Weekly Republican Radio Address – October 1, 2021

This is Representative Kathy Downes with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

I want to first begin by taking a moment to reflect on the memory and legacy of Hancock County Sheriff’s Deputy Luke Gross, who was struck by an oncoming vehicle, and killed, while responding to a call in the early morning a week ago. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fellow deputies.

Earlier this week, the legislature convened to vote on the newly drawn state house, state senate, county commissioner, and congressional districts. This process is based off the census, and conducted every ten years, as outlined in the Maine Constitution.

Members of the Apportionment Commission are from both parties and in equal numbers. Representative Morris, Rep. Kryzak, and Rep. Parry, served the House Republicans in this process.  

I am proud that we were able to reach a bipartisan agreement on the 151 house districts, 35 senate districts, county commissioner and congressional districts. Starting in the June primaries in 2022, you will be voting in your new district. To find out how your district changed, and what your new district number is, you can call your local municipality or visit: legislature.maine.gov/apportionment.

At the beginning of next year, the legislature will start the second regular session. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some of the successes Republicans had in the first session:

To help address known shortages, Republicans advocated MaineCare wage rates for home and community-based services be increased to 125 percent of the minimum wage, and emergency rate increases for nursing and senior living facilities continue. Additionally, Republicans and Democrats expanded the use of telehealth services to provide better healthcare access for Mainers.

We are particularly proud of the direct tax relief Mainers will receive after we successfully negotiated more than $300 million dollars to go back to Maine tax filers. Our priorities provided over $150 million in direct relief payments, up to $300, for over half a million Maine tax filers. It was the end result of a Republican attempt to provide the same $10,200 state income tax exemption, provided to unemployed Mainers, to those who worked during the pandemic.

Republicans restored revenue sharing to 5% in the second year, which corrected Governor Mills’ 33% reduction (LD 715- Part F) in distributions to municipalities and provided them the funds to help stabilize or reduce property taxes.

Increased reimbursement to municipalities for tax property tax revenue lost as a result of the Homestead Exemption. This State program exempts the first $25,000 from property taxes, but only 70% of the lost revenue for the municipality is only reimbursed by the state. That reimbursement will now increase over the next ten years until it reaches 100%. This is a win-win for property owners and municipalities.

Proposed biennial budget spending was reduced by close to $300 million, along with reductions in unnecessary new state government positions. Maine has seen an influx of more than $14 billion in federal money since the start of the pandemic, and it is vital that we plan for when that federal money can no longer be relied upon.

Additionally, Republicans voted against several bills to decriminalize various type of drug procession, including fentanyl.  These bills passed along party lines but ultimately were vetoed by the Governor.

Republican sponsored LD 467 ensured that dispatchers and correction officers were included as first responders to ensure proper mental health treatments are available following traumatic work related events.

The last several months have certainly been an extraordinary time in our state. I hope everyone in your family has been able to stay safe and healthy, and continues to do so as we head into autumn.

This has been Representative Kathy Downes with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

Thank you for listening, subscribing, and following us on Instagram and Facebook.

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Weekly Republican Radio Address – September 17, 2021

The Maine Apportionment Commission will be wrapping up its work in the coming two weeks and the Legislature will weigh in on the newly drawn districts.

This is Representative Joshua Morris, of Turner, with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.  

Every ten years, the legislature is required to redraw legislative districts to account for changes in population. This includes Maine’s two congressional districts, county commissioner districts, 35 Senate districts, and 151 House districts. The Maine Constitution also requires that the decennial census be used to guide reapportionment. 

Maine’s method for redrawing district lines is also laid out in our state’s constitution.  We use a bipartisan commission comprised of equal members of both parties.  Further, any plan must be approved by two thirds of the legislature or otherwise end up in court.

Typically, this work would need to be completed by June 11th in the year following the census.  This year has, of course, been different as data from the census usually provided in March was not available until August. That means the commission will have only had six weeks to complete the work that in a normal cycle is done over three months.

Despite the accelerated timeline, I am confident that we will be able to reach bipartisan agreement on the 151 districts of the Maine House.  Both sides have been meeting regularly and have worked well together.

With a changing population, each house district will increase in size to approximately 9,000 people per legislative district.  One of the strengths of our citizen legislature here in Maine is that our districts are small enough so that every citizen, if they choose, can meet with and get to know their legislator.

