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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 2016 All rights reserved.
 



Governor Halts Maine Military Authority Contract Pending More Details

Fri, 23 Sep 2016 15:45:38 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 23, 2016 Contact: Susan Faloon, Special Projects Coordinator/Public Information Office, Maine Emergency Management Agency (207) 624-4420 Cell: (207) 592-6201

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage today announced that it has recently come to his attention that a contract executed by the Maine Military Authority (MMA) was underbid, resulting in unexpected costs to Maine taxpayers and putting good-paying jobs at Loring Development Authority in jeopardy.

Governor LePage has major concerns and expects more details in the coming weeks to become available about MMA's $19 million contract with Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MTBA). "While we continue to work toward reducing costs as we renegotiate the contract terms, we must be reassured about the continuation of this contract as we move forward. We cannot in good faith create a financial burden to taxpayers and we will work to protect these good jobs for Mainers," said Brigadier General Douglas A. Farnham, who serves as Adjutant General, Maine National Guard and also as Commissioner for the Department of Defense. "We intend to personally discuss the issue with MMA staff and Massachusetts officials and act appropriately."

The Maine Military Authority, an instrument of the State of Maine with manufacturing operations and more than 50 employees in Limestone, entered into the contract in late 2014 to refurbish 32 articulated transit buses for MBTA.



First Family Food Drive Postponed Due to Blaine House Maintenance and Repair

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 14:35:17 EDT

For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 22, 2016 Contact: Barbara Claudel, Blaine House Director, 207-624-7500

AUGUSTA - Maintenance and repair at the Blaine House will delay the Sixth Annual First Family Food Drive that helps fellow Mainers who are less fortunate. Construction on the roof, driveway and entrances is scheduled for October and November. Therefore, the food drive will take place in April 2017.

Every fall, the First Family invites the public to visit the Blaine House on Saturdays in an effort to help raise food donations for the Good Shepherd Food Bank. The First Family Food Drive began in 2011. Since then, thousands of pounds of food for pantries and shelters across Maine has been collected and donated.

"We continue to encourage Mainers to donate to their local food pantries around the holidays, but it is equally important to give back to your community year round," said Governor LePage "It's important the First Lady and I give back to the people of Maine, and we will hold the food drive this spring."

Friends of the Blaine House is a non-profit entity that works continuously to preserve this historical landmark and active museum visited by thousands each year. Funds collected from the Friends of the Blaine House along with state allocated funds will be used for the Blaine House maintenance and repair. This spring, Mainers again will be encouraged to bring food donations, get a tour of the Blaine House led by Governor LePage and enjoy light refreshments.



Governor LePage Joins Coalition of States Challenging New Overtime Rule

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 14:50:38 EDT

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, September 20, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage joined a coalition of states today in filing a federal court complaint challenging the United States Department of Labor's new overtime rule.

"If implemented, this rule would more than double the minimum salary threshold for public and private workers without Congressional authorization," said Governor LePage. "The rule will force many state and local governments to substantially increase their employment costs. Some may be forced to eliminate some services and even lay off employees."

The complaint urges the court to prevent the implementation of the new rule before it takes effect, which is scheduled for December 1, 2016.

The "threshold" for salaried employees is now $47,500 a year. All salaried employees making less than that will now qualify for overtime. Employers will be required to pay time-and-a-half to anyone working more than 40 hours a week. This will significantly increase labor costs for businesses, as well as state and local governments.

On March 13, 2014, President Obama ordered the Department of Labor to revise the Fair Labor Standards Act's overtime exemption for executive, administrative and professional employees-the so-called "white collar" exemption-to account for the federal minimum wage. On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor issued the final new overtime rule. It doubles the salary-level threshold for employees to be exempt from overtime, regardless of whether if they perform executive, administrative, or professional duties. After December 1, 2016, all employees are entitled to overtime if they earn less than $913 a week-including state and local government employees. Additionally, the new rule contains a ratcheting mechanism to automatically increase the salary-level every three years without going through the standard rule-making process required by federal law.

In addition to Nevada, other states that joined this filing include: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.

"This rule, coupled with referendum questions to dramatically increase the minimum wage and impose a 10.13% income tax on successful Mainers, demonstrates the Democrats at the state and national level are doing everything they can to put people out of work," said Governor LePage.

The filed complaint is attached below.



