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Preview: Maine Governor Baldacci Press Releases

Maine Governor's Press Releases



Press releases issued by the Governor's office.



Copyright: Copyright 2017 All rights reserved.
 



Governor LePage Sends Senators Letter to Support Amended AHCA

Thu, 23 Mar 2017 16:05:32 EDT

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 23, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage on Wednesday sent Maine Senators Susan Collins and Angus King a letter encouraging each to support the amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) supported by President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan.

Governor LePage wrote in the letter, "Under my administration, Maine is leading the nation on Medicaid reform. I'm urging you to join us in the effort to repeal, replace and reform ObamaCare once and for all. The people of Maine elected you to a place on the national stage, but they expect you to represent them-not the residents of some other state. Their economic future, as well as the long-term financial stability of our state, is at stake."

When the Governor traveled to Washington, D.C. two weeks ago, he had three simple messages for Congress and the Trump Administration. A conservative ObamaCare repeal and replacement bill must include a freeze of Medicaid expansion at least for states that haven't expanded, a work requirement for able-bodied adults on Medicaid, and block grants instead of per-capita-caps for state Medicaid programs. The amended version of the American Health Care Act, announced earlier this week, meets these simple and commonsense requests.

Governor LePage added on Thursday that while the amended AHCA is not a one-size-fits-all solution it is a "work in progress." Governor LePage believes the bill is a start Congress can work with in order to fix ObamaCare, which resulted in America's broken healthcare system.

The letters are linked below.



Question 2: A Tax Hike Maine Cannot Afford

Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:36:50 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 20, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Today, the Governor's Office of Policy and Management (OPM) formally submitted their economic impact analysis of Maine's new 10.15 percent tax rate to the members of the Maine Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs and Joint Standing Committee on Taxation.

The report, which was delivered as the Tax Committee prepares to hold public hearings on several bills related to the Question 2 surtax, comes after OPM released the report's executive summary earlier this month.

"The results of my office's analysis indicate that the new surtax will have a decidedly negative impact on Maine's economy," said OPM Director Jonathan LaBonte. "Regrettably, we will witness these effects through reductions in employment, population, gross domestic product, and income at a time when Maine has seen improvement in all of these areas."

OPM staff estimate that in the first year of the new policy: • Maine's population will be negatively impacted by 800-1,400 • Private sector employment will be negatively impacted by 2,400-4,300 • GDP will be negatively impacted by $40-$160 million • Real disposable incomes will be negatively impacted by $400-$600 million

"Maine's economy had its best year since the Great Recession in 2016," continued Director LaBonte. "If there is one message that policymakers should take away from our economic impact analysis, it is that Maine cannot afford Question 2's tax hike."

Last November, Question 2 passed narrowly at referendum and imposed a new 3 percent surtax on Maine's top rate, effective January 1, 2017. At 10.15 percent, the new rate, a marginal tax hike of 42 percent, applies to individuals, families, and businesses with taxable income in excess of $200,000 a year. The new 10.15 top rate is the second highest in the country and the highest at this level of income.



New Federal Ruling May Provide Additional Benefits to Maine Veterans

Fri, 17 Mar 2017 08:22:09 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

The Department of Veterans' Affairs to provide disability benefits as a result of contaminated water supply

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage joined the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) this week to announce expanded support for veterans affected by contaminated drinking water at North Carolina's Camp Lejeune Marine Corps Base.

The VA has pledged to provide disability benefits for diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987. This ruling is similar to the latent Agent Orange ruling that now provides disability benefit compensation and healthcare to Vietnam Veterans exposed to Agent Orange herbicide while serving in and around Vietnam.

Governor LePage expressed concern about how Maine veterans affected by this ruling will be cared for and informed of this information. "Since there's no way of truly knowing how many veterans and family members currently living in Maine have been affected by the contamination at Camp Lejeune and now may have access to treatment under this new ruling, I strongly encourage anyone who was stationed at Camp Lejeune to contact the Bureau of Veterans' Services."

The VA has identified eight additional diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply. They are:

• Adult leukemia • Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes • Bladder cancer • Kidney cancer • Liver cancer • Multiple myeloma • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma • Parkinson's disease

The area included in this presumption is all of Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River, including satellite camps and housing areas.

Adria Horn, the Director of the Bureau of Veterans' Services stated, "For veterans whose claims have been denied, are appealing the VA's decision about their claim, or who are awaiting a decision on a pending claim, I strongly encourage you to make an appointment with a Veteran Service Officer to personally review your claim. If you have never filed a claim, but suspect that you or your family member may be affected by the water at Camp Lejeune, please come see us or visit your local Veteran Services' Organization. This ruling and these presumptive conditions have been long in the making and there are many veterans no longer here today who paved the way for this ruling."

The VA's recent ruling complements the health care and disability compensation already provided for 15 illnesses or conditions as part of the "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012". The Camp Lejeune Act requires the VA to provide health care to Veterans, who served at Camp Lejeune, and to reimburse family members - or pay providers - for medical expenses for those who resided there for not fewer than 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.

In the early 1980s, volatile organic compounds, trichloroethylene (TCE), a metal degreaser, and perchloroethylene (PCE), a dry cleaning agent, as well as benzene and vinyl chloride, were discovered in two on-base water supply systems at Camp Lejeune. The contaminated wells supplying the water systems were shut down in February 1985.

For full text of the press release, please visit www.maine.gov/veterans. Please contact mainebvs@maine.gov or call 207-430-6035 for additional information.



Governor Nominates Dr. Hasson to Lead Department of Education

Thu, 16 Mar 2017 09:08:31 EDT

For Immediate Release: Thursday, March 16, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today announced the nomination of Dr. Robert G. Hasson, Jr of South Portland to serve as Commissioner of Education. Dr. Hasson has served as Acting Commissioner of the Department of Education since November 24, 2016.

"Bob Hasson has demonstrated that he understands the one thing that matters most in education: every decision should be made based on the best interest of our students," said Governor LePage. "As long as I am Governor, we will do everything within our power to reshape the education system in Maine to center around students, push more of the dollars spent on education into the classroom and remove barriers to educational opportunities. I thank Dr. Hasson for his willingness to lead and advocate for Maine students and teachers."

"I am grateful to Governor LePage and the State Board of Education for their confidence in me and for the opportunity to serve," said Acting Commissioner Hasson. "I have had more fun leading the Department these last several weeks than at any other time in my career, except for when I was teaching first grade. This is an important moment for our State to recommit to our students, to empower our teachers and leaders and to bravely dream about new possibilities that we wouldn't have dared to imagine. It is an exciting time in Maine education. I am especially committed to ensuring that the State of Maine finds new ways to serve our disadvantaged youth and prepare them for lifelong success."

A former teacher, principal and superintendent, Dr. Hasson served as the Superintendent of Schools at MSAD 51 (Cumberland / North Yarmouth) from 1993 to 2013 and as the Deputy Executive Director of the Maine School Management Association from 2013 to 2015 where he was the Executive Director of the Maine School Superintendents Association. Dr. Hasson holds a BS in Elementary Education from Saint Joseph's College, a M.Ed. in Special Education from Fitchburg State University and a Doctorate in Education from Boston College.

In a letter to Governor LePage dated March 9, 2017, the State Board of Education evaluated the strengths that Dr. Hasson will bring to the position of Commissioner. On behalf of the Board, Chair Martha Harris wrote: "The Board enthusiastically supports Dr. Hasson for the positon. Bob is eminently qualified to be Maine's Commissioner of Education. The Board looks forward to working closely with Dr. Hasson for the next two years (and perhaps beyond). He will make an outstanding Commissioner. He has the background, skills and leadership style to move our state forward."

Dr. Hasson comes from a family of educators. A math teacher, his father taught and coached at Oxford High School. In addition, he taught for the South Portland public schools, the Long Creek Youth Development Center and Southern Maine Community College. Also a teacher, his mother taught at the elementary level for South Portland public schools. Dr. Hasson's wife Sue is a teacher at Holy Cross in South Portland, and his daughter Megan is an Ed Tech at Acadia Academic, a public charter school in Lewiston.

Under Maine law, the Joint Standing Committee on Education and Cultural Affairs must hold a confirmation hearing no later than 30 days following the nomination by the Governor.




Governor to Visit Gorham on March 22 for his Next Town Hall

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 16:06:04 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - The town hall that was cancelled this week is rescheduled for Wednesday, March 22. Governor Paul R. LePage will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents at Spire 29 on the Square in Gorham.

29 School Street, Gorham is the location for the town hall, which will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. Seating will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bags, beverages and signs are not permitted in the forum.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's budget proposal, protecting the elderly and strengthening Maine families and economy.

Please note: There is on-street parking available on Route 114. In addition to on-street parking, guests may use the rear lost on Cross Street. Parking is also available in the 1st Parish Church lot. If parking in church lot, please observe signs.