Strong representation means having districts that are responsive to the citizens who live there to ensure every Mainer has a voice.

The commission is working hard under difficult circumstances, and I am optimistic there will be broad bipartisan support for house legislative districts.

This has been Representative Joshua Morris with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. Thank you for listening, subscribing, and following us on Instagram and Facebook.

Maine’s Lobster Industry is Under Siege

Maine’s lobstermen and women are under attack by the Biden Administration after a recent set of rule changes restricting seasonal lobster fishing in 950 square miles of federal waters off Maine’s coast. This is an inflexible and poorly considered attempt to protect the North Atlantic right whale population.

The series of rule changes are the most heavy-handed in a long line of attempts to undermine the lobster industry here in Maine. If our fisheries are not protected, and if these rules are not reversed, Maine’s fishermen and women will not recover. 

This is State Representative Sherm Hutchins, of Penobscot, with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.  

Members of my family contribute to the lobster industry that generated over half a billion dollars for our state in 2020. I can attest to their frustration, which is shared by other lobstermen and women, to the extremity of these recent changes by the Biden administration.

I can personally attest to how extreme and destructive these recent changes by the Biden administration are.

The 950 square miles, from Mt. Desert Island to Casco Bay, that will be off-limits for fishermen between the months of October and January, will have a major impact for off-shore lobster fishing and will displace countless fishermen, and overcrowd areas outside the restricted zone.

In addition to this rule, gear marking changes will require lobstermen to purchase new equipment, which is not only burdensome, but costly. This comes after Maine took proactive measures to fill data gaps by implementing state specific gear-marking regulations. Measures that mean fishermen who previously modified gear will need to go out and buy it all again. 

Lobstermen cannot propose alternative and more cost effective measures, and these actions undermine the trust between the industry and regulators necessary for sustainable fisheries.   This is government’s “it’s my way or the highway” mentality—this is government knowing best. 

For decades, lobstermen and Maine fisheries have been making line reductions and gear improvements. We made reductions in 1997 and 2007. As a result, the U.S. lobster fisheries have reduced right whale entanglements in American lobster gear by over 90%. Now, this new series of rules calls for an increase in reduction in gear, which puts the safety of fellow lobstermen and women at great risk.

As I said before, these rules come from an attempt to protect the North Atlantic right whale population; however, NOAA is attempting to prevent entanglements and deaths of right whales that are not occurring in Maine waters. 

The Biden Administration, and NOAA, are set on protecting the right whale population even those there is no evidence to support their extreme measures. This administration is pinning the blame on our lobster industry rather than confronting the Canadian government who has taken zero action to address concerns regarding the large number of right whale death in Canadian waters over the last 5 years.  

These set of rules are devoid of reality and common sense. The Biden administration is more concerned with looking like he is doing something, no matter how unsupported the policy, than considering how this action will endanger Maine’s lobster industry. 

Patrice McCarron, Executive Director of the Maine Lobstermen’s Association, has come out against these rule changes and stated that these come without the input from Maine lobstermen. If government will not listen to the men and women who make up this industry, who are they accountable to? 

Elections have consequences and this is one of them. 

This has been State Representative Sherm Hutchins with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. 

Thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram.

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August 20, 2021

This is State Representative Kathleen Dillingham, of Oxford, with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

Recently, the Governor, and her administration, used the Department of Health and Human Services public health emergency issued July 1, 2021, to mandate that all healthcare employers require their employees receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and those employees who do not, will lose their jobs. That is an estimated 10,000 healthcare employees.

Several of my colleagues and I signed a letter asking the Governor to rescind her mandate.  Instantly, this request was categorized as being anti-vaccination.  This was done in an attempt to distract from the broad concern about the role of government in private sector employment and individual’s lives.  This is a lazy form of debate in which instead of addressing the actual concern, those in support of mandating vaccines try to dismiss the topic by changing the subject.  It is arrogant and displays an unwillingness to do the hard work of listening to opposing views.

I am vaccinated and my opposition to a government mandate on a private employer has nothing to do with the vaccine itself.  I chose to get vaccinated without threat of job loss by the government.  I believe all individuals should be able to come to their own determination about this vaccine. Government should make the case for vaccines, but not try to force the decision through government mandates and threats.

