Entries Filed in 'News from Washington'

$450,000 in federal grants for Houlton and Carrabassett airports

June 25th, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington, Transportation

The Houlton International Airport and the Sugarloaf Regional Airport are receiving a total of $450,000 in operations and environmental assessment grants. The Federal Aviation Administration is providing $300,000 to Houlton and $150,000 to Carrabassett to assist in the development of new infrastructure at each airport.

“I commend the FAA for providing this essential funding to the Houlton and Sugarloaf airports so they can undertake these needed planning and infrastructure improvement projects,” said Rep Mike Michaud. “These investments ultimately promote air travel across Maine by ensuring that our airports have the resources needed to operate effectively, efficiently, and in an environmentally friendly way.”

Houlton’s grant will fund the construction of a 3,375 square foot snow removal equipment building for protection from adverse weather conditions. In Carrabassett, the funding will be used for an environmental assessment study which will evaluate the environmental and economic impacts related to proposed terminal area improvements.

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Adam Cote awarded Bronze Star Medal for service in Afghanistan

June 22nd, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington, World News

Captan Adam Cote received the Bronze Star.

Captan Adam Cote received the Bronze Star.

The Maine Army National Guard’s 133rd Engineering Battalion announced today that Captain Adam Cote, a Sanford native, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his service in Afghanistan. Cote deployed to Afghanistan last September and is due to return home in the next couple weeks.

During the first four months of the deployment, Cote served as Company Commander for the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 133rd Engineer Battalion. For the final five months of the deployment, Cote was chosen to be the Company Commander of the 150th Engineer Company. The 150th is a horizontal construction engineering company of approximately 150 Soldiers who fell under the command of Maine’s 133rd Engineer Battalion throughout the duration of the deployment.

“I hand-picked Captain Cote to lead the 150th because of his leadership skills and his ability to get things done,” said Lieutenant Colonel Dean Preston, Commander of the 133rd Engineer Battalion. “He had an enormous amount of responsibility throughout our time here in Afghanistan, yet he rose to the challenge and performed incredibly well. He is truly deserving of this very prestigious award.”

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Congressman Michaud appointed as VA Reform Bill Conferee

June 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, News from Washington

Congressman Mike Michaud

Congressman Mike Michaud

U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, Ranking Member on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, was appointed today to serve on the conference panel of House and Senate lawmakers tasked with finalizing legislation to address the systemic shortcomings within the VA healthcare system. The panel consists of six Democrats and eight Republicans.

“Serving our nation’s veterans has been the highest honor of my career in public service, and now we must all come together – Republicans and Democrats alike – to roll up our sleeves and finalize a legislative package that best meets the urgent needs of the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation,” said Michaud. “We have a serious task ahead of us, but I am confident that all of us share the common goal of ensuring our veterans receive the dignity, respect and care they have more than earned through their unrelenting service to our country. I look forward to working with my colleagues in finalizing a legislative package that substantively addresses the systemic failures plaguing our VA system, puts an infrastructure in place so that they never recur, and lay out a road map for how our VA can deliver high-quality, timely, convenient care to every single veteran it serves moving forward.”

Michaud has voted for a number of bipartisan bills aimed at strengthening accountability and improving performance within the VA. Michaud supported H.R. 4031, bipartisan legislation that would make it easier to remove poorly performing VA executives; as well as H.R. 4810, which would make it easier for veterans not receiving timely care within the VA to get access to non-VA care.

Michaud also has called on President Obama to enact key provisions from his own legislation, H.R. 4399, via executive order. Michaud’s legislation would not only hold an even larger swath of VA executives accountable for performance, but it would establish patient goals and outcomes for ensuring veterans are receiving quality care.

In addition to legislative action, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee is continuing to hold a series of oversight hearings into the matter. In fact, the committee has held more than 90 hearings this past Congress – more than 50 of which involved oversight.

The Senate passed VA reform legislation last week. Michaud and his other conferees will now work on reconciling a final bill for approval before heading to the President’s desk for signature into law.

