Entries Filed in 'Exclusive Interviews'

Congressman Mike Michaud: His passion to help people and his economic policies

July 25th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 41

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Back in 2005 the Federal Government’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission announced that there would be closures of military bases across the country. Maine was targeted at three major facilities: Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) and Defense Finance and Accounting Services Center (DFAS) in Limestone.

The State’s Congressional Delegation swung into action along with Gov. John Baldacci, and the communities effected. Press conferences and meetings were held at each threatened facility, sometimes one a day at each location, and Congressman Mike Michaud was at the majority of them, from promoting the attributes of workers in Limestone to rallying shipyard employees in Portsmouth. He fought for the workers and their communities in Portsmouth and BNAS in Maine and D.C., even though those bases were not in his congressional district.

After ten years of reporting on the Congressman’s activities, I’ve learned that there is nothing more important to him that making sure the people of Maine are treated fairly and have good paying jobs with healthcare benefits.

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Recently we talked about his economic development plans for Maine.

Q: What is your highest priority?


My biggest priority is building a Maine economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. That starts with job creation, but it also means an intense focus on education, starting with early childhood, and continuing through college; it means a higher minimum wage and expanded access to health care for nearly 70,000 Mainers, and 3,000 veterans; and it means empowering business to grow and expand.

Under Gov. LePage and his failed policies, Maine has lagged behind the rest of New England in private-sector job growth. His “open for business” policy is nothing but rhetoric. He’s actually driven hundreds of millions of dollars of private-sector investment out of the state.

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Congressman Michaud is making a difference for Veterans- Togas may become center of excellence

November 12th, 2013 · 1 Comment · Civil Rights, Community Maine, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 39, News from Washington, Public Safety

Congressman Michaud invited the Sec. of Veteran's Affairs, Ed Shinseki to Maine twice. And while the Sec. was here Michaud got changes made that will help Veterans. Congressman Michaud invited the Sec. of Veteran’s Affairs, Ed Shinseki to Maine twice. And while the Sec. was here Michaud got changes made that will help Veterans.

Congressman Mike Michaud is now serving as the ranking member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. On the committee, Michaud has been able to work successfully with Republicans, cutting through the current partisan climate in the nation’s capital.

Mike Michaud comforts a Vietnam Veteran who finally was recognized for his service. Photo By Ramona du Houx

Over the years, Michaud has been on the front lines of the fight in Congress to fund the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) at a level that begins to meet the needs of veterans. He helped pass historic legislation that provided the largest budget increases for the VA, expanded access to VA health care, improved health services for all veterans, and modernized benefits earned by servicemembers.

In addition, Michaud successfully passed provisions into law that led to increased access to healthcare services for rural Maine veterans. The state has new veterans’ care facilities and a mobile care unit because of the congressman. He also authored legislation creating a new program that provides support to veteran caregivers by offering them training and access to mental health counseling. Last year, Michaud worked to pass a bill improving long-term care for elderly and severely disabled veterans that are at state veterans’ homes.

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The new Speaker of the House, Mark Eves, stands up for the middle class

March 26th, 2013 · No Comments · Budgets, Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Economy, Education, Exclusive Interviews, Health Care, Issue 36

The new Speaker of the House Rep. Mark Eves in his office. Photo by Ramona du Houx

The new speaker of Maine’s House of Representatives is confident, articulate, energetic, and dedicated to improving the lives and livelihoods of the people of Maine. His adopted state has a special place in his heart, as he and his wife Laura have chosen to raise their three young children here, after relocating from Louisville, Kentucky, ten years ago. When not in Augusta, he is helping people resolve conflicts, as a marriage and family therapist, and serves as business development director for Sweetser, a statewide behavioral health-care organization for children, adults, and families.

Mark Eves holds a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Louisville.

He was first elected to the House in 2008. By 2010 Eves became the Democratic lead on the Health and Human Services Committee, where he negotiated to preserve funding for programs besieged by that two-year budget. He has a disarming manner, which helps to make him a strong negotiator, and he clearly is focused on fighting for Maine’s middle class.

Recently Speaker Eves sat down for a conversation about his new job.