I recognize the need for government in maintaining our system of ordered liberty, of protecting the rule of law, and the freedom of associations that ensures a flourishing civil society.  But, a government unlimited interferes with that liberty.  It steps between you and your paycheck, it limits who you are allowed to associate with, it erodes the rule of law by acting arbitrarily.   

Our government was instituted to preserve our natural rights to life and liberty.  It was not instituted to make decisions on our behalf or in our best interest. If we can’t do that for ourselves then the entire notion of this experiment in protecting liberty through self-government is called into question.  The words of President Abraham Lincoln, “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this Earth,” still hold the same promise as the day they were uttered but, with every overreach of government, our democracy is chipped away until one day it becomes government over the people.

A statement was released by the Governor’s office saying, “Maine has long required vaccination for healthcare workers for a number of diseases and the new requirement simply adds the COVID-19 vaccine.” 

What we have long had in Maine is the ability for private employers, including healthcare providers, to determine what they expect of their employees.  When government steps in, there is an ability for the people to register their support or lack thereof–for their voices to be heard.  In this instance, there was no hearing but rather the highhandedness of the administration telling Maine employers, and employees, that their government knows best, and either comply or be punished by losing your job. 

The Governor said, “With this requirement, we are protecting healthcare workers, their patients, including our most vulnerable, and our health care capacity,” as well as saying, “Every person has the right to expect that they will receive high-quality and safe care.”

The administration seems to be unaware of the impact their actions are having on the people they say they are so concerned about.

For well over a year, we have hailed these, and other frontline workers, as heroes, because of their willingness to serve us in the face of danger to themselves, and their families; never questioning their commitment to the health of their patients.

But now, government is stepping in and questioning the commitment of our healthcare workers to their patients.

If the remaining healthcare workers who have not chosen to get vaccinated are fired from their positions, what is the impact to our facilities already facing a healthcare shortage?  What about the years of experience and knowledge that may be lost?  What about the impact on their families and the mental health of those involved?

Further, what is all of this doing to our communities?  I can remember when the Governor took office that she said she wanted to ‘take Maine in a new direction.’  Well, here we are, having come through one of the most divisive and partisan sessions I can remember from my time in Augusta.  Bills were routinely killed along party lines with little to no discussion.  We have families and neighbors refusing to speak and see each other due to arguments over masks and vaccines.  We have citizens celebrating the death of individuals that they don’t even know, saying the vilest things but believing it is justified due to philosophical differences over government, COVID-19, vaccines, and masks.

I can’t imagine the direction she was referencing was the loss of our humanity, but, here we are, with little being done to bring us together.  

From my perspective, I still believe in this experiment of democracy and, over the coming months, I intend to highlight the limiting principles on which there should be broad agreement to keep our government in check, and protect our liberty.    

Looking across the legislative session just completed, the last 19 months of COVID, and to the future policies of democratic majorities, I hope Mainers will seek out those limiting principles, and ask themselves with each progressive policy change limiting individuals; Does the government have this authority?  Should the government have this authority?

The impetus to ask this question is the immediate assertion of the Governor that she can require your private employer to fire you from your private sector job.  We should broadly agree that the government does not have that authority, even if you agree with the ends the government is trying to achieve.  Beyond the immediate, the long-term success of our state and nation depends on the reassertion of the principles of limited government. Mainers deserve the opportunities afforded by free association and the liberty to pursue their own happiness.  We should never give up on government of the people, by the people, for the people.

This is Representative Kathleen Dillingham. Thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram. 

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As President Ronald Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help. “

This is Representative MaryAnne Kinney with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.  

The legislature has been out of session for about two weeks now, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to take a moment to reflect on this past session and its implications on Maine’s future.

For the last two elections, Democrats have controlled the legislature, and have been in the driver’s seat passing policies that impact your life everyday. 

As I was checking myself out of Hannaford, I realized that, once again, I forgot my reusable bags in the car. This inconvenience got me thinking…How are other Mainers feeling about the additional burdens placed on them by the progressive driven policies of legislative Democrats? 

