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Maine News

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Maine News for Thursday, August 23, 2007


Democrats tap candidate for special election
State House: Sheryl Briggs of Mexico will run for Randy Hotham's old seat in House District 93.

Rural hospitals receive federal grant
Tom Allen, D-Maine, announced that the federal government has awarded $385410 to small, rural hospitals in Maine. The grant is part of the Medicare Rural ...


Lobster fishing 'tie-ups' spread
Price and supply almost always are an issue for Maine lobster fishermen, even as catch totals have climbed steadily upward over the past 20 years.

Thursday's Letters to the Editor … Congress past v. today … Ethics in society

Editorial: Don't drink to that


Finding no partners, Augusta rejects consolidation
AUGUSTA -- Augusta schools are going to try to go it alone.

CONSOLIDATION Windsor sees 8-town district
WINDSOR -- Six towns that once made up a school district will come together again -- plus two new additions -- if approved by the state and voters in each of the towns.

CONSOLIDATION Winthrop: Maranacook, Fayette
WINTHROP -- The Winthrop School Board voted unanimously Wednesday to form a regional school unit consisting of Winthrop, Fayette and Maranacook Area Schools.

LTE: Tracking is un-American
I cannot believe that the Maine Democratic Party would stoop so low as to track a Republican senator, Sen. Susan Collins, while she was participating in a recent parade.


Democrats go first, picking Mexico candidate Briggs

Thursday, August 23, 2007

AUGUSTA (AP) - Looking to increase their hold on the state House of Representatives, Democrats in one of two newly open districts have selected a candidate for election in November.

Party officials said Wednesday that Sheryl Briggs of Mexico had been chosen the night before as the Democratic candidate for state representative in District 93.

A special election to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of Republican Randy Hotham of Dixfield will be held Nov. 6, coinciding with statewide voting on five ballot questions.

District 93 includes the towns of Canton, Carthage, Dixfield, Mexico and Peru.

"Sheryl's deep ties in the community and her strong work ethic make her a great candidate for office, and we are going to do everything we can to help her win this election. No doubt she will do a great job in Augusta," Maine Democratic Party Chairman John Knutson said Briggs is a solid candidate.

Republicans in District 93 have scheduled a nomination caucus for Aug. 29 and say several people have expressed interest in running.

"I am delighted by the number of Republicans who are willing to seek the party's nomination," Oxford County Republican Party Chairman Dan Bolling said in a statement. "Having so many people interested in serving honors the leadership and commitment to public service that Rep. Hotham has brought to the state Legislature."

The recent death of Republican Rep. Earl Richardson of Greenville has left another House vacancy in District 27.

District 27 includes the municipalities of Abbot, Barnard, Beaver Cove, Blanchard Township, Bowerbank, Brownville, Cambridge, Elliottsville Townships, Greenville, Guilford, Kingsbury, Monson, Northeast Piscataquis, Northwest Piscataquis, Parkman, Plantation of Kingsbury, Sebec, Shirley, and Willimantic.

District Republicans will hold a special caucus to choose a nominee next Tuesday.

Democrats are expected to pick their candidate in District 27 on Monday.

On June 12, majority Democrats picked up a seat in the Maine House of Representatives when Deane Jones of Mount Vernon was elected to fill a seat vacated by the death of Republican Rep. Abigail Holman of Fayette.

Jones defeated Republican Penelope Morrell of Belgrade. House District 83 also includes the towns of Manchester and Vienna.

With two vacancies, the current partisan makeup of the House of Representatives is 89 Democrats, 58 Republicans and two independents.


Democratic leaders, Baldacci huddle on legislative options

Thursday, August 23, 2007

AUGUSTA (AP) - Democratic House and Senate leaders met with Gov. John Baldacci on Wednesday to discuss new initiatives for next year's legislative session. After their meeting with the Democratic chief executive, the majority party lawmakers did not rule out an attempt at action even earlier.

At the same time, participants said, no one committed to anything and additional talks are expected.

"No firm plans yet," Baldacci said.

Joining the governor for the session were Senate President Beth Edmonds, House Speaker Glenn Cummings and the majority leaders of the House and Senate, Rep. Hannah Pingree and Sen. Elizabeth Mitchell.

Edmonds, exiting the governor's office, did not go into detail. But the Freeport lawmaker spoke of a general interest in planning ways to "tie up loose ends" left over from this year's regular session, when in one notable development a late effort to overhaul the state tax code foundered.

Cummings rejected a suggestion that the governor was uninterested in tax reform.

"I think from this discussion he's very serious about it," the Portland Democrat said.

Cummings said the talks had touched inconclusively on the desirability of waiting until January to resume action or taking up new proposals in a special session later this year.

He also said ideas under discussion included spending controls and an income tax reduction, as well as some shift in the control of local jails from the counties to the state.

Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, called Wednesday's discussions with the governor a "beginning."

The Democratic lawmakers said they would confer among themselves on Thursday and report back to Baldacci next week.

Baldacci, who has also met with Republican leaders recently, said he was "encouraged" by his consultations with the Democrats but offered no specifics.

"We have to continue to look at administrative efficiencies, we have to look at restructuring, ... reducing administrative costs," he said. "And our citizens need tax relief."

Officials announced separately Wednesday that the Maine Senate will convene on the morning of Sept. 20 for voting on confirmation of various Baldacci appointments.

Maine's new state budget, $6.3 billion over two years in General Fund money, counts on a little more than $10 million in savings that have not yet been specified.

The Appropriations Committee has given state agencies until the end of the week to suggest ways to meet - in fact, more than meet - the savings target.

The committee is looking for $30 million in savings suggestions.

Meanwhile, communities around the state face an Aug. 31 deadline for filing their initial school system consolidation reports.

The consolidation plan is designed to reduce the state's 152 school administrative systems to 80. First-year state savings have been pegged at $36.5 million.

Upcoming as part of a series of community deadlines is an end-of-August requirement for notifying the state of merger plans.

Final organization plans are due by Dec. 1, and by Jan. 15, 2008, cities and towns would be expected to vote on whether to approve mergers.


Bush supporters launch $15 million ad campaign

Thursday, August 23, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - Former White House aides are joining Republican fundraisers in bankrolling a $15 million, five-week advertising campaign putting pressure on lawmakers whose backing of President Bush's Iraq war strategy may be wavering.

The group, Freedom's Watch, launched the ads Wednesday, even as Bush delivered a renewed call for keeping U.S. forces in Iraq. The money will pay for ad placements on national cable and local television stations as well as on radio and the Internet.

The ads will run in 20 states and will urge viewers to ask their member of Congress to stand by Bush's plan.

Organizers of the effort would not identify the targeted lawmakers, but a review of the initial TV ad placements - done by a group opposed to the war - shows most of them are in Republican congressional districts.

The ads could affect presidential politics as well. The group is paying for a substantial ad placement in Iowa, the leadoff caucus state in the presidential nominating contest. While aimed at members of Congress, the ads will compete for air time with presidential spots and could influence voter attitudes as candidates seek their support.

The ads feature soldiers wounded in the war or family members of soldiers killed in the war calling on lawmakers to support the current deployment of troops.

"The global war on terror requires American engagement, and if we surrender now, then I think it makes a more dangerous United States and a more dangerous world," said Bradley A. Blakeman, a lawyer and former White House official who is president of the new group. He said the ads are timed in anticipation of a progress report next month by Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. military commander in Iraq.

Freedom's Watch was organized as a nonprofit organization under IRS rules and is not required to identify its donors or the amounts they give. The group named some of its financial backers but Blakeman said others wished to remain out of the public eye.

Among those publicly behind the effort are billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a fundraiser for Bush and chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., and conservative philanthropist John M. Templeton Jr. of Bryn Mawr, Pa. Both men have been major contributors to conservative causes. Also backing Freedom's Watch are top Republican donors Anthony Gioia, Mel Sembler and Howard Leach, all former ambassadors in the Bush administration. Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer is a founding member of the group.

An analysis of the ad placements by Americans United for Change, a group opposed to the war, found Freedom's Watch ads in 33 markets, many of them represented by moderate Republican senators and House members, including Iowa, Indiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, Tennessee and South Dakota.

The ads also are running in Kentucky, New Mexico and Ohio where Republicans Sens. Mitch McConnell, Pete Domenici and George Voinovich are being targeted in ads by war opponents.

Blakeman, a former deputy assistant to Bush for appointments and scheduling, declined to discuss the ad placements.

"The main mission is to educate not only the member, but also their constituents that surrender is not an option," he said.


The Pro War Ad Campaign

LTE: Resolving 'our' war
As September approaches, let us hold out hope that Congress will act in a responsible fashion and state a time when American forces will leave Iraq, and that this time will be soon.



EDITORIAL: There’s no crying in politics - We don’t know which is more idiotic: U.S. Senator Susan Collins, one of the most powerful people in the nation whining that she feels intimidated by a little camera man from the Tom Allen campaign following her around, or The Bangor Daily News backing her up.


Protesters to return to Kennebunkport this weekend

President Bush may have left town, but that won't stop what could be thousands of protesters coming here this weekend for what's been billed as a "Stop the War Rally" and a "Concert for Peace."


Fort Monmouth panel asks for extension
Susan Collins (RMaine) sent a letter to Sen. Carl Levin D-Mich.), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, and John McCain (RAriz. ...


Groups plan $30 million battle over war
Susan Collins (R-Maine), whose home state is being blitzed by pro- and anti-war ads. Collins is running for re-election next year and is a top Democratic ...


Remounting Lamont

It's been a year since Ned Lamont came out of the clear blue Greenwich sky—waving wads of cash and love notes from bloggers—to pummel Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary.


ENPR: Week of August 22, 2007
Susan Collins (R). Pingree, who challenged Collins in 2002, had already raised nearly $250000 before she reeled in the endorsement this month of the ..

Nets Declare Bush's Vietnam Analogy Hypocritical and Invalid, Only ...
O'DONNELL: On the other side, a TV campaign from a group long critical of many Bush policies, targeting Republicans, like Maine Senator Susan Collins. VOICE IN AD FROM AMERICANS UNITED FOR CHANGE: Tell Susan Collins it's time to take a ...

WLOB’s Ray Richardson: Snowe Does Not Represent the GOP I Love - If you elect a Republican majority in the Maine House and Senate and the Blaine House in the image of Snowe, in essence, you have given up your party and its beliefs.

Dean Scontras, Jack Wibby to Speak at Constitution Party Meeting, 9/22

Who is Dean Scontras?

Mike Brennan mentions me in campaign speech

Allen's Bill to Sell Out Maine's Coast to Gov't or NGO's

Lance Dutson wants Sen. Susan Collins & Congressman Tom Allen to have a thoughtful debate on Iraq

Brennan for Congress Campaign Update

Candidate Questions

Democrats’ Senate Fundraising Committee Stayed Hot in July

2008 Elections: United States Senate - While fighting day and night against the policies of President Bush, it is almost easy to overlook the upcoming battle for the United States Senate ... (Oregon), Susan Collins (Maine), John Sununu (New Hampshire) and Norm Coleman (Minnesota

Pro War Group Runs Ads Urging Republicans To... - Following up on torridjoe's Breaking Blue post, Freedom's Watch, ... Republicans out of a total of 41 targeted members, notably: Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins and Gordon