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Sen. President Alfond working to grow economic development and education opportunities

March 26th, 2013 · No Comments · Budgets, Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Economy, Education, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 36

Senate President Justin Alfond at work his office in Augusta. Alfond is determined to improve education and health care, build the middle class, and spur economic development. Photo by Ramona du Houx

While I was waiting for an interview with Senator Justin Alfond, his office was buzzing with other lawmakers, advocates, and citizens trying to get a few minutes of his time. The secretary skillfully juggled his schedule to make sure everyone would see the 115th president of the Maine State Senate, and that’s exactly how Alfond likes it. He’s an accessible statesman, dedicated to the state he grew up in and loves deeply. Since being elected to the Senate in 2008, he has taken action to make sure his constituents’ needs are met. He also has an unwavering passion for improving public education.

When he’s not in Augusta, Alfond can usually be found in Portland, where he is co-owner of a successful bowling alley and restaurant, Bayside Bowl, which for many patrons also serves as a community center. Devoted to helping his community, Alfond saw the bowling alley as a catalyst for economic development, and he loves playing the game. Since Bayside Bowl’s opening, many other businesses have sprouted up on the Bayside peninsula, and the area’s redevelopment plans are moving ahead with momentum.

Alfond also has the distinction of being a former pro golfer, who won a match against — Tiger Woods. He lives in Portland with his wife, Rachael, and son, Jacoby.

Recently, we sat down and talked about his new responsibilities, about working with Gov. Paul LePage, and plans to grow Maine’s economic opportunities and improve public education.

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Legion of Honor recipient, Penobscot elder Charles Shay, recalls D-day and Chosin in new book

March 26th, 2013 · 2 Comments · Books, Community Maine, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 36

Charles Shay’s new book on his experiences during D-day and Chosin.

In 2007 Charles Norman Shay went to Washington, DC, to receive the Legion of Honor medal from French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The medal has joined the others bestowed on him, including a Silver Star and four bronze battle stars from World War II and the Korean War, in his home on the Penobscot Indian Island Reservation in Old Town, Maine. The young Army medic had been in the famed 1st Infantry Division that landed in the first wave on Omaha Beach, Normandy. During that D-day invasion, it’s estimated that up to 3,000 Allied troops died, and some 9,000 were injured or went missing. Shay repeatedly plunged into the treacherous sea and carried critically-wounded men to safety.

He does not recall how many men he pulled from the water while bullets were streaming past him. “We’ve all had our individual experiences, and none are more dramatic than the next,” said Shay, characteristically modest.

“You are a direct descendant of Chief Joseph Orono, who was an ally of George Washington during the independence war,” Sarkozy told Shay at the ceremony. “You are also the grandson of the French Jean-Vincent d’Abbadie, baron of Saint-Castin. And thus, the links that tie you to France hark back until the 17th century. In fact, you’ve been a Frenchman for far longer than I.”

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Maine Insights, Issue 34: Cultural shifts and progressions make Maine stronger

October 17th, 2012 · No Comments · Books, Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Economy, Editorials, Energy Issues, Environment, Exclusive Interviews, Health Care, Issue 34, Maine's green energy potential


Cultural shifts and progressions make Maine stronger

Spaghetti suppers to promote same sex marriage as an equal right

The Belfast Co-op — a lifestyle

A long overdue welcome home for Vietnam Veterans

Neil Rolde: a profile of a Maine Renaissance man


The first floating offshore wind turbine in the North Sea, built in Norway by Statiol. Now they wish to build them here.

Maine’s current energy policies create jobs for Maine businesses

Recent Wind Power Developments in Maine, with an Eye to History

A new report on Maine’s offshore wind potential

Tidal power online in Maine — milestone for America

Historic clean car standards — Maine led the way


‘Bridge-in-a-Backpack’ has approval from transportation officials

Connecting to the global economy with a high-speed Internet network

Pemaquid Point Cast in a New Light

Marine Scientist Explores Hidden Terrain

The RGGI program has made the state over $33 million


Gov. Baldacci in 2006 talking with paper company officials on how to help their company diversify by producing energy from waste, saving and making them money. photo by Ramona du Houx

Weakening Maine’s Renewable Portfolio Standard could see job losses

Tax rating doesn’t consider cost shifting that is increasing property taxes

Owner of Historic Arsenal in Augusta wants to continue with building-by-building renovation

Health insurance premiums rise for consumers and small businesses

125,000 Veterans & Military Spouses Hired through Joining Forces- Maine benefits with the program

Maine ballot to include $76 million in job-creation bonds

Gov. LePage Receives a “D” on Environmental Report Card – LePage fires back

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Maine Insights is a non-profit 501(c)4 corporation and an associate member of the Maine Press Association. Contributions to help support this publication — dedicated to growing Maine communities — are always needed and very appreciated. Please click here for a Paypal link. We look forward to continuing to serve you as we have for the past seven years! Thank you for your insights and support.


