In a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree urged the government to block a proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner. U.S. Rep.Pingree warned the proposed merger would lead to less competition and could result in higher prices and fewer choices for consumers.
“In the end, a merger between Comcast and Time Warner will lead to higher rates, less competition and a loss of innovation and choice in programming. In short, it will be bad for the American consumer and this merger should not be allowed to go through,” Pingree wrote in her letter.
Together, the two companies would serve more than a third of the US cable market and half of all “bundled” customers, who get internet, TV and telephone service all from one cable company. Pingree raised concerns about prices, service and the effects on a free and open Internet.
“Access to broadband should not be jeopardized by further market concentration in an entity that not only has a last-mile monopoly in large swaths of the country, but also control over must-have broadcast content,” she wrote in the letter.
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Tags: Congresswoman Chellie Pingree of Maine·Corporation mergers·Economy·TIme-Comcast merger
Today, Congressman Mike Michaud announced that he will help lead an effort to urge President Obama to take action to prohibit workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. Michaud and several of his colleagues have begun circulating a letter for signature by members of Congress urging the President to issue an Executive Order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“In the absence of Congressional action, the President should follow the example of strong anti-discrimination laws in Maine and other states to ensure that no one in the federal workplace is discriminated against because of who they are or who they love.” said Michaud. “Executive action by the President would be a significant first step, but the House still needs to act to ensure workplace protections are available to all Americans. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues to push for a vote on the bipartisan Employment Non-Discrimination Act.”
Maine already has strong protections for LGBT citizens. In 2005, Maine voters upheld a law passed by the legislature prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and expression with regard to employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations.
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Tags: Economy·Government transparency
“When we don’t have people here from DHHS, we don’t know what DHHS is working on, we can’t have confidence and we can’t craft a solution. This makes it very hard for us to work together to serve people in our communities, many of whom are not being served through this contract that the taxpayers are paying for,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo.
The state’s budget writing committee early this week convened to address the ongoing management failures at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), including the state’s bungled MaineCare rides system, the ongoing concerns about losing $20 million in federal funds for Riverview, and the $1 million no-bid contract to the Alexander Group.
No one from the LePage administration attended the meeting despite the committee’s request; however, when the meeting began, the committee received packets of information DHHS had provided to the Health and Human Services Committee on Tuesday.Governor LePage has barred commissioners from appearing before more than 30 committees in recent months.
“Not being able to have conversations in real-time with the department is grinding our work to a halt. The work we do for the people of Maine is being compromised,” said Democratic Senator Dawn Hill, the Senate chair of the Appropriations Committee. “We want and need to be focused on solutions but when we are on a time-delay, solutions are nothing more than hypothetical.”
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Tags: Economy·Government transparency·Health and Human Services
Democratic state lawmakers set out this session to strengthen Maine’s economy and grow the middle class. Strategic investments in critical areas are vital to our success. Bonds in key areas like research and development and transportation infrastructure can boost our economy and create jobs.
Legislators will return to the State House next month to address a comprehensive bonding plan. Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues to send Maine voters a thoughtful and strategic plan – one that will jump start our economy, put Mainers back to work and lay the foundation for our future prosperity.
I’m a retired certified pipe welder and was active in my union at the mill. Some of the proudest moments of my career took place when we were fighting for the livelihoods of our members and the success of our company and the surrounding communities. So it’s really painful to see that 48,000 Mainers remain unemployed today, and that some parts of our state our grappling with unemployment rates of nearly 10 percent.
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Tags: Cutting-edge technology·Economy·Research and Development Bonds
President Barack Obama pledged to devote every day he has left in office to rebuilding the middle class. He made the promise adding that there are measures he can do without Congressional approval, during two speeches in Illinois last week.
Obama promised to continue to define his effort to lessen inequities and better prepare workers to compete globally in the days ahead. He said want to invest in innovation for that has always been and will continue to be the bedrock of our economy. And funds for research and development need to be increased so America can remain a leader in the 21st century global economy. Cutting edge technologies should be created here but businesses need the expertise from American researchers at universities – that’s how the Internet came to be and how we put humankind on the moon. Even Steve Jobs couldn’t do it all on his own.
He’s pushing for access to quality education from preschool to college, infrastructure upgrades, good-paying jobs, homeownership, secure retirements and affordable health care.
And while Republicans are focused on bringing down the deficit they have neglected that it has gone down by half since Obama became President. The Sequester has furloughed over 600,000 government workers and is hurting the economy but too many extremists in the Republican Party refuse to negotiate a better solution Republicans have also threatened to shut down government with no budget by Oct. 1, 2013, followed shortly by another debt ceiling showdown.
Tags: Cutting-edge technology·Economy·middle class
New proposed facility-sketch of the expansion at the aerospace facility in Bangor.
C&L Aerospace announced a paint hangar and regional aircraft maintenance & management services expansion that is expected to create an additional 50-70 full time jobs at the maintenance facility in Bangor, Maine.
C&L has been assisted in the expansion through the work of the Economic Development Officials of the City of Bangor, which was recently awarded a $580,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Association. The Bangor City Council has also been working with the firm for over a year on this expansion project.
“New jobs for eastern and northern Maine is always good news. Even before this announcement the company had added about 50 additional workers since it purchased the old Telford Aviation a couple of years ago,” said Councilman Joe Baldacci.
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Tags: economic development·Economy·Jobs
Moody’s Credit Outlook report, released Monday, said the state budget would impact local government’s overall credit ratings for a number of key reasons. The principal factor being the state’s cut to revenue sharing with local municipalities.
“The decisions made in Augusta directly hurt all of Maine’s towns and cities and most particularly the working middle class homeowners who really are the foundation of any community,” said Bangor City Councilman Joe Baldacci.
While Moody’s, the national credit-rating agency, did not change the state’s credit rating they did warn that shifting costs, normally undertaken by state government to municipalities, would raise property taxes and that would have a negative effect on business investment.
“Maine’s local governments are already challenged to attract commercial taxpayers to diversify their primarily residential tax bases; rising property tax rates will only increase this struggle,” the analysts wrote.
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Tags: Economy·Maine's credit·Maine's quality of life·taxes
Lawmakers reconvened today to take up more of the governor’s vetoes, including measures to raise the minimum wage, reporting BPA toxic chemicals in foods, supporting public schools and to address the need for warrants for drone surveillance and cell phone location tracking data.
So far, LePage has vetoed a record-breaking 83 bills this session and it’s possible that even more are in the works. On Monday, the governor issued 21 vetoes in fewer than 24 hours. Another veto was issued Tuesday morning before the House went into session. Lawmakers have been able to put party loyalty aside for the good of Maine people.
“The governor’s veto rampage is not just record-breaking, it’s mind-boggling. Good bills with unanimous approval, bipartisan support, life-saving potential and commonsense approaches have been victims of this irresponsible binge,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry. “We need our Republican colleagues to stand up for the good work of this Legislature.”
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Tags: Economy·Government transparency·Jobs·Maine's quality of life
Malcom Kenton, a longtime train traveler, is crowdfunding $5,000 to participate in the inaugural Millennial Trains Project for young American innovators. When it comes to experiencing America, there’s something alluring about a cross-country train ride.
That’s why a group of entrepreneurial millennials have to decided to hit the rails in August. Inspired by a entrepreneur-themed train ride in India—which encourages community interaction and small enterprises—a young American, who participated in that ride, is creating a similar journey in the U.S.
Called the Millennial Trains Project, the inaugural 10-city, 10-day trip will depart from the San Francisco Bay area August 8. It will end August 18 in Washington, D.C.
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