Governor's Town Hall in Gorham is postponed

Wed, 15 Mar 2017 10:25:05 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, March 15, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Due to a parking ban in Gorham that is expected to last until tomorrow, Governor Paul R. LePage's town hall that was scheduled for tonight has been postponed.

The town hall will be rescheduled for a later date.



State Offices to Close Today at 2 p.m. Due to Severe Winter Storm

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 11:45:11 EDT

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced that all State offices will be closing today at 2 p.m. due to a severe winter storm covering the state.

"I urge everybody who is driving to commute safely to your destination," said Governor LePage. "Stopping safely on snow or ice during inclement weather takes extra time and distance. Drive slowly so you can adjust to changing road conditions. Please remember to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles, and give plow trucks plenty of room to operate."




Governor to Visit Gorham for his Next Town Hall

Tue, 14 Mar 2017 08:44:07 EDT

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall Wednesday, March 15, weather permitting, where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

Spire 29 on the Square, 29 School Street, Gorham is the location for the town hall, which will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. Seating will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bags, beverages and signs are not permitted in the forum.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's budget proposal, protecting the elderly and strengthening Maine families and economy. If weather or parking bans impact the ability to hold town hall, it will be rescheduled to a later date.

Please note: There is on-street parking available on Route 114. In addition to on-street parking, guests may use the rear lost on Cross Street. Parking is also available in the 1st Parish Church lot. If parking in church lot, please observe signs.



Next Town Hall To Be in Yarmouth on March 8

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 10:18:01 EST

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 22, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall Wednesday, March 08 in Yarmouth where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

AMVETS Post 2, 148 North Rd, Yarmouth is the location for the town hall, which will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. Seating will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bags, beverages and signs are not allowed in the forum.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's budget proposal, protecting the elderly and strengthening Maine families and economy.



Governor Issues Emergency Declaration to Extend Hours of Service for Delivery Drivers

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 16:48:03 EST

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - On Tuesday, Governor Paul R. LePage signed an emergency proclamation to ensure heating oil delivery drivers are able to remain on the road longer. "We must ensure our oil delivery drivers can be on the road so that Mainers stay warm," said Governor LePage. The State of Emergency proclamation enables a waiver from the Federal Department of Transportation to allow heating oil delivery personnel to stay on the road longer so they can make heating fuel and bulk petroleum deliveries. The Governor would also like to remind drivers who are picking up extra hours to remain safe on the roadways. "We want to keep Mainers warm, but drivers and businesses should understand their limitations too," said Governor LePage. The order is active beginning on February 14, 2017 through February 28, 2017. The proclamation language is as follows: Governor's Emergency Proclamation for US-DOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Hours of Service Waiver WHEREAS, heating fuel and bulk petroleum products in Maine continue to be in great demand due to a number of factors, including cold winter weather; and WHEREAS, much of the heating fuels and bulk petroleum products are being delivered from outside of the State of Maine, adding to delivery time; and WHEREAS, homes and businesses alike are impacted; and WHEREAS, federal motor carrier safety regulations determine the number of hours the drivers of heating fuel and bulk petroleum delivery and transport vehicles may operate; and WHEREAS, many drivers in the State will shortly be approaching their federal limit on hours of operation and may have to cease delivery of heating fuel and bulk petroleum fuels; and WHEREAS, these conditions threaten essential public health and safety services and endanger public property if heating fuels and bulk petroleum products cannot be transported or delivered within the State of Maine; and WHEREAS, the declaration of a State of Emergency will facilitate the granting of a waiver from the U.S. Department of Transportation - Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 to allow relief from 49 CFR parts 390 through 399, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, and subject to the limitations described below, and therefore allow heating fuels, specifically fuel oil, propane and natural gas delivery and transport drivers to operate additional hours; and WHEREAS, motor carriers that are not directly supporting fuel delivery in the State of Maine, or that have an Out-Of-Service Order in effect may not take advantage of the relief from regulation that such a declaration provides under 49 CFR 390.23, NOW THEREFORE, I, Paul R. LePage, Governor of the State of Maine, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of Maine, find that these conditions constitute a civil emergency under 37-B M.R.S.A. section 742, and for the purpose pursuant to 49 CFR part 390.23 of facilitating a waiver to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, specifically 49 CFR part 395 Hours of Service of Drivers, do hereby declare that a State of Emergency within Maine for heating fuel and bulk petroleum delivery drivers as of February 14, 2017 through February 28, 2017. Pursuant to this declaration, I hereby order the following: 1. No motor carrier operating under the terms of this emergency declaration shall require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a motor vehicle. A driver who notifies a motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest shall be given a least ten (10) consecutive hours off-duty before the driver is required to return to service. 2. Drivers operating under this proclamation sha[...]