Governor LePage Urges Congress to Reduce Regulatory Burden on Maine's Small Hydropower Facilities

Fri, 02 Sep 2016 10:54:25 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, September 02, 2016 Contact: Patrick Woodcock, Director, Governor's Energy Office, 207-624-7405

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has called attention to the precarious future of many of the state's small hydropower resources due to expensive and burdensome federal regulatory relicensing requirements.

The Governor recently wrote Maine's congressional delegation to notify them of the uncertain future of three small hydropower facilities in Kennebunk caused by a one-size-fits-all, expensive, lengthy federal regulatory process designed for facilities a thousand times larger. Governor LePage also asked the delegation to take action to modernize the permitting process, so these renewable generating assets can continue operating.

"The Kesseln Dam, one of the three small hydropower dams owned by the Kennebunk Light and Power District, has been providing reliable, renewably generated electricity to the citizens of Kennebunk for well over a hundred years," said Governor LePage. "Yet, the federal process to re-permit this small hydropower operation is the same as it is for the Hoover Dam. It takes years and costs millions of dollars because activists not looking to improve projects or address substantive environmental concerns, but simply to block critical energy infrastructure across the country often hijack the process. The expensive engineering analyses, sampling studies and installations for fish passage required for a new license, regardless facility's size or environmental impact may cause the state to lose these clean energy resources permanently. The federal government needs to modernize the federal permitting process so regulatory requirements no longer hold our local economies back."

This is not the first time Governor LePage has appealed to Congress to reduce the regulatory burden on the state's small hydropower operations. In 2015, the Governor testified before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, stating America's energy challenges can be met with our continent's natural resources, but only if the permitting process is not left to languish. "Maine has one of the cleanest electricity-generating fleets in the country, and hydropower is one of the major reasons why," he said. "Right now, 26 percent of the state's electricity generation comes from hydropower. These facilities should be able to continue operating. We need to stop overzealous activists from taking advantage of the regulatory process and tying our state and country up into knots."




Governor LePage Apologizes to the People of Maine, Gattine Family

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:03:04 EDT

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will take several actions in light of recent controversial comments from both himself and Representative Drew Gattine.

"To the Maine people, I am asking for forgiveness. Comments I have expressed recently are unacceptable, and I apologize sincerely for using such disrespectful language as your Governor," said Governor LePage. "Also, I would like to express an apology to the Gattine family. I understand how hurtful statements affect a family and regret that my words have upset your lives. For this I am truly sorry."

Tuesday morning on WVOM 101.3 & 101.9 The Voice of Maine, the Governor agreed his comments were inappropriate and repeatedly expressed remorse for them. In an effort to bring closure for all those involved, Governor LePage has invited Rep. Drew Gattine to meet privately today. Furthermore, the Governor has said he and his family will be seeking spiritual guidance as they move forward in finding closure themselves.

"We always have been a family of faith, and we recognize that the grace and guidance from God can make us stronger in life," said First Lady Ann LePage.



Governor Visits Baileyville Mill to Mark New Maine Investment and Jobs

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 15:08:01 EDT

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - On Tuesday, Governor Paul R. LePage met with officials from St. Croix Tissue, Inc. in Baileyville to help mark the completion of two new tissue machines and the start of its official operation this week.

St. Croix Tissue, Inc., which has recently created 80 new jobs and currently employs 400 Mainers plans to hold a grand opening celebration with a ribbon-cutting event Wednesday. Governor LePage traveled to China twice to meet personally with the investors, which resulted in productive meetings. "IGIC, the company that invested heavily in Maine, as well as the workers, contractors and officials from our Administration who have been working to achieve this accomplishment should be proud of their hard work and the jobs they have brought to Washington County," said Governor LePage.

However, the LePage Administration recognizes the challenges the company currently faces noting how it is instructive for the entire forest products industry. "We must understand what encouraged a company to make this initial $120 million investment in Maine, we must address the high-cost issues facing the industry and we must build on these factors to create an economic environment for additional job creation in our state," said the Governor.

Nearly six years ago, when IGIC purchased the mill, the company saw a long-term opportunity in converting it from a costly pulp mill to an internationally competitive facility. First, the plan required creating an integrated tissue facility and shift from a pulp market that was in decline to a tissue product that has shown stable long-term growth.

"If we truly listen to the economic message of IGIC and implement the pro-growth strategies, we can successfully modernize Maine's forest-products industry," said Governor LePage.



CANCELLED: Governor to Visit Westbrook for Next Town Hall

Tue, 30 Aug 2016 10:48:46 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 29, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

*PLEASE NOTE THE WESTBROOK TOWN HALL IS CANCELLED.

