Bernie Sanders 2016 Campaign Announces Maine Working Class Cabinet

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

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

From his prepared remarks:

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

House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe:


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

bernpressBernie 2016 Maine Working Class Cabinet

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

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Special Election for House District 19 Set for November; Jean Noon of Springvale Seeking Democratic Nod

Posted on August 12, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Governor Paul LePage and Secretary of State Matt Dunlap announced today that a special election to fill the seat last held by second termer Rep. William Noon (D-Springvale), who passed away last month, has been set for November 3:

    Maine’s three political parties, the Democrats, Green Independents and Republicans, will now caucus to choose candidates for the seat. Candidates must be nominated by 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 28. Petitions for non-party candidates may be requested from the Elections Division and must also be submitted to the Secretary of State by Friday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. Write-in candidates must be declared and file with the Secretary of State by 5 p.m. on Sept. 14.

    The candidate elected by Sanford voters in November will serve out the remainder of Noon’s term, which will run until the General Election in November 2016.

JeanNoonAmong those running is his widow Jean Noon. From a press release:

    “It’s an honor to take on the important work that my husband started in service to our community and our state,” said Jean Noon. “As a farmer, teacher and longtime resident of Springvale, I know first hand the challenges facing communities like ours.”

    Noon is an organic sheep farmer. She raises sheep on her 75 acre farm in Springvale. Jean also served as an art teacher for 13 years in local public schools.

    “It is an honor to have Jean run for Bill’s seat. She is the perfect candidate to carry out his work for the citizens of Springvale and Sanford,” said Speaker Mark Eves, D- North Berwick. “Bill was a great legislator and a good friend, and I know he would be very proud to see his wife continue his work.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

An official statement was issued the following morning:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

      2. RSU 13 Board member Carol Bachofner (D)

 

      3. Veteran retired educator Ralph Newbert (D)

 

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

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

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

      (§382.

REPRESENTATIVE TO LEGISLATURE

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

SECTION HISTORY

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Governor LePage Swears In Constitutional Officers

Posted on January 13, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

    Political Pettiness? “Get Over It”

On Thursday, Cathy Breen (D-Cumberland) was finally sworn in to represent Senate District 25, a full month later than her colleagues, due to the recent recount snafu. Governor Paul LePage administered the oath of office in his chambers.

State Senator Cathy Breen (D-Cumberland) is welcomed by Senate after taking oath of office.

State Senator Cathy Breen (D-Cumberland) is welcomed by Senate after taking oath of office.

While this is not unusual practice, what happened later that day most definitely was.

In an unprecedented move, Maine’s three constitutional officers Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Treasurer Terry Hayes and Attorney General Janet T. Mills were informed that by the governor’s request, they would not be sworn into office publicly in the House of Representatives- but rather that LePage would administer their oaths privately in his chambers.

All three had served as Democratic legislators with Hayes serving as House Minority Whip in the 125th Legislature. While Dunlap and Mills still are Democrats, Hayes last year declared herself as an Independent while working as field director for Eliot Cutler’s gubernatorial campaign. This marks Dunlap’s second consecutive term in the office, as he previously served three terms from 2005-10 and returned for the 2013-14 term. Mills, Maine’s first female Attorney General, served from 2008-10 and again from 2012-4.

Terry Hayes was nominated by Republicans Senator Tom Saviello and former Speaker of the House Rep. Bob Nutting when she defeated incumbent Democrat Treasurer Neria Douglass in December. She ran unsuccessfully for House Speaker against Mark Eves in 2012. This is her first term as Treasurer and she made a special request of the governor for a public ceremony, as she had invited over 60 family members, friends and former legislative colleagues to witness her swearing in.

Governor Paul LePage administers the Oath of Office to Secretary of State Matt Dunlap privately in the governor’s Cabinet Room.

Governor Paul LePage administers the Oath of Office to Secretary of State Matt Dunlap privately in the governor’s Cabinet Room.


On Thursday afternoon, Dunlap and Mills were escorted separately into the governor’s Cabinet Room along with members of their staff, family and a handful of state senators to witness the quick ceremonies behind closed doors. Neither the public nor the press were allowed to witness, although this reporter did manage to obtain a photo of Secretary of State Dunlap’s swearing in by quickly passing a camera to a willing party as they went through the door.

Once both were sworn in, Governor LePage met with Hayes and her husband Stephen in the Hall of Flags and spoke for a few moments privately. Before a large crowd of invited guests including former legislators of all political stripes, he administered the oath of office publicly, congratulated her, waved to the crowd of witnesses and returned to his office.

It would be easy to chalk all of this up as yet another example of “Paul LePage being Paul LePage”, except this feels like the beginning of a concerning tonal trend. Earlier in the week and with much fanfare, the governor unveiled a new facility in South Portland that consolidates the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Department of Education (DOE) and Department of Labor (DOL) offices. The administration claimed that the new facility will save taxpayers more than $23 million. But when asked by the press about the difficulties the new location creates for those having to take a 40 minute bus ride to get to it, the governor quipped:

    “Get over it.”

