Currently showing posts tagged Mark Eves

  • Nobody Should be Working Full-Time and Still Live in Poverty

    Editorial by Mark Eves, the Maine Speaker of the House

    On Wednesday, May 11, I’m looking forward to joining the Baldacci family as they host a spaghetti supper in support of raising the minimum wage. The dinner, at $5 per person, will be held 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Cony High School, 60 Pierce Drive, in Augusta.

    The dinner is focused on why raising the minimum wage is so important for our state, and I want to take a minute to share why I’ll be supporting the minimum wage referendum on this year’s ballot.

    Like so many Mainers, my wife and I worry about how to make ends meet. We worry how we’ll balance our car payments and grocery bills with the hopes of sending our three kids to college and whether we’ll actually be able to care for our parents as they get older.

    And just like our neighbors, we’re willing to work hard to make up the gaps. Mainers don’t want things handed to us. We just want providing for our families and saving for our kids’ future to be a little less difficult.

    No Mainer should be working full time and still live in poverty.

    Yet that’s the reality for too many families that depend on a minimum wage salary.

    Despite rising costs for basic needs, our state’s minimum wage has remained at $7.50 an hour since 2009.

    Maine’s economic future depends on the strength of our workforce, the ability of our families to invest in their children, and the success of our businesses.

    Raising the minimum wage in Maine is a critically important and long overdue move, both for families struggling to get by on low wages and our lagging economy. By putting money back into the pockets of Mainers who will spend it in their communities we can jump start our businesses, help reduce poverty, and begin to keep pace with other states who continue to get ahead.

    In November voters will decide on a referendum that would raise Maine’s minimum wage from $7.50 to $9 an hour in 2017 and then a dollar a year until it reaches $12 an hour in 2020. Further increases would be tied to the cost of living, and the current subminimum wage for employees such as restaurant workers who receive tips would be phased out over a longer period of time.

    Almost 100,000 full-time workers in Maine would directly benefit from an increase in Maine’s minimum wage. Overall, 29 percent of all workers in our state would see an increase. And, more than 52,000 Maine children would benefit from one or both parents getting a raise.

    I’ve heard countless stories from Mainers, including parents like Katie Logue of Auburn, who work full time at low-wage jobs and struggle to afford the basic necessities that they need to provide for their families. Katie had to rely on food assistance and was even homeless despite working full time at a convenience store for $8 an hour.

    Beyond ensuring people like Katie are finally paid what they are worth, it’s the right thing to do to make sure every Mainer can bring a paycheck home that makes it possible to provide for their family.

    Raising the minimum wage is also the smart thing to do for Maine’s businesses statewide.

    Hundreds of business owners, such as Adam Lee, chairman of Lee Auto Malls, have already come out in support of raising Maine’s minimum wage.

    Adam was right when he said, “When working Mainers make a decent living, they spend that extra money in our communities. It is good for the whole economy, including my business. In the last year and a half, Lee Auto Mall has raised our starting wage from $9 to $10 and six months ago we raised it to $11 per hour. It is good for our employees and it is the right thing to do.”

    Maine desperately needs this economic growth at a time when our businesses continue to struggle with regional, national and international competition.

    This legislative session we raised wages for law enforcement officers serving on the front lines and mental health and direct-care workers who take care of our most vulnerable.

    Hard-working Maine families also deserve a raise.

    Raising Maine’s minimum wage is the right thing to do for our families, our businesses, and our economy.

    By Mark Eves, the Maine Speaker of the House

  • Eve's to file appeal after federal judge ruled in favor of Gov. LePage

    Speaker of the House Mark Eves and his attorney David Webbert talk to reporters after a federal judge ruled Gov. LePage's office gave him immunitiy.

    By Ramona du Houx

    A federal judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of Gov. Paul LePage and dismissed a lawsuit filed by House Speaker Mark Eves over his loss of a job at Good Will-Hinckley.

    David Webbert, Eves’ attorney said, "Mark Eves will file an appeal and have his case reviewed by three judges on the Court of Appeals in Boston. We are confident that the Court of Appeals will agree that Governor LePage violated the basic rules of our Constitution when he used taxpayer money to blackmail a private organization into firing his political opponent for partisan purposes. Mark Eves is determined to hold Governor LePage accountable for his abuses of power that undermine our democracy." 