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Congressman Michaud’s ARCH, Veteran’s healthcare program, highlighted in latest VA hearing

June 18th, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington

Congressman Mike Michaud in D.C. photo by Ramona du Houx

Kris Doody, CEO of Cary Medical Center in Caribou, appeared before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee today to update lawmakers on the successes of Project ARCH and the need to secure an extension to fund the program that provides healthcare to veterans who live in northern Maine.

Congressman Mike Michaud included the program in a 2008 bill he helped pass, bringing ARCH to Maine and providing high-quality healthcare to veterans in or near their local communities. For many veterans in northern Maine, it’s a nearly 600 mile round-trip journey to Augusta.

“I was pleased that Kris Doody had the opportunity to join our committee today and share the successes of the ARCH program with Members of Congress. I firmly believe that Project ARCH can offer us insightful guidance as we look for national solutions to the VA crisis,” said Michaud. “I’m proud of Project ARCH, and I continue to hear from so many veterans all across The County who have been able to receive high-quality medical care, close to the comforts of their family and friends, because of ARCH. I won’t stop working until the VA commits to officially extending this critical program.”

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Over $1.5 million from USDA to assist with critical upgrades to rural healthcare in Maine communities

June 18th, 2014 · No Comments · Healthy Lifestyles, News from Washington

USDA announces over $1.5 million to assist with critical upgrades to rural healthcare in Maine communities.

“I am pleased USDA Rural Development can contribute to rural healthcare upgrades in a substantial way, through helping to provide a new healthcare facility and a brand new lifesaving ambulance for Maine residents in these two very rural areas of Maine,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.

Danforth Habilitation Association, in Danforth, has been selected to receive a Community Facility Guaranteed Loan in the amount of $1,372,724 to construct a new Intermediate Care Facility in Danforth, replacing the older facility. Danforth Habilitation Association provides 24/7 licensed nursing supervision of coordinated health treatment and rehabilitative services to individuals diagnosed with intellectual disabilities.

Anson Madison Starks Emergency Services, in Madison, has been selected to receive a total of $161,800 (a Community Facility Direct Loan of $132,000, and a Rural Economic Impact Initiative Grant of $29,800). Funds will be used to purchase a new ambulance. The existing ambulance is in need of replacement, as it has high mileage and has reached its maximum useful life. The new ambulance will assist Anson Madison Starks Emergency Services in providing its lifesaving services for its large and very rural area of Somerset County.

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“We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq,” announced Obama concerning the current crisis there

June 13th, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington, World News

President Obama in Maine in 2010  photo by duhoux

President Obama in Maine in 2010 photo by duhoux

President Obama said at a press conference Friday that he would make a decision “in the days ahead” about whether to use American military power to help the Iraqi government with the onslaught of Islamist insurgents. The President ruled out using ground forces.

“This poses a danger to Iraq and its people and, given the nature of these terrorists, it could pose a threat eventually to American interests as well,” said President Barack Obama said of the offensive now threatening Baghdad. “We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options.”

Working with a collation of nations will take time, he said, so no actions will be taken immediately or unilaterally.

“People should not anticipate this is something that is going to happen overnight,” said Mr. Obama. “We want to make sure that we have good eyes on the situation there. We want to make sure we’ve gathered all the intelligence that is necessary so that if I do order action it will be precise and direct.”

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USDA awards $321,500 for support of Maine farm and local food infrastructure

June 9th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, Economy, News from Washington

1044461_637727639590596_2065773848_nTwo Maine organizations will share a total of $321,500 in funds from the USDA to support local foods efforts.

“Support for Maine’s farmers and local foods’ businesses is critical to creating economic and community development in rural communities. I am pleased that USDA Rural Development can invest $321,500 to make a significant impact on farm and food infrastructure in several Maine counties while creating jobs and giving Mainers access to locally grown and produced foods,” said USDA Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel.

Coastal Enterprises, Inc., in Wiscasset, has been selected to receive a Rural Business Enterprise Grant in the amount of $86,500 to provide technical assistance to small and emerging private farm and food infrastructure businesses located in Maine’s “Rim” Counties of Aroostook, Franklin, Oxford, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset, and Washington. The goal is to expand elements of the value chain including processing, marketing, and distribution, thereby giving producers the opportunity for growth and added prosperity. Twenty jobs are anticipated to be created and eight businesses assisted.