Also this week, DHHS head Mary Mayhew stated that the federal government’s battle with the LePage administration over photos on EBT cards could lead to her department’s “questioning their ability to administrate the SNAP program”.

Let that sink in: Mayhew, considered to be mulling a future Blaine House run herself, is willing to deny 249,000 Maine families their federally allowed food assistance.

    “Get over it.”

But back to the private/ public oath of office brouhaha. The governor and his office have refused to comment on the matter at all.

    “Get over it.”

One anticipates this phrase will be repeated many times over the next four years.

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Maine’s Constitutional Officers Give Speeches At Recognition Ceremony (VIDEO, TEXT)

Posted on January 8, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

After Governor Paul LePage swore in Matthew Dunlap as Secretary of State, Janet T. Mills as Attorney General and Terry Hayes as Treasurer, the three and invited guests reconvened in the House of Representatives.

A reminder: the swearing in for incumbents Dunlap and Mills were both conducted privately by LePage in his Cabinet Room; he swore Hayes into office publicly in the Hall of Flags:

Here are the speeches presented by the trio, with text as prepared for Dunlap and Mills.

1. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D-Old Town)

    Thank you for coming today—and especially, thank you to my wife and family, without whom I would be helpless to ever amount to anything. Also, special thanks, again, to Senator Anne Haskell of Cumberland and Representative Aaron Frey of Bangor for nominating me for another term as Secretary of State.
    I’m sorry you missed the actual act of my taking the oath. The Executive had reserved a custodian’s closet for the act, but we had to use it while the good fellow was taking his break, so the schedule didn’t mesh with this event.
    We’re nearing the end of the sesquicentennial observation of the Civil War. One of the most famous letters to come out of that war was written by a Rhode Island officer to his wife just days before he was killed in the first Battle of Bull Run. In it, he writes of the noble purpose of the war:
    “If it is necessary that I should fall on the battlefield for my country, I am ready. I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in, the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how strongly American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the Government, and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing—perfectly willing—to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this Government, and to pay that debt.”
    Sullivan Ballou understood that the fight to support the government was really the fight to support freedom—which is our right, as citizens, to govern ourselves, and not, in fear, stand subject to petty actions by some despot. I am grateful that brave, conscientious Americans stand at this hour in harm’s way to protect that same idea. So, empty efforts that attempt to portray false power are just games, and don’t really get under my skin. My work goes on, as does yours, as we all stride forward for a better future.
    We live in dangerous times. In any direction that we cast our eyes, we see turmoil. The civil war raging in Syria; tension in Ukraine; distrust in North Korea; piracy in the Gulf of Aden; and our soldiers, sailors and airmen deployed and on high alert in many very, very dangerous places around the world keep us lighting candles and tying yellow ribbons as a show of hope for their safe return.
    Even the happy circumstance of falling oil prices contributes to a disturbing sense of global entropy. Cheap oil isn’t good for everyone, and as nations face crippling deflation of their currencies, unrest may well follow.
    My instincts, at one time, would have been to turn off the television, close up the front door, and go out back and plant a garden.
    While it’s always more comfortable to pretend that all is well and that our problems will go away by themselves, the reality is they don’t, and superheroes only live in comic books. I learned from the examples of so many around me—especially my parents, Bob and Sue Dunlap, that no one will come rescue you when things go wrong; (well, the Maine Warden Service will rescue you, but you know what I mean, generally) you have to roll up your sleeves and get to work.
    My late father, an energetic and creative man, never knew quite what to make of me. I wasn’t like everyone else in my family—they were always making something. I was content to lay around in bed long into a summer’s day, reading and daydreaming. It was a source of tremendous frustration for him, even causing him to exclaim one time that I had no shame, and was the laziest kid he had ever seen.
    He would have been stunned at what’s transpired in me since those carefree days.
    I believe strongly in what I do; and am grateful for the opportunity to continue in this role bestowed on me by the Legislature. Being able to help people access their government is one of the great blessings of my life, and the calling is strong enough to keep me coming back.
    We engage in no small tasks. Nothing I am asked is a bother to me, nor do I ever have anything more important to do, despite the protestations of those who come to me, hat in hand, with what to them is a great issue indeed. We have, in the office of the Secretary of State, very simple rules of engagement.
    1. We always tell it like it is; never hedge, blame others, or dissemble.
    2. The world stops for kids. Young people are our future leaders, and taking time to listen to them, answer their questions, and show them the respect of any citizen pays long dividends.
    3. Do it now. Post-it notes and reminders are the urns of forgotten tasks, and appear to mean that we consider something important to a citizen unworthy of our immediate attention.
    We’ve been through a lot since I first stood here. At the time, still fresh from my service in the House, I meant it when I said that my goal for the Legislature was for people to see their representatives and senators as highly effective—because they had a good experience with my office. We’ve had a lot of success there, which was at many times uncertain. There was the long turmoil of the Motor Vehicles computer upgrades—deftly executed by our great people there. Now, we are nearing completion of upgrades to all of our service facilities, and are working towards keeping pace with the expectations and opportunities of the 21st Century.
    We’ll have a lot to talk about this session as we consider how Maine will respond to the latest feints by the Federal government towards getting the several states to conjure up for them—at no cost to the Feds—for a national ID and citizen tracking system called REAL ID. Still fraught with problems and sold with fantasy, we’ll want to engage the Legislature for guidance.
    We built the Central Voter Registration system, and provided expedited service to military and overseas voters as well as people with disabilities. But the help the Federal government lent us to do that is gone—and they expect us to continue, without the benefit of additional Federal dollars. So we’ll be chatting with you about that, too.
    We’ll be working on rebuilding our Corporations databases as well, and at NASS, we’ll continue to grapple with Congress over corporate formation issues that, if they get their way, will be an incredible burden on business and not achieve any of the goals Congress has in mind. We call that process REAL ID Business Class.
    At the Archives, we’re putting the resources the last Legislature asked us to use for securing our electronic history to work and are beginning to implement what will be the underpinning of a digital archiving policy. We’re going to keep working on that, and with a largely new and highly energized staff, we’re planning on getting a lot done over the next two years.
    We have a lot to do. I could tell you plenty more, and I will; you’ll see me every day, in the halls and in your committee rooms, and I’ll strive to answer your questions and help you craft solutions to the problems that Hector our shared goals of building a stronger, more prosperous Maine for our children.
    But let us, as we bend to that work, never forget those who handed off the promise of freedom to us and entrusted us with the promise of the better tomorrow that we live in. Honoring those who have stood, fearless, in times of danger, casts forward the blessing of freedom to the next generation.
    Last year, we took the opportunity of better promoting the Vote in Honor of a Veteran program to profile a different veteran every day on our department Facebook page. It was enormously popular, and I still receive thanks from people for highlighting the service of someone they care about.
    I thought about how best I could convey the spirit of my passion for this work today. The Executive stated yesterday that actions speak louder than words; and he’s right. But words are important too, so let me conclude with a bit of a mix.
    In the fall of 2013, I participated in the somber, yet glorious interment of the remains of Corporal Robert Tait of my hometown of Bar Harbor. Corporal Tait died of starvation in a North Korean prisoner of war camp. Bringing home his remains to rest in our hometown was one of the most meaningful events I’ve been a part of in my professional life.
    In my actions, I will never forget. In my actions, I will always strive to serve. And when I serve, I will serve my country with my entire soul.
    To honor what I strive to be, let me leave you with a poem written by Herman Melville in 1864 called In the Prison-pen, about the sad plight of prisoners of war. He could have written it about Robert Tait.
    Listless he eyes the palisades
    And sentries in the glare;
    ‘Tis barren as a pelican-beach—
    But his world is ended there.
    Nothing to do; and vacant hands
    Bring on the idiot-pain;
    He tries to think—to recollect,
    But the blur is on his brain.
    Around him swarm the plaining ghosts
    Like those on Virgil’s shore—
    A wilderness of faces dim,
    And pale ones gashed and hoar.
    A smiting sun. No shed, no tree;
    He totters to his lair—
    A den that sick hands dug in earth
    Ere famine wasted there,
    Or, dropping in his place, he swoons,
    Walled in by throngs that press,
    Till forth from the throngs they bear him dead—
    Dead in his meagreness.
    In my actions, let their sacrifice be not in vain.
    Thank you for your trust in me.