POSTPONED: Governor to Visit Yarmouth for Next Town Hall

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 11:39:08 EST

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - The town hall scheduled for Wednesday, February 15 in Yarmouth has been postponed due to forecasted inclement weather. Governor Paul R. LePage will at a later date hold a town hall to deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

The Office of the Governor intends to reschedule the town hall to be held at AMVETS Post 2, 148 North Rd, Yarmouth in the coming weeks.




All State of Maine Offices Closed on Monday

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 04:46:00 EST

For Immediate Release: Monday, February 13, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced all State of Maine offices will be closed on Monday.

"Travel conditions are expected to remain treacherous throughout Monday," said Governor LePage. "I encourage Mainers to stay off the roads and avoid traveling unless it is an absolute emergency. Avoiding unnecessary travel will keep accidents to a minimum and allow state and municipal road crews to safely go about their work."

Additionally, Governor LePage reminds Mainers to put safety first and help their neighbors weather the storm.

"Watch for the most up-to-date forecast, keep yourself safe, and reach out to a neighbor who might need a helping hand," said Governor LePage. "Our state has a well-known reputation for Mainers helping Mainers, and I expect that this storm will once again bring out the best in our citizens."

Strong sustained winds and gusts will cause blowing and drifting snow, limit visibility, create dangerous travel conditions and are expected to contribute to power outages throughout Maine. During and after the storm:

• Stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary, and let the plow drivers do their work. Travel will be extremely treacherous, with near-zero-visibility at times. • Check in with neighbors and friends who may need help during the storm. • If you lose power, use generators or alternate heat sources safely. • Run generators outside only, 15 feet away from doors or windows, with exhaust pointing away from the house. • Ensure all heating vents are clear of any snow to avoid carbon monoxide buildup. • Take care shoveling snow, especially if you have health problems. • After the storm has passed, determine whether excess snow needs to be removed, especially flat or roofs with minimal slope.

For weather information and more safety tips, visit the Maine Prepares web site: www.maineprepares.com.



State Offices to Close Today at Noon Due to Winter Storm Warning

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 11:41:56 EST

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 9, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary (207) 287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced that all State offices will be closing at noon today due to inclement weather.

"I urge all of you to drive safely as you commute to your destination," said Governor LePage. "Stopping on snow or ice without skidding requires extra time and distance. Drive slowly so you can adjust to changing road conditions. Please remember to keep a safe distance behind other vehicles and give plow trucks plenty of room to operate."



Governor to Visit Yarmouth for Next Town Hall

Thu, 09 Feb 2017 11:18:15 EST

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 09, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall Wednesday, February 15 in Yarmouth where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

AMVETS Post 2, 148 North Rd, Yarmouth is the location for the town hall, which will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The meeting is open to the public. Seating will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bags, beverages and signs are not allowed in the forum.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's budget proposal, protecting the elderly and strengthening Maine families and economy.



Governor LePage Praises Sappi $165M Investment, Encourages Lawmakers to Lower Energy Prices

Wed, 08 Feb 2017 12:33:52 EST

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 08, 2017 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage released the following statement today regarding the announcement that Sappi Limited will invest $165 million at its Skowhegan mill:

"This significant investment is welcome and demonstrates the commitment Sappi has to Maine," said Governor LePage. "Sappi is capitalizing on an opportunity in the packaging market. Our paper mills are not dead, but they do need to reinvent themselves. Sappi has identified new markets and technologies that will ensure the company continues to make superior products and employ Mainers with good paying jobs for many years."

While this news is promising for Somerset County, the Governor continues to encourage legislators to turn their attention to the rising energy costs in Maine. In the Governor's State of the State Tuesday evening he emphasized how high energy prices have a devastating effect on the paper industry and many mill workers have been laid off as a result.

"We have slipped from 12th to the 11th highest energy prices in the Nation. When Maine businesses are forced to pay more for energy and taxes it is less money the company is able to invest in its employees with higher wages and benefits. We must encourage our economy to grow and we do that by supporting good policies that do no harm to Mainers or the environment. We can achieve a balance between the economy and environment when we pass policies focusing on the lowest cost renewable energy resources and the least effect on the environment. It's a win-win for Maine families, businesses and our natural resources," said Governor LePage.