Neil Rolde: author, public servant, philanthropist, Renaissance man, and a gentleman

October 17th, 2012 · No Comments · Books, Capitol news, Community Maine, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 34, Neil Rolde

Neil Rolde, outside the Capitol in Augusta in 2011. Rolde’s been involved in state politics for over forty years, has written extensively about Maine, is a philanthropist, a Renaissance man, and a gentleman. photo by Ramona du Houx

“I always wanted to be a writer from the very start. When I was eight, I think, I said I wanted to go to Columbia Journalism School, and strangely enough I ended up there,” said Neil Rolde, who is a prize-winning historian, prolific Maine writer, philanthropist, community activist, Renaissance man, former Maine State Representative, political activist and theorist.

Most of Rolde’s 15 books involve the history of Maine — the state he loves deeply — and its people. With his wealth of historical knowledge about politics, the author recently has turned his skill and wit to highlighting political incidents that happen today in a historical context. The results are thought-provoking blog narratives that strike the cord of humanity in us all.

The last blog in his History in Today’s Politics series is entitled: “LePage’s Research and Development Bond Veto Says, ‘High Tech Industries Keep Out.’”

“History is an amazing thing and teaches us all something, if we give it time,” said Rolde. “What happens today has happened — in a different incarnation — in the past. Giving today’s events a historical context can allow us to understand them better.”

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Marine Scientist Explores Hidden Terrain

October 16th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Business & Innovation, Education, Environment, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 34

“In some ways we know more about the surface of other planets than we do about our own planet,” said Beth Orcutt in the new Bigelow Laboratory. Photo by Emily du Houx

Beth Orcutt is interested in things few of us can see. Most scientists working at Bigelow Laboratories can claim somewhat similar interests, since they spend their days poring over the genetic makeup of marine viruses, the habits of iron-oxidizing bacteria, or temperature fluctuations in sea water.

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Seth Wescott unveils his secret to winning Olympic gold

June 5th, 2012 · No Comments · Arts & Entertainment, Community Maine, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 33

Two time Olympic Gold winner, Seth Wescott after he took a run down Sugarloaf Mountain, behind him, to be welcomed home by his community. photo by Ramona du Houx

“I really believe there is a flow to everything in life,” said Seth Wescott during an interview at The Rack, the restaurant he co-owns, at the foot of Sugarloaf USA.

At the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, Seth Wescott made history as the first American winter athlete to defend a gold medal on snow, when he won Olympic gold for the second time in snowboard cross. Wescott, who started off the race in fourth place, gradually advanced throughout the field until the end, when he narrowly defeated Mike Robertson on the final jump. During that race something incredible happened to the Olympian.

A serene, confident Wescott reflected on that time and other moments in his career, when he had felt completely at one with nature.

“I had a ‘moment’ for ten seconds during that race. Even though I was in a competitive venue — and a manmade format — I felt I was communing with nature in that moment,” said Wescott. “I’ve had that type of experience other times in my career, where you lose certain senses you don’t need to accomplish the goal, and other senses become much more keen. Only the sense that I need to be enhanced takes over.”

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House Democratic leader, Rep. Cain, candidly talks about the Gov. LePage ideology that hurts Mainers

April 19th, 2012 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Civil Rights, Community Maine, Economy, Education, Exclusive Interviews, Healthy Lifestyles, Issue 33, State Representatives

Rep. Emily Cain, Maine's Democratic Minority Leader in the state House of Representatives. photo by Ramona du Houx

Maine’s House Minority Leader, Rep. Emily Cain, sat down for an interview about this session. Cain is the spokesperson for democrats in the House of Representatives and since the LePage administration has moved in her public role has increased. Young, energetic, quick witted and intelligent she handles tense situations with ease and grace. She never backs down from her principles and has a clear understanding how to move Maine forward economically while maintaining Maine’s quality of life, Having severed on the Appropriations and Education Committees she brings unique insights to her job which helps during negotiations.

This session has been dominated by Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed cuts that would result in people losing health care. When did this all start?

Before we even arrived back in session, long before Christmas, the Appropriations Committee had held hearings on his supplemental budget that made $220 million in cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services.

First the governor tried to blame “too many people being on the program.” Then he blamed the federal government. He wouldn’t take responsibility for errors within DHHS — these were errors within his own administration — for why that cash-flow problem happened.

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