    U.S. District Judge George Singal issued a 44 page ruling that declared LePage was immune from the lawsuit.

    “Ultimately, the governor’s alleged threats were made in his official capacity, and the individuals hearing those threats believed that the governor could exercise his executive discretion to impound amounts appropriated in the budget,” Singal concluded. “Therefore, even assuming his threats to withhold such funds from GWH amounted to an abuse of his discretion, the court finds that the Governor is entitled to immunity under [the law].”

    David Webbert, Eves’ attorney, said the decision would be appealed to the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

  • The Government Oversight Committee exposes more evidence of how LePage lost Eves his job

    The Government Oversight Committee exposed more evidence of how Governor Paul LePage lost Speaker Mark Eves his job at Good Will-Hinckley

    The following is the statement of attorney for Speaker Mark Eves regarding the GOC hearing November 12, 2015:

    The testimony today before the Government Oversight Committee of the Maine Legislature provided even more proof that:

    1.  Governor LePage blackmailed Good Will-Hinckley to fire Speaker Eves without cause as its new President, and
    2. Mark Eves was hired because he was the most qualified candidate for the job.

    Greg Powell testified under oath that on June 8, 2015 the Governor told him that he would no longer support GWH with Speaker Eves as its President. Powell further testified that he quickly realized that this withdrawal of support included the budgeted state funding of about $500,000 in each of the next two years.

    Similarly, the Governor’s own policy advisor, Aaron Chadbourne , testified under oath that on June 8, 2015, the Governor told Chadbourne and Acting Education Commission Tom Desjardins that they would not be giving GWH any more discretionary funding in the budget but only what was required by law.

    The testimony of Rich Abramson, who was the Acting President of GWH, added to the mountain of evidence that the Speaker was chosen solely because he was the most qualified candidate and not because of his party affiliation. Aaron Chadbourne testified that the Governor has admitted that Rich Abramson was highly qualified to run GWH and so his testimony about the Speaker’s excellent qualifications is especially credible.

    It remains clear that after extensive interviews of Mark Eves and the other two top candidates, the seven-member Senior Leadership Team of GWH unanimously recommended that Speaker Eves be selected as the new President because he was the most qualified.

    As the OPEGA report found:

    Following the campus visits, the GWH Senior Leadership Team recommended only the Speaker for the Board’s consideration. The Senior Leadership Team’s memo to the Search Committee was very clear, specific and thoughtful in its assessments of all three of the candidates and the reasons for its recommendation. In making its recommendation, the Senior Leadership Team noted that: the Speaker’s interview was impressive, authentic and believable; his leadership style and polished approach made the entire group feel comfortable and at ease; his extensive clinical experience would put him at an advantage with GWH’s population; his skill set presented the best balance of executive administration and fund raising experience; and he would make a great impression on the constituents of GWH and be an ideal face of GWH. The Senior Leadership Team also noted that the Speaker’s network of connections could bring opportunities to GWH, but he would likely need some guidance with respect to development and advancement. One concern of great significance to the Team, however, was the Speaker’s geographic proximity to GWH and willingness to relocate either on or near campus. The Team noted that the Speaker never really committed to the idea, but did say it was an option for consideration.

    Interviews with other Search Committee and Board members confirmed that the Speaker was seen as very articulate and his answers to questions in interviews were clear and relevant. They noted he had a very good presence and they liked his approach more than the other candidates. He also was seen as having broader, general experience and more of what they were looking for in leadership and fundraising.

    It was the unanimous GWH Board who then made the final decision to hire Mark Eves, and it is especially noteworthy that the Chair of the Board is a Republican, and that many other Board members are not Democrats.

