Entries Filed in 'State Representatives'
By State Senator Colleen Lachowicz, representing Senate District 25.
With the second session of the 126th Legislature now behind us, I want to give you an update on some of what we accomplished this year and where there is still work to be done. While Governor LePage’s obstructionism threatened our progress at times, ultimately the Legislature came together to pass sound policies that will have far reaching benefits for the people of Maine.
This year, I fought hard to ensure that children with autism spectrum disorder receive the care and treatment they need. As a licensed Clinical Social Worker I have worked in the mental health field for more than 25 years and have witnessed the dramatic rise in the incidence of autism and the impact it has had on Maine families.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has named Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the fastest growing developmental disability in the United States, with one in 68 children now identified with the disorder. In fact, Maine is now the state with the third highest rate of autism prevalence in the country.
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By State Senator Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic
Maine is a special place. Whether you’re a native Mainer, you moved here, or you’re vacationing here, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. Our natural resources—from our lakes and oceans to our rolling hills and mountains—it’s easy to see why people want to live, work, and play here in Maine. But there’s one thing that makes Maine truly special.
Mainers are known for our hard work; our creativity; and our determination. Perhaps it goes back to our Yankee roots. But regardless, whether you live in the smallest of Maine villages or in our state’s largest city, entrepreneurs can be found in every corner of our state. They include artisans, farmers, engineers, designers, inventors, microbrewers, creative crafters, and ambitious Main Street retailers.
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Troy Jackson, running for U.S. Congress in Maine, began breaking away from his scripted speech to the Democratic Convention in Bangor by reaching out to his community to tell them he feels what they are going through. That day a mother was killed, a victim of domestic violence. Jackson’s voice wavered with emotion.
Jackson stated what Democrats stand for by standing up to corporate interests and standing with working people.
Then State Senator Troy Jackson told his personal story of life in poverty in rural Maine. It was emotional and all too real. In short his speech brought home why he intends to fight for working class folks in Maine by increasing the minimum wage and helping to create job opportunities. He said he would be a fighter in Congress because he understands what people are going through, now.
“I’m running because of income inequality, poverty, unfairness, corporate greed and political cowardice. I’ve known these things my entire life. And I have watched them wreck communities and tear people’s lives and their families apart. And during those cold nights in that small shack along the river, I never would’ve thought that one day I’d have the opportunity to do something about it. And if I am lucky enough to pull this off, I damn sure intend to,” said Troy Jackson.
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Tags: Elections in Maine
Maine State Capitol, photo by Ramona du Houx
By Rep. Farnsworth- the House chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee
What can a million dollars get the state of Maine? Well, if you’re Governor Paul LePage the answer is a whole lot of talking points from a Tea Party ally for the campaign trail – but nothing that actually helps Maine people.
You may have already heard about the controversial Alexander Group. This Rhode Island firm is led by the former head of the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare, Gary Alexander. Under his mismanagement, Pennsylvania lost $7 million in the consolidation of home care worker contracts. Mr. Alexander also cut off health care for 89,000 children – including kids with life-threatening illnesses who were mistakenly deemed ineligible.
Those things alone should have been huge red flags. But the governor secretly awarded the Alexander Group a $925,000 no-bid contract to study health care expansion and anti-poverty programs.
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Ann Dorney, D-Norridgewock, (center), with Kenney Miller, co-founder of the Maine Harm Reduction Alliance, and Jayne Harper, program coordinator for MaineGeneral Harm Reduction, after receiving this year’s Harm Reduction Heroes award. Dorney, and Rep. Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, were honored for their work to expand access to the overdose reversal medication naloxone.
Reps. Sara Gideon and Ann Dorney are being honored as this year’s Harm Reduction Heroes for their work to expand access to naloxone and other efforts to improve the health and well-being of Mainers with substance addiction issues.
Gideon, D-Freeport, and Dorney, D-Norridgewock, were presented with the awards at the second annual Maine Harm Reduction Conference. The event was held at Kaplan University on Wednesday.
“It’s been humbling to be part of the policy portion of the solution. To me, the heroes are the people at this conference, the ones who work on the front lines every day,” Gideon said. “They are the ones who inspire the lawmakers to keep fighting and who help us understand that addiction is a problem that can strike any Maine family.”
