By Sen. Margaret Craven (D-Lewiston)
and Rep. Peggy Rotundo (D-Lewiston)
Recently lawmakers in Augusta passed a budget that resolves an immediate shortfall in the state’s health care program called MaineCare. MaineCare is a health care program that provides health insurance and prescription drug coverage for the elderly, disabled, mentally ill and the poor.
Seventy percent of enrollees are children, seniors or individuals with disabilities. MaineCare payments go to hospitals and health care providers to pay for care, not into the pockets of eligible individuals.
The budget that lawmakers passed rejects the worst of Governor Paul LePage’s irresponsible, illegal and dangerous proposals that have made headlines in the past four months. The budget also allows us to continue to preserve care for the elderly, disabled and children, while preventing drastic cuts to our local hospitals. These cuts would have shifted costs to municipalities and hospitals, caused job losses and resulted in increased insurance premiums for middle-class families across the state.
Local Democrats worked hard to mitigate the harm the governor’s original budget would have caused here in Lewiston. We worked with our hospitals and health care providers to present an alternative to the governor’s irresponsible proposal. If it were not for Democrats, 65,000 Maine people would no longer have health care on April 1.
By Rep. Rich Cebra
When Republicans captured control of the Maine House and Senate in 2010 for the first time in decades, we got to work quickly. The governor and legislature confronted major problems that had long been ignored or swept under the rug by the Democrats, and the people of Maine were paying the price—big time.
The GOP agenda, which had always been squashed by the ruling Democrats, finally could be enacted.
During last year’s first session, we rolled out an ambitious slate of bills to rescue the state from crushing health insurance rates, a public pension system that had billions of dollars in unfunded liabilities and a costly welfare system that trapped hundreds of thousands of Maine residents in poverty.
By Terrilyn Simpson
OPEGA has initiated a rapid response review of Maine State Housing Authority vendor expenditures following the release of a list of questionable expenses revealed in a MaineWire story. The vendor list was obtained through a Freedom of Access request submitted by the Maine Heritage Policy Center to MaineHousing.
The list of vendors includes: Caesars Palace. The luxury boutique hotel George. Posh hotel accommodations throughout the country. BYOB dance clubs. Funtown/Splashtown USA. Portland Pirates hockey team. The Great Falls Balloon Festival. Sunday River Ski Resort. A magician. A masseuse. High-priced motivational speakers and corporate training companies. Pricey bed and breakfasts. Donations to political groups. Donations to theaters and social justice groups and arts and theater organizations. It goes on and on.
By Governor Paul R. LePage
The State House halls are filled with policymakers, the bell is ringing and debates have begun. Once again, Maine’s Legislators are in the State House, working for you.
I stand by my promise to put people before politics and pledge to do what’s best for Maine people. During the next few months, you will hear the word “jobs” from both Democrats and Republicans.
In the first year of my administration Maine’s unemployment rate has gone down from 7.6 percent to 7 percent. However, there is more work to be done. Nearly 50,000 people are still out of work and many are worried about job security.
Democrats and Republicans alike have similar goals this session; but we have different ideas on how to achieve them.
These are the remarks delivered on January 3 by Lewiston City Council President Mark Cayer at the inauguration of the mayor, city council and school committee.
By Mark Cayer
City Council President
Congratulations, Mayor Macdonald and members of the 2012-13 Lewiston City Council and School Committee. You have stepped forward to give of your time and abilities to enhance your community, and I’m confident that the next two years will be both personally and professionally rewarding. I look forward to serving with you, and I am particularly enthusiastic about the diversity we each bring and what that diversity will enable us to accomplish together.
Although excited about this new chapter in Lewiston’s history, I would be remiss if I did not note that I will miss working with Mayor Gilbert and those members of the prior council who will not be returning. I’m proud of the work we’ve done together and have enjoyed the spirit of teamwork that existed among us.
Thank you to Mayor Gilbert for serving the residents of Lewiston for five years; Councilors Renee Bernier and Ron Jean, who both served 10 years; and Councilors Larry Poulin and Tina O’Connell, who served four years.
This is the Inaugural Address delivered by Lewiston Mayor Robert E. Macdonald on January 3 at the Franco-American Heritage Center.
By Mayor Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
I would like to begin this evening by expressing my appreciation for the opportunity to serve as Mayor of Lewiston. I am honored and humbled as I assume this office. I am also enthusiastic and pledge to do my best to make Lewiston an even better place in which to live, work, play, raise a family and do business.
I would also like to recognize the newly elected members of the City Council and School Committee. I look forward to working closely with each of you as we strive to further enhance our community.
Last month, the final American combat troops were withdrawn from Iraq. Many of our friends, neighbors and family members were called to serve our country in this conflict, as well as in other current and past conflicts. Some of them made the ultimate sacrifice, and others will carry emotional and physical scars for the rest of their lives. Please join me in a moment of silence to honor all who have served in the United States military, especially those who are no longer with us.
This the Inaugural Address delivered by Auburn Mayor Jonathan P. LaBonté on Wednesday, December 21.
By Jonathan P. LaBonté
Mayor of Auburn
Family, friends, citizens of Auburn: it is an honor to stand before you tonight as Auburn’s Mayor. I thank you for joining us to mark the start of a new chapter in the history of our community.
I want to begin by recognizing members of our community that are not here this evening. First, to the man whose words of encouragement led to my decision to seek this office, my grandfather. A man grounded in his faith and his commitment to family. The steady advice he offered throughout my childhood, as I grew up in this very neighborhood, and until this fall, helped to shape the man I am today.
On Election Day, as many of us gathered at the polls and celebrated victories to elected office, he began his transition out of this world. And though his absence tonight leaves a hole in my heart, I remain committed as ever to serving in public office by the standards and values he instilled in me.
A number of seats were left empty here tonight at my request as a visual reminder of the men and women from our community serving with our armed forces across the world and local through the National Guard and reserves.
Governor Paul R. LePage
I met many hardworking people in Franklin County’s Salem Township last week during my monthly Town Hall meeting. Regular folks, who get up every morning, go to work, pay their bills and make the best with what they’ve got.
They are honest, hardworking Mainers that want what’s best for their families. There are thousands of Mainers like them, and I’m proud to say that some will be able to keep more of their hard-earned money very soon.
Democrats will argue I gave tax cuts to the rich. It’s simply not true.
By Governor Paul LePage
When I released details last week about the Dept. of Health and Human Services supplemental budget, I knew it was going to be difficult news to share with Mainers. These were not easy decisions to make but they were necessary.
In the last decade, the Democrats’ solution to affordable health care insurance was to transition people to Medicaid. This solution was shortsighted; it hurt people who need insurance coverage the most; it forced all Mainers to pay for much costlier health insurance premiums; and it increased taxes.
With the Legislature’s budget-reviewing committee working this week to review proposed changes in Maine’s Medicaid program, also known as MaineCare, Governor Paul LePage has posted more information about his plan onto the Office of the Governor website. See www.maine.gov/governor/lepage.
In an effort to better inform Maine people, the website offers additional information about the Department of Health and Human Services supplemental budget, which includes facts and frequently asked questions about the Governor’s plan to reform Medicaid.
In a recent Democratic radio address, Sen. Seth Goodall (D-Richmond) accused the Governor of creating the plan for political gain—an accusation that Governor LePage says has no merit.