As Republicans, we tend to focus on the financial burden the government puts on Mainers. Whether it be taxing your income, your property, the goods you purchase, or through nickel and diming you to death with fees–the government will get their self-imposed share. 

There are of course other costs to the government that don’t directly hit your wallet and are felt less in the bank account but more in just getting through your day-to-day life.

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle only seem to see the government as helpful so, for them, the more laws they pass the more help there is for you in your life. 

That day, after checking myself out of Hannaford–with groceries overflowing my arms and consequently falling to the ground–I realized that this cause and effect was a direct reflection of government help. My choices were to either be forced to pay a fee for simply trying to get my groceries to the car in a bag that was previously free, pay for a more flimsy “reusable” bags, or just carry them to the car. 

In truth, during the last three years of progressive policy making, more government means a harder life.

Healthcare is important to all of us, especially in the wake of the pandemic, and yet, Democrats supported new laws that will drive up your health insurance premiums. They passed insurance laws that the Attorney General of the State said were “unconstitutional” and “would cost taxpayers thousands of dollars in penalties.”  Paying more for your insurance because the State puts on additional mandates and regulations doesn’t make your life easier.

Schools are a vital part of our communities, our property tax base, our working families and our children’s future.  We were pleased to support funding our Maine schools above 55%; but, through the last year, when we needed our schools to work–when we needed them for our children–progressive policy makers closed access, even after the science showed they could safely be opened for in person learning. 

This dogmatic adherence to a policy position of closed schools didn’t make our children’s lives better.  Relentless planning and adjustments required for hybrid learning didn’t make our teacher’s lives better.

Our police saw themselves, and the work they do, come under attack by progressive policies of legislative Democrats. Like schools, our police are important community partners who ensure we have safe places to live because of the risks they take.  Yet there were laws sponsored to remove their ability to do their job, laws passed to reduce thresholds for drug trafficking despite the increases in drug related deaths.  This isn’t the government working to reduce access to drugs, this isn’t the government making your town safer or your lives better.

Looking ahead, what we need is a policy approach that seeks to eliminate the burdens government places in your way.  We need to back away from the progressive philosophy that says, “all government is good government,” and that “all laws make life better,” and move instead toward a policy that says, “life is hard enough already. You don’t need the government weighing you down more.” 

Looking to the future, let’s ensure we aren’t passing laws that increase your insurance premiums but instead are providing you with better healthcare access through greater choice and lower rates; that our schools serve our children, and our communities, by setting public policies that ensure schools remain open and focused on academics.  Let’s keep our communities safe and not demonize our police. Instead, let’s embrace them as the important community partners they are and ensure they are treated as the friends and neighbors that they are.  

Let’s look to pursue new government policies that don’t grind you down day after day, and that make something as simple as buying groceries panic-inducing and something as important as educating your children impossible.  

This has been Representative MaryAnne Kinney with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. Thank you for listening and your consideration.

‘Follow’ us on Instagram; ‘Like’ us on Facebook; and if you haven’t heard, you can listen to this radio address on Spotify and Apple Podcasts by searching: Maine House Republicans.   

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Minority Republicans achieved some victories on tax relief 

The Legislature finally adjourned July 19, over a month after the June 16 deadline in statute, and months after Democrats pretended their work was done in March so that Republicans could be excluded from the traditional, bipartisan budget process.

This is State Representative Jack Ducharme of Madison proudly serving House District 111, Madison, Norridgewock and Solon with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

When Republicans were included in budget decisions, we were able to advocate to provide tax relief for all Mainer’s, not just special interest groups. 

With Republican persistence:

  • $150 million in collected tax dollars will be returned to the Maine people

Republicans pushed for $300 million in tax relief, but Appropriation Democrats would not agree to this; instead, a compromise was reached for the $150 million in tax relief for around 500,000 tax filers in the form of $300 checks to be delivered in December.

  • Increased the homestead reimbursement rate to municipalities

For years, municipalities have been covering the full cost of the state mandated homestead exemption.  Majority Democrats have finally agreed to incrementally increase the rate of reimbursement from 70% to 100% over the next several years, thus additionally supporting tax relief for Mainers.

  • Increased the municipal revenue sharing rate, above what was proposed by the Governor.