The Greater York Region of Commerce has been selected to receive a Community Facility Direct Loan in the amount of $235,000 to purchase a two acre parcel of land directly adjacent to the Chamber so that they may expand their farmer’s market, provide additional parking, and to incorporate a picnic area for the vendors and customers.

Supporting local and regional foods systems is one of the top three emphasis areas of USDA Rural Development. The agency supports this initiative through increased economic activity related to local and regional food systems through the creation and expansion of infrastructure, business services and supply chain coordination, and by facilitating connections between rural food producers/businesses and regional market opportunities. The other emphasis areas are advancing the biobased economy and renewable energy development, and investing in community and economic development.

President Obama’s plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities.

USDA Rural Development invested $462.5 million in rural Maine communities last fiscal year in the areas of homeownership, business assistance, energy and renewable energy development, water and wastewater and community facilities. The agency has Area Offices located in Presque Isle, Bangor, Lewiston, and Scarborough, as well as a State Office, located in Bangor. There are 59 employees working to deliver the agency’s Housing, Business, and Community Programs, which are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, and farmers, and improve the quality of life in rural Maine.

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Reps. Michaud and Pingree call on Speaker Boehner to preserve Saturday mail delivery

June 7th, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington

Representatives Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree are calling on Speaker John Boehner to abandon a proposal to temporarily address the impending shortfall in the Highway Trust Fund by eliminating Saturday mail delivery. In a letter to the Speaker, Michaud and Pingree say it is irresponsible to try to address one job crisis by creating another. Speaker Boehner is pushing the measure despite a majority of the House supporting H.Res. 30, which expresses the importance of continuing six-day mail delivery for working families, in particular.

Reps. Michaud and Pingree said of Speaker Boehner’s proposal:

“A reliable, six-day mail delivery schedule is incredibly important to Maine residents, particularly those in rural areas. Businesses, senior citizens, and families all rely on six-day service for the timely delivery of paychecks, Social Security benefits, goods and other essential items. We all support taking immediate action to shore up the Highway Trust Fund, but we have a responsibility for Mainers and for the American people to work together and come up with a solution that doesn’t harm people. Suspending mail delivery on Saturdays is not that solution.”

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Congressman Michaud launches plan to fix mismanagement of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services

June 5th, 2014 · No Comments · Community Maine, News from Washington

Congressman Mike Michaud, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, today released his plans to crack down on waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services and to improve the state’s anti-poverty programs to make them more effective at fighting poverty.

“I am outraged by waste, fraud and abuse that steals from working families and those who need help. I will not tolerate it,” said Michaud. “We cannot allow dollars meant to improve lives to be misused, and that starts within the department itself.”

Under the direction of Gov. Paul LePage, the Department of Health and Human Services has been mired in scandal and mismanagement, costing Maine taxpayers millions of dollars while hurting countless working families and businesses, and undermining trust in government.

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The ‘Arbor Project’ is the DNC’s next generation voter registration toolset

June 5th, 2014 · No Comments · News from Washington

Today, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced the Arbor Project a collaborative effort between the DNC’s Voter Expansion Project and Project Ivy, the latest generation of the DNC’s data program.

“The goal of the Arbor Project is simple – to empower campaigns, grassroots partners and state parties to run registration programs based on the most accurate and up-to-date data available and arm new and current voters with the information they need to cast their ballot,” said DNC Chair Wasserman Schultz. “Earlier this year, the DNC launched the Voter Expansion Project with a video from President Clinton. Since then we’ve brought on staff who work 24/7 on expanding access to the polls and building tools to help ensure that Democrats keep the Senate, pick up seats in the House, and elect new statewide officials from governor to secretary of state.”

The Arbor Project consists of two symbiotic components – an innovative data set that combines public records, historical turnout results, voter files and targeting model predictions to identify the number of potential new Democratic voters in each state, county, congressional district, and precinct. The second part of the project is IWillVote.com – a voter education and registration site in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The site will launch in conjunction with this weekend’s DNC Executive Committee meeting in Washington, DC.

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