2. Attorney General Janet T. Mills (D-Farmington)

    Thank you, Rob Hunt.

    And thank you, Terry Hayes and Matt Dunlap, for the service you are prepared to provide (again) to the citizens of Maine. I want to thank Neria Douglass for her ten years in state service as Auditor and Treasurer at the same time that I welcome Terry Hayes to the ranks of the constitutionals.

    And I want to thank my husband Stan, who left us 3 � months ago but whose courage is still the wind beneath my wings.

    Last week, before the snow, the ice that formed so quickly was like glass. We could look to the bottom of the lakes and rivers and see clearly to the bottom. It was like a dream where you’re skating and floating above your own reflection, above the rocks and mud ten feet below, ultimate transparency.

    And I wondered, are we in state government standing on thin ice too, with no sense of depth, distance or danger?

    As days grow longer; as longer, slower shadows fall against these walls and people look for laws and legacies in the halls; as the Kennebec River rushes toward its rendezvous with the ocean, and the days grow longer and wetter, I realize we need more light, less ice. We need to be rowing together towards our very own Merrymeeting Bay.

    There are people in this room who keep the boats afloat. And today I want to thank the incredibly hard working attorneys and staffers in the Office of the Attorney General whose commitment to public service and the protection of the public safety is unparalleled.

    Working on thousands of matters from child abuse to consumer protection to police involved shootings to healthcare crimes to the challenges of Riverview and the prosecution of domestic violence homicides and felony drug cases, these attorneys are busy solving problems, not creating them; they are busy defending state agencies, litigating, mediating, all on behalf of the public interest. And they deserve our special thanks.

    Like the faithful rivers of Maine that do their work under both frigid winds and the sun of sultry summers, rivers that now flow like muscles flexing under a thick hide of ice, the work of government draws from the headwaters of conflict and fertilizes the fields of justice.

    Every evening, when I leave the office, I ask: Have we made Maine safer, stronger, better these past few years? Have we made our state more just? Have we strengthened the social contract we have with our citizens, perfecting, not neglecting, our obligations towards each other?

    To answer this— Just ask the elderly woman who bravely testified against her own daughter for stealing her life’s earnings in a Bangor jury trial last year.

    Ask the familes of the three people shot to death and set on fire in a car in Bangor. Ask about the months of intensive investigation and the four week long trial our office conducted to put those two murderous drug dealers behind bars.

    Many more of our homicides involve drugs now and are difficult to solve. And 32 percent of our felony drug cases last year were for heroin, up from only 7 percent two years before.

    With 961 babies born in Maine last year affected by drugs and 176 people dead from drugs in 2013, this epidemic deserves an intensive effort—from public education to punishment of dealers and treatment of offenders. Working with the MDEA, the US Attorney, the pharmacies, the medical community and advocates like Skip Gates, my office will take part in the all-out attack on the meth-makers and heroin traffickers who are killing our youth.

    It’s not just drugs and murders we’re prosecuting. We’re constantly going after those who cheat the state—

    Like the couple in Lewiston who got subsidized housing vouchers for living in a building they owned and profited from themselves.

    Like the man who bilked MaineCare out of nearly half a million dollars for counseling services he never provided.

    Like the DHHS employee who diverted funds to her boyfriend, and like the DOL employee who bought a camera, an IPod, clothes and new tires for herself with someone else’s voc rehab funds.

    And over the last five years our office recouped 69 million dollars in fines and restitution for provider fraud from pharmaceutical companies and others.

    We’ve also spent hundreds of hours finding ways to help homeowners facing foreclosure and towns dealing with neighborhood blight.

    We’ve collected many thousands of dollars in child support from deadbeat parents across the state, while our volunteer mediators recouped nearly $700,000 for consumers last year.

    Because of a 58% increase in child abuse in Maine, our child protection attorneys now carry caseload of more than a hundred apiece, and they make app. 140 court appearances every week.

    Among those cases is the 12-month old child whose brain was shattered by a father ill-prepared for parenthood, a case that tears my heart out.

    We are also protecting victims of hate crimes, like the Iraqi refugee and war hero who came to Maine looking for sanctuary but ended up sleeping in his car out of fear from the racial epithets and violent threats from a biased neighbor.

    We have helped negotiate severance payments for hundreds of hard-working millworkers laid off when the Bucksport mill closed. Today they received their first checks.

    A few weeks ago, drowned out by the din of political rhetoric, my office and the Chief Executive settled the Aldrich case that will take nearly a thousand of Maine’s neediest citizens off the infamous waitlist for services.

    Some have said, “Why don’t you work better with the Governor?” Well, it’s true, you probably won’t catch Gov. LePage and me sitting down sharing a glass of Chardonnay, eating Brie and watching Downton Abbey together. Not likely. But I do respect the Chief Executive. And I do think we have some things in common: We both like “straight talk.” We both speak our minds. We both believe in action. We both get upset when people steal from the public purse. We are both determined to end domestic violence. We both despise the drug dealers that are killing our youth. We both oppose the scams that rob our veterans of their hard-earned dollars. Like the old Jimmy Cliff song says, we’ve got “many rivers to cross…” But we both believe, fundamentally, in the Rule of Law, the knowledge that our country is governed by laws, not by individuals.

    The Rule of Law is what informs the work of our office. Like Mt. Katahdin shedding its cloak of frost and nourishing the streams and fields of Maine, the constitution and the rule of law are the source of all our laws, the foundation for governance.

    That is why, on any given day, you will see my office working with the departments of state government and representing the state in nearly 7,000 separate legal matters. We work together; and, for the most part, the interests of my office, the interests of the Maine Legislature and the interests of the administration are aligned.

    When they are not, you will know about it. And on the thousands of occasions when they are running smoothly, you will hear little. But know that this happens. And it is for the public good, mindful still of the necessary independence of the constitutional officers.

    For the constitutional officers are the brackets, the wedges, the independent glue that secures the beams and rafters of government, that fixes them to the solid long ridge beam that is our Constitution. Working with diligence and integrity, we will hold the beams and trusses of government sturdy against the strongest of winds.

    In the coming years, my door will always be open to the administration and to those from all branches of state government. We will work with a spirit of openness, with a passion for the people whose lives we are all here to protect.

    We recognize that every disagreement need not become a great divide, every loaded word someone’s Waterloo, every freshet of bravado a flood of conflict, drowning out compromise and progress.

    Over the next two years, we will address tough challenges together:

    Riverview, with its new building perched along the Kennebec, reflected in the polished State House dome, gives a false sense of comfort to those outside. We will work hard to better balance due process rights, the safety of staff and patients and the fiscal needs and safety of our state.

    We will continue to work “cold cases,” 120 unsolved murders, even with only one attorney assigned to all of them.

    We will modernize the Medical Examiner’s Office, finding the machinery and expertise to achieve national certification, to finish cases in timely fashion and bring closure to grieving families.