For years, state government has not met their agreement with municipalities to return 5% of tax revenue back to them.  Legislative Republicans pushed to honor the agreement with municipalities and reach the 5%, supporting further tax relief for Mainers.

  • Supported a $10,200 state income tax exemption for unemployed Mainers

Given the unprecedented loss of jobs and employers caused by the Governor’s forced shut down of businesses, Republicans supported the idea of holding those people harmless from the income tax because their job status was the direct result of government action. 

  • Provided tax conformity to prevent federal PPP loans from being taxed

The Governor proposed taxing the businesses that took PPP loans.  These loans were used to retain their employees and helped ensure thousands of Mainers were able to keep their job.  The Democrats proposal to collect a portion of these loans in taxes was unacceptable to Republicans and was in clear violation of the intent Senator Collins had when she wrote the bill that created the program.

  • Replenished recommended levels in the budget stabilization fund

After repeated Republican calls for more money in the state’s reserve fund, that fund now has $492 million set aside in case there is another emergency.

Republicans also stopped progressive policies that targeted farmers, local control of our schools and government overreach. 

There were a number of areas where Republicans and Democrats were able to reach agreement for Maine people.  

These included:

  • Investments in health care, mental health and substance abuse
  • Expanded broadband access 
  • Additional money for roads and bridges 
  • State funding more than 55% of education costs 
  • Increased funding for nursing Homes and direct care workers

  Overall, the partisan tone of this past session increased from previous sessions. 

When Democrats realized that any budget deal with Republicans would result in money being returned to Maine citizens, they decided to exclude them.  

They achieved this by utilizing a parliamentary tactic based in a false narrative that required pretending the legislature completed its work for the year on March 30. They then called a special session, worked over a month past the statutory June 16 adjournment date and carried over hundreds of bills for consideration in the next session meant to deal with emergency pieces of legislation. 

Rather than return tax dollars to the Maine people and acknowledge that people are receiving more of their own money back, Democrats are calling the Republican tax relief checks “Covid Disaster Relief Payments.”  Let’s be clear, this is not borrowed money. This is returning your money to you, rather than allowing government to spend it on new ongoing programs. 

Without Republican support, legislation also passed the legislature to reduce thresholds for trafficking narcotics and methamphetamines and penalties for the possession of those same drugs.

Maine families will pay an estimated $39 to $52 more a month on consumer goods because of a new state package recycling law.  Consumers are already paying more at grocery stores because the legislature eliminated plastic bags. 

Regarding the state budget, it has increased to $8.5 billion dollars after increasing 11% during Governor Mills first two years in office. 

Without Republican resistance over the last three years, it would be well north of $9 billion by now.  

The growth of government these past three years is alarming and, if unchecked, will restrain future economic growth.  

Republican efforts did reduce the potential future tax burden by nearly $300 million dollars, but the growth of government will also mean that people have less money to spend.

More troubling than the level of partisanship this session was national agenda-driven tone of some of our debates.

Some of the Legislature’s newest members seem to believe that institutional racism is Maine’s biggest problem.

There was less respect this session for Maine laws and members of our law enforcement community.

There were also attacks on the men and women putting food on our tables, Maine farmers, with some members of the Legislature labeling farming as being based in racism.

Despite the current political climate, Republicans were able to achieve some victories, but in order for us to turn things around, continued public awareness and involvement is needed.   

Republicans are working to support all Mainers by supporting policies that strengthen Maine’s economy and the ability for them to realize the American Dream.

We do not believe in picking winners and losers or treating others differently according to what group they belong too or identify with.  We believe in providing an environment that supports all individuals being able to succeed and achieve their goals.  It is our responsibility to ensure that the government is there to assist them but not stand in their way or provide disincentives, so they choose not to thrive on their own or in some other state.

This has been State Representative Jack Ducharme with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

We ask you to help us spread our message in a world where differing viewpoints are increasingly censored.   

Thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Weekly Republican Radio Address – July 8, 2021

The Legislature recently passed another supplemental budget to address deficiencies in the partisan biennial budget passed last March. This time, it received bipartisan support thanks to public outcry from listeners like you.

Democrats were wary of ramming through yet another budget piece without input from Republicans who collectively represent over 400 Maine towns and cities.

This is State Representative Jon Connor of Lewiston with the Weekly Republican Radio Address.