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall Wednesday, August 31, in Westbrook where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

The My Place Teen Center, 755 Main St, Westbrook is the location for the town hall from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's vision for Maine, including further reducing the income tax; reforming welfare by strengthening the State's safety net for the most vulnerable; cutting energy costs; and addressing Maine's high student debt burden. The Governor will also highlight five of the referendum questions featured on the November ballot.



Statement of Governor LePage

Fri, 26 Aug 2016 11:49:43 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 26, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage released the following statement in light of Representative Drew Gattine's comments of the Governor: "When someone calls me a racist, I take it very seriously. I didn't know Drew Gattine from a hole in the wall until yesterday. It made me enormously angry when a TV reporter asked me for my reaction about Gattine calling me a racist. It is the absolute worst, most vile thing you can call a person. So I called Gattine and used the worst word I could think of. I apologize for that to the people of Maine, but I make no apology for trying to end the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. Legislators like Gattine would rather be politically correct and protect ruthless drug dealers than work with me to stop this crisis that is killing five Mainers a week."

"When I said I was going after Gattine, I meant I would do everything I could to see that he and his agenda is defeated politically. I am a history buff, and I referenced how political opponents used to call each other out in the 1820s-including Andrew Jackson, the father of the Democratic Party. Obviously, it is illegal today; it was simply a metaphor and I meant no physical harm to Gattine. But I am calling him out to stop giving inflammatory sound bites and get to work to end this crisis that is killing Mainers, destroying families and creating drug-addicted babies, all so the drug dealers Gattine is protecting can make a profit."

PLEASE NOTE: The Governor is available for comment to the media during the noon hour in the Office of the Governor.




Governor to Visit North Berwick for Next Town Hall

Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:50:35 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 22, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall Wednesday, August 24, in North Berwick where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

Noble High School, 388 Somersworth Road, North Berwick is the location for the town hall from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's vision for Maine, including further reducing the income tax; reforming welfare by strengthening the State's safety net for the most vulnerable; cutting energy costs; and addressing Maine's high student debt burden. The Governor will also highlight five of the referendum questions featured on the November ballot.



First Lady Ann LePage to Host Sixth Annual Military Families Ice Cream Social

Fri, 19 Aug 2016 12:00:53 EDT

Contact: Barbara Claudel, (207) 624-7500 For Immediate Release: Friday, August 19, 2016

AUGUSTA - First Lady Ann LePage will host her sixth annual Military Families Ice Cream Social on the Blaine House Lawn on Tuesday, August 23, 2016 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. This event is open to currently serving Military Families and Gold Star Families.

The social is a "Back to School" event, at which each child will receive free school supplies, thanks to Operation Homefront and community members through sales at the Dollar Store. This event is free of charge, and open to Maine military families of any age, and any branch of service. Guests are encouraged to wear play clothes, and join in a variety of lawn games with the First Lady while they enjoy their ice cream.

"Maine's military service members, and their families, make tremendous sacrifices on behalf of all of us," said First Lady Ann LePage. "Many children are faced with the difficult task of a parent leaving home for deployment, and this is an opportunity for Maine's military families to connect, interact with each other, and enjoy some summer fun.

To attend, please register at www.jointservicessupport.org no later than Monday, August 22nd. Keyword: Ice cream. Contact the Maine National Guard Family Program office at 430-5773/5953.



Statement of Governor LePage on Importance of Enhancing U.S. Immigration Laws

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 14:15:40 EDT

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 16, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

Safety of Americans must come first, says Governor LePage

AUGUSTA - Publicly released documents regarding an Iranian refugee who lived in Freeport, Adnan Fazeli, have prompted Governor Paul R. LePage to reiterate the need to strengthen immigration policy in the United States. Fazeli, a secondary migrant who moved to Maine in 2009, joined ISIS and was killed during an attack against Lebanon in 2015.

Such cases are the result of an inadequate vetting process, which must be addressed by Congress, says Governor LePage.

"President Barack Obama's immigration policies have been an utter failure and continue to jeopardize the safety of millions of Americans," said Governor LePage. "While the Supreme Court rejected the President's overreach in his executive action to prevent deportation of millions of illegal immigrants, we must urge Congress to correct and enforce immigration policies to ensure they protect American citizens and reject those seeking to live in the United States who want to harm us or join our enemies."

"The screening process of immigrants has failed and will continue to place Americans at risk," the Governor said. "We cannot afford to harbor radical Islamic sympathizers on our watch. We have an upcoming election, which is pivotal in addressing U.S. foreign policy and immigration laws and two presidential candidates who are on opposite sides of the fence. These policies are vital to the future of our nation and our state. The safety of Americans must come first."



Governor LePage's Economic Proposals Ranked Among Best in the Country

Mon, 15 Aug 2016 15:02:38 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 15, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531 AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage's 2016 "State of the State" address has been listed as one of the best in the country in terms of the economic policy proposals he put forth, which have been proven in other states to enhance their economic competitiveness and growth. A report by ALEC, entitled State of the States: An Analysis of the 2016 Governors' Addresses, commends Governor LePage for fighting to abolish both Maine's death tax and income tax. "If these taxes were repealed, the state would improve dramatically in economic competitiveness, leading to more residents and businesses moving in to the state and greater job growth," according to the report. "Like New Hampshire, Maine could be a refuge for taxpayers, businesses and capital fleeing the poor tax and fiscal policies adopted by most Northeast states." https://www.alec.org/publication/state-of-the-states-2016/"I'm pleased to be recognized by the nation's foremost experts on tax policy for having one of the best economic proposals in the country," said Governor LePage. "Socialists in the Legislature and the Maine media continue to resist my common-sense economic proposals that have propelled other states into growth and prosperity. But I will keep fighting to bring fiscal responsibility to state government and to give Maine people and companies the opportunity to thrive and prosper." ALEC highlighted Governor LePage as the only governor in the country who proposed eliminating their state's income tax. "Governor Paul LePage delivered one of the most meaningful addresses in terms of tax policy," the report stated. "The governor specifically emphasized the need for Maine to look at other states around the country that are prospering economically and to mimic the actions of those states so Maine would similarly prosper. Governor LePage noted that Maine's high taxes, particularly on personal income, are holding the state back, leading him to propose gradual reductions in Maine's income tax rate and its eventual elimination by 2024." ALEC praised Governor LePage for emphasizing that "reducing and eliminating the income tax would be far better than increasing the state's minimum wage due to the fact that eliminating the personal income tax ‘will put $900 million back in the paychecks of Mainers,' and allow businesses to keep and hire more employees." ALEC also looked at how Governors proposed dealing with other taxes, including business taxes and estate taxes. "Maine's Paul LePage offered pro-growth proposals," the report stated. "Corporate income taxes are one of the most harmful forms of taxes that can be levied on an economy because they make it more difficult for businesses to innovate, hire employees and raise wages." As stated in a 2015 ALEC report, Rich States, Poor States: "States with the lowest corporate income tax substantially outperform their high tax counterparts in population growth, net domestic immigration, non-farm payroll employment growth, personal income growth and gross state product growth." In State of the States, ALEC commended Governor LePage for his call to "eliminate the death tax once and for all." In Rich States, Poor States, ALEC found: "The estate tax is an unfair double tax on income that was already taxed when it was earned by individuals who leave an estate for their family. But the estate tax is not just unfair-it is a killer of jobs and incomes in states." ALEC noted Maine's economic outlook ranking of 38 in Rich States, Poor States, which has moved up under the LePage administration, may look discouraging, but stated "the proposals outlined by Governor LePage are an excellent model for any state to follow in order to improv[...]



Governor to Reschedule Sanford Town Hall

Mon, 08 Aug 2016 13:32:15 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 8, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced his town hall scheduled for Wednesday, August 10, in Sanford has been postponed.

The Office of the Governor expects to reschedule the Sanford town hall in the near future. We apologize for any inconvenience.



Governor to Visit Sanford for Next Town Hall

Fri, 12 Aug 2016 09:43:43 EDT

For Immediate Release: Friday, August 12, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall on Wednesday, August 17 in Sanford, where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

The cafeteria at Sanford High School, 52 Sanford High School Blvd., is the location for the town hall from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's vision for Maine, including further reducing the income tax; reforming welfare by strengthening the State's safety net for the most vulnerable; cutting energy costs; and addressing Maine's high student debt burden.

The Governor will also highlight five of the referendum questions featured on the November ballot.



Governor to Visit South Paris for Next Town Hall

Mon, 25 Jul 2016 15:36:57 EDT

For Immediate Release: Monday, July 25, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall Wednesday, July 27, in South Paris where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.

Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School, 256 Main St, South Paris is the location for the town hall from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor's vision for Maine, including further reducing the income tax; reforming welfare by strengthening the State's safety net for the most vulnerable; cutting energy costs; and addressing Maine's high student debt burden. The Governor will also highlight the five referendum questions featured on the November ballot.