  • LePage threatens to withhold voter approved funds for Good Will-Hinckley if Eves is hired by school

    Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves looks out over Augusta from his office photo: Ramona du Houx

    by Ramona du Houx

    "Gov. LePage is blackmailing a school for at-risk children because I have opposed his policies. He has threatened the Good Will-Hinckley School to either fire me or lose over $500,000 in budgeted state funds and thereby lose another $2,000,000 in private funding. The Governor knows that these financial losses would put the school out of business, but he has refused to back down. This is an abuse of power that jeopardizes Maine children," wrote House Speaker Mark Eves in response to the recent actions by Gov. Paul LePage to block his job at Good Will-Hinckley.

    Today board of directors of Good Will-Hinckley announced that they rescinded its offer to Eves to be the next president of the organization, which includes the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences charter school in Fairfield.

    “The Board of Directors of Good Will-Hinckley, after a great deal of consideration, has voted to seek a new direction for the institution’s leadership,” wrote Good Will-Hinckley Board Chairman Jack Moore said in a statement. “The basis for this decision is grounded in the institution’s desire not to be involved in political controversy that will divert attention away from our core mission of serving children and has the potential to jeopardize the future of our school.”

    Good Will-Hinckley and Eves signed an employment contract in May, prompting an outrage from Republican Governor LePage. Since then, the Harold Alfond Foundation a major contributor to the school, told the board it would withhold $2.75 million in grant funding if state funding didn't happen.

    "The Governor is not above the law and his illegal use of our government money to retaliate against the Speaker of the House must not be allowed to stand," said Civil Rights Attorney for Mark Eves, David Webbert. "Governor LePage has violated our Nation’s highest law by using taxpayer money to retaliate against a top leader of Maine’s Legislature. The Governor threatened to withhold over $500,000 in already approved state funding for the Good Will-Hinckley School for at-risk children unless the School fired Mark Eves from his new job as President."

    Political games should never govern the well being of an insitutition that gives kids futures with solid educations.

    Eves, with his legal counsel, released these full statements in response to the apparent blackmail by LePage:

    "Gov. LePage is blackmailing a school for at-risk children because I have opposed his policies. He has threatened the Good Will-Hinckley School to either fire me or lose over $500,000 in budgeted state funds and thereby lose another $2,000,000 in private funding. The Governor knows that these financial losses would put the school out of business, but he has refused to back down. This is an abuse of power that jeopardizes Maine children. 

    "The Governor’s actions represent the worst kind of vendetta politics Maine has ever seen. If it goes unchecked, no legislator will feel safe in voting his conscience for fear that the Governor will go after the legislator’s family and livelihood. For 15 years, I worked on the frontlines with struggling Maine families across the state as a professional clinical therapist. I’ve helped children, adults, and seniors on the edge facing mental illness and deep poverty. My personal experience with these struggling children, families, and seniors has guided me every day in the Legislature.

    "My father served as a chaplain in the military. My mother was a teacher. They raised me and my six siblings to give back to our communities and to serve the public. These are the values that led me to a career in counseling and behavioral mental health and they guide me each day in the Legislature.

    "The Governor’s actions should deeply trouble every single taxpayer, Maine resident, and member of our citizen legislature. I have strongly disagreed with the Governor on many issues, but I have never gone after his family the way he has gone after me personally, my wife, and my three children."


    Statement of Civil Rights Attorney for Mark Eves, David Webbert:

    "Governor LePage has violated our Nation’s highest law by using taxpayer money to retaliate against a top leader of Maine’s Legislature. The Governor threatened to withhold over $500,000 in already approved state funding for the Good Will-Hinckley School for at-risk children unless the School fired Mark Eves from his new job as President.

    "As was his plan, the Governor left the School with no choice but to terminate Mark Eves without cause. In turn, Mark has been forced to hire legal counsel to protect his ability to provide for his three young children.

    "Under the First Amendment, the Governor is clearly prohibited from using the money of our state government to exact revenge on public officials because they do not vote the way the Governor wants. This is not how Maine’s system of government is supposed to work.

     "The Governor’s tyrannical behavior threatens our democratic institutions. Legislators must be able to freely cast their votes in accordance with their best judgment and good conscience, without fear of political interference and intimidation. If the Governor’s blatant retaliation goes unchecked, it threatens the independence of Maine’s legislature and its ability to serve their critical role as a check on abuse of power by this or any future Governor."