    We will create ways for seniors who have been neglected and robbed to be heard effectively in our courts.

    We will be vigilant about our Freedom of Access laws. I would love to expand those principles of transparency to other public health institutions where millions of dollars in taxpayer funds are spent in closed door meetings.

    We will make sure lenders are offering the relief and foreclosure alternatives which the National Mortgage Settlement requires.

    I will speak out against international trade agreements that jeopardize the health, safety and economic well-being of our citizens.

    And in my new role as Co-Chair of the National Association of Attorneys General Tobacco Committee, I will be looking for new ways to snuff out the biggest cause of cancer and heart disease in our state and our nation.

    This past year there were twenty-one homicides in Maine. We like to think that’s a low number. After all, we have one of the lowest crime rates in the country. Fourteen of those homicides were crimes of domestic violence.

    When I consider that statistic, I remember these names:

    Jason Montez, who was shot to death by his mother’s husband. He was only 12 years of age. Duwayne Coke, who was strangled to death by his mother’s boyfriend; he was 10 years old. Destiny Sargent, strangled to death by the same man; 8 years old. Noah Smith, shot to death by his father; seven years old. Lily Smith, also shot to death by her father who then turned the gun on himself; she was 4 years old. Sean St. Amand, left in a bath tub by his father with the water running and drowned; he was 11 months old. Korbyn Antworth, beaten and shaken to death by a babysitter; Korbyn was only five months old. And Zade Adams, asphyxiated by a parent at Christmastime. Three months old.

    Eight children killed in one year. A first for our state. And we must never let it happen again. The lifeless hopes and dreams of these children and their need for justice will drive our work in the coming years.

    Mario Cuomo challenged us forty years ago to make our nation “remember how futures are built,” stressing the need for government to operate as a family with care and compassion for those in need.

    As the State of Maine chips away at vital services, at education, public health, drug treatment, mental health and the safety net of our citizens, we must recognize that these decisions may have consequences. They can be named: Jason, Duwayne, Destiny, Noah, Lily, Sean, Korbyn, Zade.

    A year from now, will we be standing on a hardened frost, immobilized? Will we be looking at ourselves through sheer ice, unaware of impending dangers? Or will we be steering through moving waters, pulling together as a family, heading in a common direction and helping all the people of Maine stay alive and afloat?

    I will be there to help navigate the shoals.

    Thank you.

3. Treasurer Terry Hayes (I-Buckfield)

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UPDATED: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Recount*

Posted on December 1, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: Despite the fact that the panel of seven senators that will be tasked with resolving the SD 25 election has not even yet been selected and named, let alone met to take up the messy problem, the Maine State Senate webpage has been amended to give the win to the Republican candidate, Cathy Manchester:

    About the 127th Maine State Senate

    All members of the 127th Maine Senate have been elected to serve a two-year term. Of the 35 members, there are 21 Republicans and 14 Democrats. Eight are women (4 Republicans and 4 Democrats) and 27 are men (17 Republicans and 10 Democrats).

The link to NEW Contact Information for Members of the 127th Maine Senate (excel spreadsheet) continues to have Democrat Cathy Breen as the winner.

A pair of press conferences were held on Monday with each side repeating their stance as to whether what occurred was a mistake or something more deliberate:

    “It appears that there was just a clerical error that 21 ballots didn’t get counted. And we’re glad they’ve been counted. But we want to find out for sure,” said Senator Roger Katz, R-Augusta.

    “We expect Republicans to share this concern of potential ballot tampering because, again, this is not about a political party, it is about the integrity and confidence we can all have when we cast our ballot,” said outgoing Senate President Justin Alfond D-Portland.

———-

Senator Elect Nate Libby of Lewiston is congratulated by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.

Senator District 21 Elect Nate Libby of Lewiston is congratulated by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.


Before Thanksgiving, the Secretary of State’s office was tasked with settling a handful of disputed elections, as happens periodically. At one point, WCSH and MPBN reported there would be recounts in Senate District 2 (Aroostook County) and 13 (Lincoln County). But later it was confirmed that the requests for both had been withdrawn.

That left three races for resolution in Senate Districts 11, 21 and 25. These recounts were a result of either being automatically generated due to the closeness of the initial tallies or per request of a candidate. Preliminary totals via BDN:


    Senate District 11 (Waldo County), Democrat Jonathan Fulford versus Mike Thibodeau. According to unofficial election results compiled by the Bangor Daily News (the Secretary of State’s office has not yet posted its results), the incumbent Thibodeau won the seat 9,064 votes to 8,949, a 115-vote margin. Thibodeau, the former Senate minority leader, was nominated by his Republican peers Friday to be president of the Senate for the 127th Legislature, though that is subject to approval by the full Senate when it convenes in December.

    Senate District 21 (Lewiston), Democrat Nathan Libby versus Republican Patricia Gagne. According to the BDN’s unofficial results, Libby was victorious by a vote of 6,636 to 6,572, a 64-vote margin. This seat was formerly held by Democrat Margaret Craven, who opted not to seek re-election.

    Senate District 25 (part of Cumberland County), Democrat Catherine Breen versus Republican Cathleen Manchester. According to the BDN’s unofficial results, Breen took the seat by a vote of 10,897 to 10,890, a seven-vote margin. This seat was previously held by independent Richard Woodbury, who opted not to seek re-election.

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 of recounting the ballots is methodical, meticulous, slow and tedious work, carried out by Deputy Secretary of State Julie Flynn and her staff in the Florian Room of 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 to weigh in on disputed ballots, irregularities and the like, as well as other support staff tabulating the final tallies before the final certification for each race.

Results were made public by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap in press releases and on Facebook.

Senate District 25 recount began at 9am.

Senate District 25 recount began at 9am on November 18.

    (Friday, Nov. 14) Senate District 11: “In the State Senate District 11 recount, results show that Republican Michael Thibodeau is the winner. Jonathan Fulford (D) received 8,974 votes, while Thibodeau received 9,109 in the recount.”

    (Monday, Nov. 17) Senate District 21: “The State Senate District 21 (City of Lewiston) recount is now complete. Results show that Democrat Nathan Libby remains the winner, with 6,646 votes to Republican Patricia Gagne’s 6,563.”

    (Tuesday, Nov. 18) Senate District 25:

And here’s where “a funny thing happened”.

By 5 pm on the 18th, not only was there no clear winner after all of the present ballots were re-examined, but it was told to this reporter that a box of ballots had been discovered to still be in Westbrook and being brought to Augusta by Maine State Police- an unusual turn of events that meant a further delay of SD 25’s final results.

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap

Even funnier- later on that evening, Secretary of State’s office issued the following statement:

    The State Senate District 25 final results will be decided by the Senate. The recount showed a reversal in the apparent winner, with Catherine Breen (D) getting 10,916 votes and Cathleen Manchester (R) getting 10,927, but the results were not accepted by both candidates.

    When the Legislature convenes in January, its standing Senatorial Vote Committee will review the situation and make a recommendation to the full Senate on which candidate should be seated for the full term. (The committee is made up of four majority and three minority members.) The Senate will then make the final determination of which candidate to seat, typically no later than January.”

Soon it was learned that at the center of the dispute were not ballots from Westbrook, but rather almost 2 dozen new GOP ballots from Long Island. Immediately calls for a full investigation into potential voter fraud began:

    Unanswered questions remain about 21 ballots from the town of Long Island that can’t seem to be attributed to any voter. The ballots were discovered on Nov. 18, the night of the recount, and all of them contained a vote for Republican Cathleen Manchester of Gray, who had requested the recount.

    During an election, wardens at each polling place keep track of which registered voters have cast ballots. This ensures that no one gets to vote twice. The incoming voter list, or “voter manifest,” in Long Island indicated that 171 residents cast ballots either in person or absentee in this year’s election.

    Attorneys Katherine Knox (D) and Bill Logan (R) examine a disputed ballot.

    Attorneys Katherine Knox (D) and Bill Logan (R) examine a disputed ballot.

    That’s the same number of votes presented by warden and Town Clerk Brenda Singo in unofficial results relayed on election night to the Bangor Daily News and the Associated Press. Long Island, a town of about 230 residents, has only one polling place, and Singo was the only warden.

    However, when the locked box of ballots was opened during the recount, 192 ballots were found. Put simply, there are 21 more ballots from Long Island than there are documented voters.

Incoming Senate President elect Mike Thibodeau, who himself had been subject to a recount, had this to say:

    “I think the committee could convene and go over the results on swearing-in day. We’ve got to figure out if Cathy Manchester has the most votes. It’s unfortunate to throw around terms like that without some sort of substantial evidence. The fact of the matter is that we have had a recount and the results of that recount left Cathy Manchester as the apparent winner. Because some folks are not happy with that outcome, they’re throwing around some pretty wild accusations.”

Rep. Janice Cooper (D-Yarmouth) represents House District 47, which consists of Yarmouth, Long Island and Chebeague Island, has called for Attorney General Janet Mills to look into the matter.

    “One of two things has to happen to put this matter to rest: the state attorney general or the U.S. Attorney should immediately conduct a thorough, independent criminal investigation of the circumstances of this discrepancy, one that involves questioning all relevant witnesses under oath and forensic experts.

    Senate Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing, President Mike Thibodeau and Majority Leader Garret Mason

    Senate Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing, President Mike Thibodeau and Majority Leader Garret Mason

    Our state Constitution provides that it’s up to the Senate to decide the qualifications of its members. However, that does not absolve state or federal prosecutors from doing their job. The Senate president-elect says he will appoint a special committee to look into the matter. However, whether or how independently that investigation is conducted is up to them. Because a majority of the committee will be members of the same party as the recount winner, the outcome is bound to be suspect as politically biased unless the investigation is truly impartial and thorough.

    It’s entirely appropriate for a political body to make political decisions, as we do on proposed legislation or nominations. Sometimes, however, the Legislature must act in a quasi-judicial role, which is not easy.

    Years ago, I was counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee in an impeachment case concerning removal of a federal judge for alleged conspiracy to commit bribery. The case came to the House with a massive record from a criminal trial, grand jury and independent counsel’s investigation. Nevertheless, the House also conducted its own investigation, subpoenaing and deposing witnesses under oath, conducting forensic investigations, etc. We then presented our case first to the House of Representatives and then to the U.S. Senate. For the most part, the proceedings followed judicial rules of evidence. The judge was impeached, convicted and removed from office.

    This is what a quasi-judicial legislative inquiry should look like. Whether the Maine Senate is prepared to go to this length remains to be seen. Frankly, they don’t have the resources or the expertise, even if they had the will.

    That’s why we should leave it to professional prosecutors to conduct the inquiry. The Senate can seat whom it wants, but whether that decision stands or is set aside by the courts would very likely hinge on the outcome of a professional inquiry. Nothing less will do.

*Apologies to Stephen Sondheim et al

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Ralph L. Tucker of Brunswick Holds 10 Vote Lead in Recount, Declared Winner of HD 50 Democratic Primary

Posted on June 18, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

The first of two Democratic primary recounts, that of House District 50 (parts of Brunswick), was conducted at the Department of Public Safety headquarters in Augusta today. When all votes were tallied by volunteer members of the public and overseen by the Secretary of State’s office, Ralph L. Tucker won over Jacqueline A. (Jackie) Sartoris, 432-442, the same result totals as calculated after the June 10th primary election.

Ralph L. Tucker of Brunswick

Ralph L. Tucker of Brunswick

Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap praised both candidates for their commitment to the process, and thanked Brunswick town clerk Fran Smith and her staff for an expertly-run election. “Both candidates were gratified by the process and the expertise of state elections officials, and given the clear due diligence shown by Brunswick town election officials, the recount was very smooth with no surprises,” said Dunlap.

Tucker, a retired Maine District Court judge, will now go up against Republican Mark Holbrook in November. House District 50, which includes portions of Brunswick, is an open seat as Rep. Charlie Priest is termed out.

Link here to his Tucker for House website and campaign Facebook page.

Tomorrow at 10 am comes the recount for Senate District 33 between incumbent State Senator John Tuttle and challenger Rep. Andrea M. Boland. Tuttle holds a 20 vote lead currently in that race.

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Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Video, Transcript)

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention (Speech as prepared)

      ADDRESS OF MATTHEW DUNLAP
      47TH AND 49TH MAINE SECRETARY OF STATE
      2014 MAINE DEMOCRATIC STATE PARTY CONVENTION
      BANGOR, MAINE

    Chairman Grant, Vice Chair Fenrich, Mr. Speaker and distinguished delegates to the 2014 Maine Democratic Party convention:

    My name is Matt Dunlap. I was born and raised in Bar Harbor, and I proudly live in Old Town, my home for the last 25 years. I am also Maine’s 49th Secretary of State, and it is my privilege to address you here today.

    Our party is the party of progress, of great ideas made manifest and strong ideals held dearly. We are the party of working families and small business; of family farms and small woodlots; of strong communities where we care not only about the success, prosperity and welfare of our next door neighbors, but justice, peace and prosperity for our neighbors around the world.

    We often speak of our party’s ideals in terms of high­ level goals and objectives that we strive to accomplish on the international, national, and statewide stage. You rarely hear from the constitutional officers—the Secretary of State, Attorney General, and State Treasurer, along with the State Auditor. That’s understandable, because to the untrained eye, the constitutional officers deal in boring, administrative minutiae. At least, that’s what it looks like when we’re doing our jobs well.

    There are the important, visible aspects of our work; the conduct of elections, ensuring consumer protection, choosing sound investments of our state’s financial assets, promoting highway safety, providing business services, the delivery of justice, preservation of our state’s public records, and the sound management required to pay our public bills and account to the public for them.

    There are, too, those facets of our work that are remarkable for what is missing.

    We do not file frivolous, politically­ biased lawsuits against the Federal government to get a bounce in the polls. We do not invent ghost stories about voter fraud and then use those fictions to frighten American citizens into canceling their legal voter registrations. We do not use our positions or the structures that support them to create fear or to divide our people against each other. We do not pander to our base of support; we do not make a mockery of our solemn, constitutional charge.

    Instead, we sit with grieving families who have lost loved ones in spite of our best efforts to ward off tragedy. We listen to people in states of desperation, even if we cannot help them. We help reunite citizens with the remnants of forgotten estates, we advise them when a business transaction has gone badly, and when it counts, we stand wherever the fight takes us, and we fight for our neighbors. The victories are sometimes small, and almost never make for good headlines. But that’s not why we do it.

    You see, I got into this business to help people. I know, as Janet, Neria and Pola do, that people sometimes make bad choices, and we sometimes help folks navigate the aftermath of those choices. Two years ago I stood on this stage and talked about the big picture that faced us as Democrats. Ultimately, although I lost at the polls, I won in a big way. I spoke with thousands of Mainers as I sought support for my campaign, and I heard their stories—many times tragic stories.

    I never heard a single complaint about the wrenching circumstances that faced them— all I heard was courage. Maine people are incredibly strong. I learned that people don’t choose cancer; they don’t choose mental illness; they don’t choose to lose their jobs; the important choices that they really made were to face their problems head on. And no, Governor LePage, people do not choose poverty.

    We don’t do our jobs because we have all the answers, and we don’t do them because of the fame and glory.

    We do these things because we’re Democrats. We do it because standing up and being counted is why we got into the business of politics in the first place; and because we believe in the power of people working together so much that we always put everything on the line for the people who have no other voice.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the convention: that is who we are, and that is what we do. I, for one, serve the people of Maine with pride, and thank you for the honor you bestow on me every day through the votes of the Legislature that installed me in the office of Secretary of State. I thank you for your work in securing a Democratic majority in the Legislature so that I can be here today; and with you and alongside you, I pledge my strong support and hard work in every minute of my spare time to insure that come November, we can renew that pledge to the people of Maine—that pledge to keep a trust, that we the people built this government to serve the public interest—and not the special interests. It is the pledge that we the people—the citizen legislators of Maine—take to uphold the Constitutions of our state and the United States; and to uphold the entire documents, not just the parts that suit our political needs of the day. And it is the pledge that we make to each other, here today and in all corners of this great state, that all we have is each other, and we will fight for everyone, regardless of their station in life, or their race, or where they come from, their sex, their sexual orientation, we will fight for freedom, we will fight for a better future, we will fight for justice, and we will stand for our ideals, and never give them up.

    Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the State of Maine and the United States of America.

DSC_0065

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2014 Maine Democratic Party Convention Videos: Day 2, 5/31/14 (Saturday)

Posted on June 2, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

(With this next batch, I will be setting videos with released prepared speeches individually as well. Please note that a request was made to the Cain campaign and as of this morning, there has been no response yet- if the text of her speech is forwarded, hers also will be set as a stand-alone post.)

1. Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Addresses 2014 ME Dem Convention

2. Attorney General Janet Mills Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

3. Androscoggin Chair Tom Reynolds Introduces Shenna Bellows for Senate at Convention

4. U.S. Senate Democratic Candidate Shenna Bellows Addresses Convention

5. Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston Introduces Emily Cain for Congress

6. Emily Cain for Congress Addresses Convention

7.Troy Jackson: Core Values” at 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

8. Rep. Diane Russell of Portland speaking in support of Troy Jackson for Congress

9. Sen. John Patrick of Rumford speaking in support of Troy Jackson for Congress

10. Troy Jackson for Congress Addresses 2014 Maine Democratic Convention

11. Mike Michaud for Governor at 2014 Maine Democratic Party Convention

12. Mike Michaud for Governor addresses convention

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Emerge Maine Honors 2013 Woman of the Year Janet Mills and Rising Star Heidi Brooks

Posted on June 25, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

June 20th was a special day, as Emerge Maine celebrated their 2013 Woman of the Year, Attorney General Janet Mills of Farmington, and 2013 Rising Star Dr. Heidi Brooks of Lewiston at a fete at Augusta’s Senator Inn.

Janet Mills and Heidi Brooks

Janet Mills and Heidi Brooks

Janet Mills, Maine’s current Attorney General, is nothing short of a living legend in Maine politics. She served 4 terms in the Maine House of Representatives before becoming the state’s first woman Attorney General in 2009 under Governor John Baldacci. She served as the Maine Democratic Party’s vice chair the past few years and resumed her former position as Maine’s Attorney General earlier year. A lifelong resident of her beloved Farmington, Mills is an alumna of UMass Boston and University of Maine School of Law. Janet is married to Stanley Kuklinski, with whom she has five stepdaughters and three grandsons.

This is the inaugural year for the Rising Star award. Its first recipient, Dr. Heidi Brooks of Lewiston, is a 2012 graduate of the Emerge Maine program, who in her capacity as a physician believes that healthcare is a basic human right and has seen firsthand the consequences of not providing healthcare early enough to prevent illness. To that end, Heidi currently volunteers as Co-Chair of Maine People’s Alliance Board and as Secretary of both the Maine Democratic State Committee and the Androscoggin County Democratic Committee. She was recently appointed to the Lewiston Community Development Block Grant Citizens Advisory Committee and elected to the local Head Start Board.

Emerge Maine is part of a national network, Emerge America, that is currently working in eleven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. Now in its twelfth year, Emerge Maine has graduated 120 Demcoratic women with 9 currently serving in the 126th Legislature, including freshmen lawmakers Katherine Cassidy, Mattie Daughtry, Sara Gideon, Catherine Nadeau and Lisa Villa.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap introduced his friend and the Woman of the Year honoree in a touching and hilarious address:

And then it was Janet’s turn, which was equally entertaining, as well as uplifting for all of those in attendance:

Past recipients of Emerge Maine Woman of the Year award include current Maine House of Representatives Clerk Millie MacFarland (2010), former Senate President/ Speaker of the House/ 2010 Maine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell (2011) and U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (2012).

(Many thanks to Peter Imber for allowing his photos to be used in this report. ~AP)

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