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Archive for August 2011

LETTER: Voter fraud is “nothing new”

To the Editor:

Not only do our local college students have the ability to—and do—vote multiple times, many of them have been foolish enough to boast of their actions.

Due to its easy access, my classroom at Lewiston Middle School was used as a voting site for many years in the 1980s and ’90s. Students from the nearby college would arrive on Election Day and were allowed to register on site so they could cast a ballot in local and national elections.

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Mayor’s Corner: “The Economic Imperative for Enacting Immigration Reform.” Part I

This is the first part of Mayor’s Gilbert’s column. The second part will be published next week.

By Laurent F. Gilbert Sr.

Mayor of Lewiston

Last week I traveled, at no cost to the city, to Washington, D.C. at the invitation of Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees and Border Security.

Below is the written testimony that was submitted for the committee’s review. I delivered a shorter verbal version, as we were limited to only five minutes for our verbal remarks.

There were two panels who testified. The first panelists included Robert Greifeld, CEO of NASDAQ OMX Group; David J. Skorton, president of Cornell University; Brad Smith, general counsel and vice-president for Microsoft: Dr. Puneet S. Arora, vice-president of immigration voice; Dr.Ronil Hira, associate professor of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology.

The second panelists included me, Mayor David Roefaro of Utica, N.Y. and Mayor Paul Bridges of Uvalda, Georgia.

To view the webcast of the entire hearing, go to the following link: http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3d9031b47812de2592c3baeba62beeb0.

Here are excerpts from my written testimony:

Somali refugees started arriving in Lewiston in 2001 to seek a quality of life they could not find or afford in many larger cities, such as Atlanta, Memphis and Nashville. These family-oriented refugees were fearful of life in those cities where they were exposed to criminal activity, drugs and gang violence. They had fled violence abroad and in some cases in their refugee camps and were seeking what all Americans seek in their lives: a home where an individual or family can live peacefully and become part of a community.

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State spending under scrutiny by Budget Task Force

In an effort to significantly reduce state spending, Governor Paul LePage has announced the formation of the “Streamline and Prioritize Core Government Services Task Force.” Sue Charron, director of Social Services for the City of Lewiston, has been appointed to the task force.

Governor Paul LePage appointed a bipartisan team of seven to the task force. In addition to Charron, these members include: George Kerr, a former Democratic lawmaker and Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee chair; Joe Bruno, former House Republican Leader and President of Community Pharmacies; Phil Harriman, a former legislator and business consultant; former Central Maine Power Co. CEO David Flanagan, David Winslow of the Maine Hospital Association, and former finance commissioner under Gov. John Baldacci Ryan Low.

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Fraud and Abuse Prevention team targets welfare abuse

Governor Paul LePage and Attorney General William J. Schneider have announced that officials from the Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Office of the Attorney General are intensifying their focus on preventing and prosecuting fraud and abuse in public assistance programs.

A Fraud and Abuse Prevention Team has been formed to analyze current systems and existing resources available within state government to deter fraud before it happens and to assure that all illegal activities within Medicaid, Food Supplement, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and other programs are being properly investigated.

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