Maine benefits when both parties have a seat at the budget table and decide together how to allocate your tax money.

That was not the case in March, when Democrats broke precedent and used parliamentary maneuvers to exclude Republicans from the budget process.

To achieve this, a budget was passed by a simple majority vote, and then the Legislature adjourned on March 30, saying their work was finished for the year.

The Legislature met in person a handful of times, pretended their work was complete, then carried forward hundreds of bills.  

Public reaction was swift and strong.

Because of that public reaction, Democrats included Republican input to address the Governor’s change package totaling an additional $940 million.

The result was:

  • The state will fund more than 59% of education costs 
  • Increased funding for nursing Homes and direct care workers
  • Revenue sharing increases for cities and towns
  • Increasing homestead property tax reimbursements to cities and towns to promote property tax relief
  • Investments in health care, mental health and substance abuse
  • Expanding broadband access
  • Adding $60 million to the state’s “rainy day” reserve
  • Securing money for roads and bridges

Where Republican involvement made the most difference was in the area of tax relief.

Early on, Republicans issued their priorities, which included property and income tax relief. This included giving the same $10,200 income tax exemption to working people that was provided to the unemployed.

Unfortunately, majority Democrats rejected this proposal to provide tax relief for working people and retirees.

In the end, Democrats agreed to return $150 million of the additional $940 million in revenue to the people in the form of direct a $300 payment to tax filers.

This will go to over 500,000 year-round tax filers in Maine.

Let’s be clear, this is not borrowed money. This is returning money to you, rather than allowing government to spend it on new ongoing programs.

Republican budget involvement also ensured that overall spending is limited to $8.5 billion over two years instead of the $8.77 billion proposed by majority Democrats and the Governor.  

This budget is still substantially higher than Governor LePage’s last budget and higher than what Republicans would propose if given control of the legislature.

Republican efforts did reduce the potential future tax burden by nearly $300 million dollars.

In spite of the current political climate, Republicans were able to help shape the budget and return as much money as possible to you because of public opinion and involvement by people like you.  

With your help and support, our goal is to cut taxes and achieve far more in the future by getting government out of the way and putting Maine back on the path to prosperity.

This has been State Representative Jon Connor with the Republican Weekly Radio Address.

Thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram.

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 Budget compromise directs tax relief to pandemic workers

AUGUSTA- To achieve a bipartisan budget, appropriations committee Democrats have agreed to the Republican position of returning $150 million of taxpayer money back to Mainers who worked during the pandemic. Although it is less than the $300 million initially proposed by Republicans, this breakthrough generated unanimous support from Republican Appropriations Committee members. If approved by two-thirds of the full legislature, the budget would take effect immediately upon passage, not ninety days later. Since April, Republicans have insisted that the same $10,200 state income exemption given to unemployed Mainers be extended to those who worked during the pandemic.

“Mainers that worked during the pandemic should receive some type of acknowledgement and reward for their efforts,” said House Republicans Leader Kathleen Dillingham. “The goal of passing a bipartisan budget creates the opportunity to return $150 million back to an estimated 500,000 tax filers if this budget passes. Passage of this budget will deliver positive results for Mainers. It includes real property tax relief by increasing the Homestead Exemption reimbursement to municipalities over time to 100%, increased Revenue Sharing, and funding state and local school aid at 55%. The proposed budget also contains funding for nursing home and direct care workers, a top priority of ours.”

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Post Emergency Order Review Is Needed

Most people have heard that Governor Mills will allow her emergency order to expire after another two-week extension. The State of Civil Emergency has been in place for the last 15 months.

With that welcome news, the legislature should begin the process of reviewing the State’s response to COVID-19 and evaluate what worked and what did not.

This is Representative Will Tuell of East Machias with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. 

I am pleased that the State of Civil Emergency will finally be coming to an end; with every end comes a new beginning. As the Lead House Republican on the committee responsible for overseeing state and local government, we should begin the work of reviewing the state’s actions over the last 15 months. 

State government has operated in an unprecedented state of emergency. If a citizen legislature is to mean anything, it must properly review the state’s actions over the last year and a half. 

Unfortunately, this past week, Democrats voted to kill legislation that would have allowed such an audit to take place. 

LD 817, A Resolve to Establish the COVID-19 Review Commission, was defeated 77-68, with only a single Democrat voting for the review.

This proposed commission would have been fully bipartisan and charged with studying and collecting information about Maine’s response to COVID-19, including:

  1. State laws, rules and policies governing the State’s response, including executive orders;
  2. Contracts entered into related to executing the Governor’s emergency proclamation and related executive orders;
  3. Department of Health and Human Services, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention response, including testing and use of contact tracers;
  4. Policies and rules connected to COVID-19 implemented by state agencies;
  5. Federal, state and local intergovernmental coordination;
  6. Distribution of vaccines, including the use of public and private methods;
  7. Availability of medical equipment and supplies, including personal protective equipment;
  8. Interagency communication and information sharing;
  9. Scope of the Governor’s emergency powers, including review of emergency orders issued by the Governor, and accountability to other branches of government;
  10. Response of hospitals, nursing homes and other congregate settings;
  11. Economic relief policies;
  12. Overall health and economic impact on communities, including racial and ethnic minority populations, of COVID-19 infections and deaths and the state mitigation response;
  13. State and local government preparedness and response to executive orders related to the declared COVID-19 emergency;
  14. The preparedness and response of the federally recognized Indian tribes, nations and bands located within the State to the declared COVID-19 emergency; and
  15. Other matters related to the COVID-19 response as determined by the commission.

All of this to be reported back to the Joint Standing Committee on State and Local Government.

This is not about partisanship and political gamesmanship. 

This is about the future, understanding what worked well, what did not, and what could be done differently in the future.

Mainers forced to live in a State of Civil Emergency for a year and a half deserve a thorough, thoughtful review by their elected officials.

The partisan line preventing this review must be removed and both parties must work together going forward.

That is why the legislature should reconsider LD 817, and pass it, so that we can begin the work of overseeing Maine’s COVID response to identify any future changes that need to be made. 

The emergency may be drawing to a close, but the work of understanding what happened over the last 15 months, and what to do about it going forward, is just beginning.  

My Democrat colleagues in the House should join us in bringing back the legislation they voted down so that we can get to work for the people of Maine.

This has been Representative Will Tuell with the Republican Weekly Radio Address.

Thank you for listening, subscribing, sharing, and following us on Facebook and Instagram.

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May 28, 2021 – Weekly Republican Radio Address – Memorial Day Tribute

In facing our nation’s greatest threats, heroic men and women have answered the call to service. This weekend, Mainers will take part in remembering the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women who unfortunately did not make it home. 

Serving one’s country is among the most valiant of pursuits, and we are grateful for those who fell in the name of freedom and independence.

This is Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford. During this week’s Republican Radio Address, please join me in paying tribute to our nation’s fallen heroes. 

In the words of President Abraham Lincoln, we pay our respects to those Americans who “gave the last full measure of devotion to their country.” We are indebted to their sacrifice for it was their faith in our nation’s founding vision of liberty that we are free.

It was their immeasurable sense of patriotism and love of country, that penetrated the darkness of tyranny and oppression, which gave way for our nation’s beacon of hope to shine in every corner of the world. 

We remember our fallen for their heroism on the beaches of Normandy, in the mountains of Afghanistan, throughout the jungles of Vietnam, and in far off lands in between. Their memory live on in our communities and in our grateful hearts. 

We see the cost of freedom by the flags in our cemeteries, the rows of marble at Arlington, and the wreaths on headstones across the world. We can never repay our debt of gratitude; however, in an effort to honor our fallen not just today, but every day here after, we can answer our call to service by placing our hands over our hearts, flags on our porches, and treating all as brothers and sisters in this great experiment of self government and liberty. 

As proud Americans, we owe it to those who did not see if our flag was still over Fort McHenry, or raised on top of Iwo Jima, to continue the vision of preserving our nation that they dedicated their life to defend. They lost their lives so that our nation, and our ideals, may live. 

I hope that we take with us every day that the cost of freedom is never free, and may it serve as our reminder that it is our responsibility to carry on the faith in a free world that they left behind. 

This has been Republican Leader Dillingham with the Weekly Republican Radio Address. Thank you for listening. 

May we never forget and may God bless America. 

YOUTUBE LINK:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBkCPQLnHoU