Governor LePage’s Mulligan

Posted on July 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

paul jebOriginally posted Jun 27 and now bumped back to top, as news has come out tonight that Maine’s self-proclaimed “blue collar” Governor Paul LePage, who last week denounced the state’s “country club Legislature” and said that he would be discussing options with his family regarding whether or not to run for re-election, announced before a hundred supporters at the posh Jeb Bush hosted, up to $3k per couple Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport fundraiser that he is indeed running for re-election in 2014.

(Video link here, as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow a few weeks’ ago had something to say regarding Jeb Bush’s decision to hold this fundraiser. She also took the matter up again on this evening’s show.)

It should be noted that the task of informing the world of this decision came not by press release nor traditional local Maine media, but rather fell to State Senator Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) to deliver the news second-hand to the world, as Maine’s most transparent Governor instructed his senior political advisor Brent Littlefield to issue the following reminding email to Maine media late this afternoon:

    “Just a quick email reminder that tonight’s LePage event in Kennebunkport is closed press.

    There are no press avails before or after the event.

    Brent Littlefield, Senior Political Adviser to Governor LePage”

augusta cc

    mul·li·gan
    /ˈməligən/
    Noun

    1. A stew made from odds and ends of food.

    2. (in informal golf) An extra stroke allowed after a poor shot, not counted on the scorecard.

—–

UPDATED with earlier portion of the press conference that I missed; many thanks to PPH’s Steve Mistler.

UPDATE x2: Friday’s Portland Press Herald is chock-full of scathing missives today in Letters to the Editor: Governor disrespects people he serves.

—–

Yesterday after the House (114-34) and Senate (26-9) delivered crushing blows to Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1509, the FY 14-15 fiscal budget bill and in doing so avoided the first statewide government shutdown in over twenty years, the governor held a press conference in which he was a far, far more subdued man than just last week:

Via Steve Mistler, this earlier portion of the press conference:

    “I’m very disappointed on this budget. Until we start understanding what makes an economy drive and why the southeast and the southwest and the Atlantic states have such good economies, until we emulate some of their behaviors we are not going to be anywheres but 50th place in the country for doing business.”

    “It’s a real sad day for the state of Maine. We took, I thought, with the 125th Legislature, that we took two steps forward for the state. Today, I think we took three steps back. I really feel bad for today.”

While admittedly not a complete version of the Governor’s press conference (full audio here), the above was almost 15 minutes’ worth of it and many of Maine’s various media were in attendance, including reporters from formerly access denied Portland Press Herald:

    In an impromptu news conference right after Wednesday’s final override vote in the Senate, LePage reacted calmly, but strongly. He criticized Republicans and Democrats alike for a plan that “solidified our place as the 50th worst place to do business for the foreseeable future.”

    He said the Legislature is a “country club” where lawmakers are more interested in getting along with each other than with him.

Paul LePageAs Lewiston Sun Journal reported, LePage said he was considering his options:

    LePage said he would be consulting more with his family before deciding whether he would seek a second term as governor.

    I am going to be meeting with my family at some point and we are going to be talking it over,”
    LePage said. “Quite frankly, I don’t know how you recover from this. I really don’t know how you recover from a tax increase. This is a giant obstacle. It’s like having a giant hole in the bottom of your ship and you are trying to get across the pond.”

During the press conference, the Governor repeatedly called his originally submitted budget “a good budget” (so good that the silence from his caucus’ after the State of the State address was deafening) and repeatedly backtracked on his 2009 stance regarding revenue sharing.

To review the clip of 2009 Waterville Mayor Paul LePage denouncing revenue sharing cuts to his then-city:

LePage was critical of the Democrats in leadership who would not talk to him about the budget, again called out the Appropriations Committee for not allowing him to speak on mic, in particular the Republicans on the committee and then called out House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) as “having not been around” to talk with or had been “unwilling to talk to me”, that the Republican Party is not a strong one currently in Maine, and was unaware that the energy omnibus bill that he had vetoed had been overturned in the House and heading for the Senate.

It needs to be noted that while many communities denounced the Governor’s budget, not a single one even attempted to pass a resolution supporting LePage, a point raised by Senate President Justin Alfond (D-Cumberland) during this week’s Democratic leadership media availability event.

But apparently the coverage was not sufficient for the Governor, as he decided to declare yesterday’s disaster a “mulligan” and try again to explain himself to the Maine people, today going before the camera once more, with his office releasing the following footage this afternoon.

Roll the clip:

From the accompanying press release:

    Governor Paul R. LePage speaks out about why he could not support the Legislature’s budget, which included tax increases, in a new video released by the Office of the Governor.