Under a new law proposed by Gideon, first-responders and family members of drug users will be able to carry and administer naloxone, also known by its brand name Narcan. Dorney was a co-sponsor of the bill and was the lead sponsor of a separate naloxone bill last year.
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Tags: Drug overdose·drug treatment in Maine
By State Senator Colleen Lachowicz of Waterville.
One of the reasons I ran for the State Senate is to help our seniors. And I’m especially proud to be a member of the state’s Health and Human Services Committee where we spent much of our time troubleshooting challenges facing our aging population. And so as a first term lawmaker, you can imagine my surprise when I heard that the governor was falsely accusing Democrats of failing to fund our nursing homes.
When I first heard that Governor LePage flipped the script and blamed Democrats for not doing enough to help our seniors, I scratched my head…figuring Governor LePage forgot about all that the Democrats and the Legislature did this session to help our seniors, including a big bump in funding for Maine’s nursing homes.
I also wondered if Governor LePage remembered that a bill, sponsored by my colleague Democratic State Senator Margaret Craven, increased funding to our nursing homes by $12 million starting in just six weeks on July 1st. I figured he also forgot about the bipartisan, nearly unanimous budget that allocated $10 million—with a federal match of more than $16 million— for our nursing homes for the next two years. Governor LePage vetoed that bill too.
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By House Majority Leader Seth Berry of Bowdoinham
182. That’s the number of vetoes Governor Paul LePage has issued since he took office. The number isn’t just excessive, it’s unprecedented.
The governor’s veto spree hit bipartisan, commonsense measures that would help small businesses, veterans, women, children and farmers and fishermen across our state. Instead of working with lawmakers from both parties, he has taken a “my-way-or-the highway” approach that hurts our state.
The governor’s veto spree may make for good editorial cartoons and water cooler conversation, but it’s no way to run a government. Leaders shouldn’t use our difference of opinion as an excuse to stop things from getting done – especially when Maine’s economy is struggling.
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Tags: Gov. LePage's vetos
By Rep. Seth Berry
Maine must seize every opportunity to invest in our prosperity. At this time, we’re far behind in the vital area of research and development, which we need to grow innovative businesses that create the jobs of tomorrow.Democratic and Republican lawmakers need to come together for the long-term health of our economy. And we need Governor Paul LePage to join the effort.
Maine is 45th in the nation in research and development investment. We put only about 1 percent of our gross domestic product into R&D, rather than the 3 percent recommended by the Maine Economic Growth Council.We’re way behind other parts of the country. We invest at only half the level of the nation as a whole and not even at one-quarter of New England’s rate.
Yet we know that every dollar of state R&D investment returns $12 in economic benefits to Maine.
R&D is good for business, but so far the governor has rejected it. Last year, he vetoed an R&D bond passed by a Republican Legislature. This year, he prevented a similar bond from being included on this November’s ballot.
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Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic defeated former state senator Paula Benoit in the special election for Senate District 19, which includes Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden in Lincoln County.
Preliminary results show Vitelli is leading with 4,621 votes to Benoit’s 4,335 votes with all towns reporting.
“I am humbled and thrilled by tonight’s win. I am thankful to the folks in our community who took the time to turn out and vote and to the dedicated team of volunteers who tirelessly worked to get our message out,” said Eloise Vitelli. “I look forward to beginning my service in the State Senate, where I will be committed to helping workers and businesses by creating a level playing field for all Maine people to have good jobs and succeed.”
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Tags: Democratic election win in Maine
The members of the largest union at Bath Iron Works have endorsed Eloise Vitelli for State Senate in the upcoming special election in Senate District 19.
The IAMAW Local S-6 represents shipbuilders and maintenance workers in 28 different trades at BIW.
“Our members work hard every day to provide for their families and the security of our country. They both deserve and demand leaders in Augusta who are committed to protecting and strengthening the rights of workers and improving Maine’s economy. Eloise Vitelli will do just that,” said Dan Dowling, President of Machinists Local S6 and an electrician at Bath Iron Works.
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