Piscatquis county s oldest stock clubs.
Don served on active duty with the U.S. Army from 1969-1972 continuing on as a part–time soldier with the Maine Army National Guard until his retirement in 1997.
Don has been employed at the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric center for the past 24 years. He retired In June 2013 as the Clinical Nurse Manager of an acute psychiatric unit taking pride in the excellent care this facility provides to our citizens.
Don is married to the former Joni Bishop of Lagrange, who is employed as the Director of Nursing of DDPC in Bangor.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Via press release:
Theriault Announces for State Senate
- Veteran State Representative from Madawaska to Run for Open Senate Seat
MADAWASKA – State Representative Charles “Ken” Theriault (D-Madawaska) has announced that he will run for the Maine State Senate in the district being vacated by Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Allagash), who is running for Congress.
“It has been an enormous privilege to represent several communities in the St. John Valley in the House, and I want to put my experience to use in the State Senate to serve Northern Aroostook County,” said Rep. Theriault, who is serving his fourth term as the State Representative from House District 2. “I will fight every day to make sure that our unique needs and our values have a voice in Augusta.”
Rep. Theriault currently serves as the House Chair of the Transportation Committee, and is House Chair of the Franco-American Caucus. In the House, he has been a powerful advocate for improving transportation infrastructure, as well as for restoring revenue sharing to local communities. Additionally, he strongly supports accepting federal funds to expand healthcare coverage to 70,000 Mainers, including 3,000 veterans.
“Working men and women in Aroostook County need leaders in Augusta to fight for better jobs, and to fight to protect our manufacturing, agriculture, and logging heritage,” said Rep. Theriault.
Rep. Theriault grew up in Wallagrass on a potato farm, graduated from Fort Kent Community High School, and attended the University of Maine at Fort Kent. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and a member of American Legion Post 147. He has served as a Little League and youth hockey coach, is a director of the Madawaska Snowmobile Club and a member of the Four Season Trail Association, has chaired the Acadian Festival in Madawaska, and is a volunteer leader for the World Acadian Congress. He also enjoys hunting and fishing. He is a member of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madawaska and is a former Grand Knight of the Madawaska Knights of Columbus.
A retired papermaker, he served in leadership positions, including President, with United Papermakers/USW Local 291. As a union representative at Fraser Paper, he prided himself on being a tough but fair advocate for workers and on maintaining a respectful relationship between workers and management.
“My father always taught me to know and respect where you’re from, to know and respect the people in your community, and to always take care of them,” said Theriault. “The culture of Aroostook County is in my blood, and I never forget it.”
Rep. Theriault lives in Madawaska with his wife, Patsy, a retired librarian. They have two grown children and four grandchildren.
Senate District 1 is a new district created by Maine’s Constitutionally-mandated re-districting. It includes all communities in the former Senate District 35 as well as the communities of Ashland, Masardis, and Oxbow Plantation.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
From his press release:
Rep. Nate Libby Announces Candidacy for State Senate
- Will be a forceful advocate for Lewiston
LEWISTON – Rep. Nate Libby (D-Lewiston) will launch his campaign for State Senate District 21, which comprises the city of Lewiston, at Museum LA, 35 Canal Street, Lewiston, on Saturday, February 22nd at 10:00 AM.
“I’m excited for the challenge and opportunity of serving the people of Lewiston in the Senate,” said Rep. Libby. “We need strong leadership in Augusta and I’ll be a forceful advocate for our city and its people.”
The senate seat is currently held by Democratic Senator Margaret Craven of Lewiston, who announced she is retiring after 12 years of service in the Legislature in order to care for her ailing husband. Senator Craven is endorsing Rep. Libby as her replacement.
“I am pleased to support Nate Libby for this seat,” said Senator Craven. “He will bring a great deal of energy to the Senate, and I know he will always put Lewiston first.”
Rep. Libby is completing his first term in the Maine House of Representatives and has been serving on the Lewiston City Council since 2012.
In the Legislature, Rep. Libby serves on the Taxation Committee where he co-sponsored legislation for comprehensive tax reform. He has also worked to restore revenue sharing, expand access to Pre-K education, and make health insurance more affordable.
He serves on the board of Androscoggin Head Start, the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council, Lewiston’s Community Development Committee, and the working group for Lewiston’s first universally accessible playground.
Rep. Libby is a graduate of Bates College and works as a consultant and landlord in Lewiston-Auburn. He is married to Andrea and has a four year old son, Jude.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 3 so far )
Yesterday the 126th Maine Legislature reconvened to begin the second half of the legislative session. At the same time, hundreds of people from around the state came to Augusta to hold a rally organized by Maine People’s Alliance coalition members, hear the life stories of almost two dozen fellow citizens, and urge lawmakers to support expansion of Medicare for 70,000 Mainers as part of the Health Care First initiative.
Almost two dozen came to the mic to speak at the rally; here is a full clip from the event held in the State House’s Hall of Flags.
- “As a nurse, many of the patients I see every day wait until they are so sick that we can’t help them the way that we should and their health deteriorates even more,” said Jessie Mellott, a Registered Nurse from Bangor, introducing the speakers. “They lose limbs. They may never get back to their previous health due to lack of access to care. A lot of the time, these are easy things to fix if they were addressed in time. I urge the legislature to help me care for my patients and take the important step of expanding Medicaid services for 70,000 Maine people.”
“When I found out I had seriously aggressive cancer I was able to access MaineCare and that was life-saving for me,”said Laura Tasheiko of Northport. “I was dropped and left without coverage as I continue my recovery from the ongoing and debilitating effects of cancer, surgery, and chemotherapy treatment. MaineCare is essential for the monitoring and care needed to avoid a medical crisis from medication complications, or even death, in the event of the cancer coming back.”
“Without MaineCare, my injuries will just keep getting worse and worse. I’ll just keep going until I can’t go anymore and then they’ll throw you to the wolves, I guess,”said Richard Holt, a lobsterman and carpenter living in South Portland, “I need it to make sure I can stay healthy enough to keep working for at least another 4 years before I qualify for Medicare.”
More quotes from Bangor Daily News:
- One of those speakers was Gail MacLean, who boards horses at her stable in Gray. MacLean said she has been on Medicaid for three years, but lost her coverage on Dec. 31 as a result of the state not expanding the program, known as MaineCare in the state.
“Now I’m tip-toeing around the farm, hoping I don’t hurt myself,” she said. “My fear is that if something happens, I’ll lose what I’ve worked so hard for.”
Another man, Tom Bennie, a farmer and handyman from Whitefield, said MaineCare paid for his full hip replacement in 2010, and helped his wife recover from a heart attack shortly thereafter.
“If it weren’t for MaineCare, I wouldn’t be able to stand here today,” he said. “My health is all I have. That’s the most important thing. MaineCare gave me a sense of security.”
Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos, I-Friendship, is co-sponsor of Eves’ Medicaid expansion bill, which legislative Republicans and LePage have vowed to defeat again this year. He called on the governor to follow the example of other GOP executives, such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who in their states accepted Medicaid expansion as allowed by President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
He called the showing by MPA “impressive.”
“I think it’s a real statement to the moderate Republicans to get on board,” he said. “If Gov. LePage vetoes this bill again, I expect them to support us in overriding.”
Later after the end of the beginning day of session, Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves spoke to those assembled:
- “Today in the halls of the State House, we heard why expanding health care to tens of thousands of Mainers is a top priority. The stakes are high—people’s lives and well-being are on the line,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “Expanding healthcare is the right thing to do morally and it’s the right economic decision. Making sure folks have access to healthcare without the fear of going bankrupt is something we all value and it’s something we will continue fighting for.”
“We are so grateful to the people who came today to talk to lawmakers about the importance of this life-saving health care,”said Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick, who is sponsoring a new measure to accept federal Medicaid dollars under the Affordable Care Act. “What we heard today is what we hear from our neighbors at home: people want and need life-saving health care. They don’t understand why politics and ideology are holding up common sense care.”
A public hearing will be held by the HHS Committee (Cross Building Rm 209) on January 15 regarding Speaker Eves’ and Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson’s Medicaid expansion proposals. More pictures from yesterday can be found here.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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