    In the five-minute video, the Governor shares his thoughts about how higher taxes will affect Mainers and condemns decreased funding to programs like Jobs for Maine Graduates.

    In the video, he notes that tax increases will have a devastating effect on the elderly and Mainers who live within their own budgets. Sales, meals and lodging taxes will be increased to fund the state budget.

      “Retired mill workers living on fixed incomes; elderly widows collecting Social Security; and our veterans, who receive nothing more than their military pension—each of them care about this tax increase,” Governor LePage said.

      “We are already one of the highest taxed states in the nation. We have some of the lowest per capita income in the country. Now is not the time to ask Mainers to give more to fund government… For some legislators, it was more important to count votes and reject my proposals than do what is right for our citizens.”

      “Maine people deserve a considered, reasoned debate, and they will hold legislators responsible for their decisions… It is time to look past the next election and look forward to the next generation.”

    This sort of passive-aggressive communication by Maine’s Chief Executive brings back memories of the inexplicable and strange video released in last January, as former CBS reporter now LePage staffer Adrienne Bennett displayed a remarkable lack of journalistic integrity by “interviewing” the governor:

    Harder thrown pitches than these can be seen at a playground Whiffle ball game… Now, I love a good train wreck sort of news story as much as the next person, but this is just getting sad.

    In his opening statement, The Governor claims “not to be a politician and be a blue collar governor”. Gotta call a 1 stroke penalty for this one!

      Ann LePage:“He was what my dad always called a ‘white collar. My dad said, ‘Ann, for god’s sake, he’s a white collar. He doesn’t know how to work.’”

    LePage garners another stroke regarding the claims that the sales tax on meals and lodging will affect Maine businesses. Watch this from Rep. Jethro Pease (R-Morrill) from yesterday:

    Rep. Kim Monaghan-Derrig (D-Cape Elizabeth) agreed:

    And it goes downhill from there, enough so that Bangor Daily News shared Governor LePage’s “Mulligan” as part of a larger piece, asking “Does Governor LePage Still Matter?”

    Ouch.

    Then there is this: “Gov. LePage’s recent actions cry out for an intervention”.

    And this in the PPH. Maine Voices: Assistant GOP leader: Governor’s behavior sets unfortunate tone in Augusta
    .

    That one by Senate Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) even made it into the Washington Post: Top Maine Republican legislator: ‘I am embarrassed’ by LePage.

    Heh. Wonder how Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) feels about that (“Top Republican”) interesting mistype?

    An argument could possibly be made that the Governor sees himself as having a “Tin Cup” moment, but the reality here is indeed something entirely different.

    Time to sign your card and call it a day, Governor…

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )

Mainers Reach Out to Senators Collins and Snowe on Tax Fairness, Fiscal Cliff, Proposed Cuts to Safety Net Programs

Posted on December 3, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

obama snoweWhile President Obama and Congressional leaders negotiate possible solutions to averting the fiscal cliff scernario, Maine citizens are taking matters into their own hands by contacting Senator Susan Collins, out-bound Senator Olympia Snowe and Senator-elect Angus King. Neither Snowe nor Collins has yet signaled a willingness to end Bush tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 a year, a step that would raise over a trillion a year. Those cuts are due to expire at the end of this year.

According to a new report released by the AFL-CIO, 299,875 Mainers could be negatively impacted if Congress attempts cuts to Social Security, including 55,525 people with disabilities and 24,150 children. Of the 358,004 Mainers who get their health care coverage from Medicaid, 130,862 children and 60,768 seniors could be affected if the lame duck Congress makes cuts to Medicaid benefits. If the Bush tax cuts are renewed, the richest 2% in Maine would receive an average of $27,230 in tax cuts, while workers would receive an average of $1,200. The 2012 House Republican budget plan would cut federal support to Maine’s Medicaid program by at least $6.2 billion over 10 years, further throwing the numbers reported last week to the state’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee into chaos.

(Sidenote: As of today, it is being reported that the budget may not have a $100 million shortfall, but rather be twice as large a deficit.)

Last week volunteers with the Maine People’s Alliance, as part of the organization’s “Fair Share” initiative efforts, visited the senators’ Augusta offices to urge them to support President Obama’s plan to end the Bush-era tax breaks for individuals who make over $250,000 a year. Staffers were presented with copies of more than 50 letters and editorials recently published in Maine newspapers. The letters “serve as a reminder that a strong majority of Mainers support ending tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy as a way to avert the budget showdown in Washington”, per MPA.

sukeRachel Sukeforth of Litchfield, one of those making the deliveries, saw this consensus first hand as she campaigned for the State House of Representatives over the past year. Last week, a recount showed she had come up only four votes short against a Republican incumbent in a conservative district (HD 80).

“I want Senators Snowe and Collins to know that I just don’t see why, when so many working Mainers like myself and my family are struggling to make ends meet, that our tax rates are being held hostage to protect the incomes of a tiny sliver of very wealthy people,” said Sukeforth.

IMG_0724A recent poll conducted by the Maine People’s Resource Center found that not only did Mainers support tax fairness, but 55.3% of voters believed that increasing taxes on the wealthy would help the economy. Only 29.2% percent thought it would hurt the economy.

“We want to make sure that Senators Snowe and Collins realize that their constituents are watching the budget negotiations in Washington very closely and have been speaking out on this issue for months,” said MPA organizer Jonathan Hillier. “A strong majority of Americans and Mainers have made it very clear that they would rather see tax rates for the wealthy return to Clinton-era levels than see deep cuts to important programs like Medicare and Social Security.”

The Maine People’s Alliance is also launching an online postcard campaign to continue the drumbeat of support for tax fairness.

collins obamaResponding to her constituents’ strong desire to speak to her, Senator Collins has authorized her staff to hold statewide local constituent service hours in all of Maine’s 16 counties tomorrow, in addition to her regularly maintained six state offices (in Caribou, Bangor, Augusta, Lewiston, Portland, and Biddeford). A staff member will be available to provide assistance with federal issues and agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Internal Revenue Service. No appointment is necessary and all conversations are strictly confidential.

“It can be incredibly frustrating for people to try and navigate the often muddy waters of federal regulations, and each year thousands of Mainers turn to the talented staff in my state offices for help,” said Senator Collins. “Constituent service is incredibly important to me, and I’m proud of my state office staff, which acts as an important liaison between federal agencies and the people of our state. They understand the cares and concerns of the local areas in which they work because that is also where they live, and they have the expertise to investigate and resolve problems.”

The locations and hours:

    Androscoggin County
    Turner Town Office
    11 Turner Center Road, Turner
    10:00-11:30 AM

    Aroostook County
    Ashland Town Office
    17 Bridgham Street, Ashland
    9:30 – 10:30 AM

    Cumberland County (four locations)
    Falmouth Town Office
    271 Falmouth Road, Falmouth
    10:00-11:00 AM

    Cumberland Town Office
    290 Tuttle Road, Cumberland
    11:30 AM-12:30 PM

    South Portland City Hall
    25 Cottage Road, South Portland
    1:30 PM-3:00 PM

    Cape Elizabeth Town Hall
    320 Ocean House Road, Cape Elizabeth
    3:30 PM-4:30 PM

    Franklin County
    Wilton Town Office
    158 Weld Road, Wilton
    12:30-2:00pm

    Hancock County
    Lamoine Town Office
    686 Douglas Highway, Lamoine
    9:30-11:00 AM

    Kennebec County
    Winthrop Town Office
    17 Highland Avenue, Winthrop
    10:30-11:30 AM

    Knox County
    Camden Town Office
    29 Elm Street, Conference Room
    Camden
    1:00 – 3:00 PM

    Lincoln County
    Newcastle Town Office
    4 Pump Street, Newcastle
    3:30-4:30 PM

    Oxford County
    Norway Town Office
    19 Danforth Street, Norway
    3:00-4:30 PM

    Penobscot County
    Millinocket Town Office
    197 Penobscot Avenue, Millinocket
    10:00-11:30 AM

    Piscataquis County
    Greenville Town Office
    7 Minden Street, Greenville
    10:00-11:30 AM

    Sagadahoc County
    Topsham Town Office
    100 Main Street, 2nd Floor Conference Room
    Topsham
    1:30-2:30 PM

    Somerset County
    Norridgewock Town Office
    16 Perkins Street, Norridgewock
    8:30-9:30 AM

    Waldo County
    Belfast City Hall
    131 Church Street, Belfast
    1:30 – 3:00 PM

    Washington County

    Danforth Town Office
    18 Central Street, Danforth
    9:30 – 10:30 AM

    York County (2 Locations)
    Arundel Fire Department
    468 Limerick Road, Arundel
    12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

    Berwick Town Hall
    11 Square Street, Berwick
    12:00 PM – 1:30 PM

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: LIHEAP An Important Safety Net for Maine’s Most Vulnerable Citizens

Posted on December 1, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

lepage officeOnce again, we are heating our homes and with oil prices at nearly $4 dollars per gallon, many families find themselves struggling to make ends meet.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

I have spoken recently about energy costs. Today, I will continue that theme, but instead of addressing the energy industry, I want to talk with you about Maine’s most vulnerable making it through the winter.

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, “LIHEAP,” is a federal program to help low-income people pay their energy bills. The Maine State Housing Authority administers this program through contracts with the state’s Community Action Program Agencies (often called CAPS) and involves about 450 fuel vendors, mostly oil dealers, to deliver fuel to the program’s participants.

This is an important program. This safety net keeps many of Maine’s elderly and people living with disabilities and low-income families warmer in their homes through the winter. Without this program, many of these people would suffer needlessly from extreme cold or be forced out of their homes.

I appreciate Senator Snowe’s vigilance in advocating for LIHEAP funding at the federal level. Maine received $34.9 million in LIHEAP funding in November. This represents 90 percent of our total expected funding for this winter. The federal government has held the other 10 percent back in case of sequestration.

My administration is working closely with the Maine State Housing Authority and Efficiency Maine Trust to develop a comprehensive plan to minimize the impact on Maine’s most vulnerable households. In addition to direct heating assistance, these agencies will provide a limited amount of funds for furnace repair and home weatherization, particularly homes heated with electricity.

Unfortunately, the amount of federal funding is likely to stay at a lower level than in previous years. Due to our state’s own fiscal crisis, the State of Maine cannot make up the loss. However, we can make the most of these vital funds to assist the most needy by good planning and efficient deployment of our resources.

My administration, alongside Maine State Housing Authority, has created an energy plan that ensures the highest benefit to those with the lowest incomes and highest heating needs.

Conservation activities are also an important part of our efforts. Maine’s housing stock is the sixth oldest in the nation. Many of our homes lack sufficient insulation and have outdated heating systems. Weatherization efforts help address these challenges and conserve fuel, in turn making the most of our limited funds. However, the state cannot weatherize every home that needs it. This is why volunteer and charitable efforts such as Keep Maine Warm are critical partners in this effort.

Your personal generosity of both your time and donations to local weatherization efforts and fuel assistance programs can help ease the burden.

As we prepare for the holidays and the winter ahead, take a few moments to help another family prepare as well. Small efforts can mean big savings, and everyone benefits.

Lastly, I want to share with you a resource that all Mainers in need of heating assistance can use. The telephone number is 2-1-1. Local resources are available and if you don’t know what they are this is a good place to start. Again the number is 2-1-1.

Nobody should be left out in the cold this season. As Governor, I will do everything in my power to help protect our most vulnerable.

Thank you.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

(VIDEO) Senator Olympia Snowe: “Rome Is Burning”

Posted on October 23, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

(I do so love the TiVo feature, as to be able to go back and capture moments like this.)

MSBNC’s “Politics Nation” with Reverend Al Sharpton lambastes Senator Olympia Snowe (R-ME) , who spoke out harshly regarding people wanting help in America, then 2 days later voted against President Obama’s jobs bill.

Segment entitled: “The Real Class Warfare”; aired 21 Oct 2011.

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Senators Snowe, Collins Issue Statements Regarding End of Iraq War

Posted on October 21, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |


Sen. Olympia Snowe

“After eight and a half years, the time has come for Iraqis to take over.  As a senior member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, I will continue to monitor the situation and press Administration officials to provide greater detail on the President’s plans to maintain what is an indispensable working partnership with the Iraqi government in this key strategic region.  But, protecting our men and women in uniform must be priority number one – and we simply cannot put troops in harm’s way without a rock-solid security agreement that includes immunity for our service members.”Like all Americans, I am inexpressibly proud of the monumental and heroic work our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines have accomplished each and every day over the past eight and a half years.  At this moment we also solemnly reflect, with heavy hearts and unbounded gratitude, upon the unimaginable sacrifice of those brave Mainers and Americans who have lost their lives during this conflict, as well as all those who have been wounded and whose lives have been forever altered as they selflessly placed their nation’s call to duty above the tremendous risks they faced day in and day out.  All of our men and women in uniform, our fallen service members, and their families will forever remain in our hearts.”

Sen. Susan Collins:

 

“Given the failure of the Iraqi government to agree on a new status of forces agreement that would provide essential legal protections to U.S. troops, I believe the President has made the right decision in withdrawing our troops.”I have never supported an open-ended and unconditional commitment of U.S. troops in Iraq. However, I do remain concerned that many U.S. military officials have repeatedly said that they believe a residual force of U.S. troops might have to remain in order to continue training Iraqi troops to help ensure that the significant gains we have made there, at great cost to American blood and treasure, are not lost.”

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: