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Rep. Alexander Willette In the News

Fredette Urges Dems to Support Nursing Homes

May 1, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette and Assistant Leader Alex Willette are urging Senate Democrats to sustain Gov. LePage's veto of LD 1719, which would allocate tobacco settlement money for the Fund for a Healthy Maine, urging them instead to pass the Governor's bill to use those funds to increase the nursing home Medicaid reimbursement levels.

"We're facing the very real and imminent possibility of nursing homes closing their doors on elderly Mainers because the state has been...

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House Votes to Make Budget Bill Law

May 1, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to override Governor Paul Lepage's veto of LD 1858, the $30 million supplemental budget for Fiscal Year 2015. The budget was originally enacted with a vote of 136-8 and its veto was overridden with a vote of 134-12.

House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport issued the following statement.

"While I share Governor LePage's concerns with the budget's funding mechanism, I believe there is more good than bad in this bill...

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House Republicans Preparing for 'Veto Day'

May 1, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republicans are preparing for "veto day" on Thursday, May 1. As the final day of the 2014 regular session of the Maine Legislature, it is the Legislature's chance to override or sustain vetoes issued by Republican Governor Paul LePage. As of Tuesday morning, there are 30 vetoes to take up.

"The Governor's veto authority is an important check on the majority in the Legislature," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "For most of the past 40 years in Maine, ...

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Other States Facing Welfare Fines Implementing Reforms

April 23, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republicans on Wednesday said that other states missing welfare-to-work goals are reforming their welfare systems while majority Democratic politicians in Maine kill popular reform measures.

Maine Republicans in recent days have raised concerns about over $20 million in penalties for 2008-2011 imposed by the federal government for the state's loose welfare system that has resulted in Maine being one of only a handful of states to miss targets for work participation among r...

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As Unemployment Drops Again, House Republicans Tout Reforms

April 18, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republicans on Friday praised news from the Maine Department of Labor that Maine's unemployment rate has dropped below six percent for the first time since September 2008, to 5.9 percent in March.

"Over the past few years, Gov. Paul LePage and Republican lawmakers have implemented economic reforms that broke up the decades-old, big government status quo in Maine," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "We have a long way to go, but the repeated drop in Mai...

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Feds Fine Maine $7 Million for Low TANF Work Participation

April 17, 2014

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage announced Thursday that Maine is facing an additional $7 million in federal penalties for a low work participation rate in its Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash welfare program in 2011.

Maine already faces $13 million in similar penalties for 2007-2010, bringing the total to over $20 million in fines for Maine's notoriously loose welfare system.

"The two welfare reform bills I introduced that were shot down by majority Democratic lawma...

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Poll Shows Strong Support for Welfare Reform, Not Expansion

April 16, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Pan Atlantic SMS Group, a Portland-based research firm with a reputation for leaning left, has released its 53rd Maine omnibus poll. The poll indicates strong support for welfare reform in the wake of liberal politicians killing four welfare reform bills introduced by Republicans and Gov. Lepage.

The poll also shows Mainers divided on the issue of ObamaCare's welfare expansion, with 45.7 percent opposing and 48.5 percent supporting the measure, well within the poll's 4.9 pe...

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Dems to Mainers: Education Status Quo Will Have to Do

April 15, 2014

AUGUSTA - Maine House Democrats on Tuesday voted in favor of LD 995, a bill sponsored by Democratic Senate President Justin Alfond to ban virtual charter schools in Maine. House Republicans opposed the regressive measure.

"Day after day as the legislative session winds down, we're seeing Democratic politicians in Augusta consistently voting to protect the status quo in Maine's economy and education system," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Mainers want bold reforms t...

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House Dems Reject 'Open for Biz' Proposal in Stubborn Defense of Status Quo

April 14, 2014

AUGUSTA - The House on Monday rejected LD 1835, Governor LePage's bill to create "Open for Business" zones, in a party-line, 91-55 vote. The innovative proposal would establish tax and energy incentives while allowing for limited "Right to Work" at former military bases in Brunswick and Presque Isle.

"This vote was about stubbornly defending the status quo of Maine's economy versus trying something new and implementing bold reforms that would bring thousands of new jobs to our state," said...

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House Republican Leaders Praise Budget Agreement

April 10, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Wednesday morning praised a budget deal reached by the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee early Wednesday morning.

The deal closes a $30 million budget gap while moving disabled Mainers off of Medicaid wait lists and increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rate for Maine nursing homes, two priorities that Republicans have advocated strongly in favor of during the debate about Medicaid expansion.

"We've been saying for a w...

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Republicans Rally for Welfare Reform

April 7, 2014

AUGUSTA - Maine House and Senate Republican lawmakers on Friday afternoon rallied outside the State House to urge their Democratic colleagues to listen to their constituents and pass comprehensive welfare reform. They shared their own stories and those of their constituents regarding welfare abuse in Maine.

"As a town manager and a former police officer, I have a pretty good finger on the pulse of my community," said Rep. James Gillway (R-Searsport), sponsor of LD 1842, which eliminates ex...

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Rep. Fredette Urges Senate Dems to Pass His Work-Search-Before-Welfare Bill

April 7, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport on Monday urged Senate Democrats to approve LD 1815, his bill to establish an upfront work search requirement for job-ready Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) applicants.

"Opponents of welfare reform have spent a lot of time recently attacking other commonsense proposals to restrict EBT use, but they haven't justified their opposition to the work-search-before-welfare bill," said Rep. Fredette. "This is something that ...

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House GOP Leader Offers Welfare Reform Compromise

April 3, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette and Assistant Leader Alex Willette held a press conference Thursday to announce the introduction by Rep. Fredette of a compromise amendment to move welfare reform forward.

"Republicans want to implement reforms for the benefit of Maine taxpayers who support our welfare system and the neediest who depend on it," said Rep. Fredette. "We are willing to work with our Democratic colleagues in order to make that happen."

Rep. Fredette's amendme...

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Bill to Nullify Alexander Group Contract Draws Bipartisan Opposition

April 3, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives late Monday afternoon voted 77-57 in favor of LD 1794, a politically-motivated bill to nullify a contract between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Alexander Group, a Medicaid consulting firm hired to reduce costs in the MaineCare system.

Six House Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the unprecedented measure. They were Reps. Terry Hayes of Buckfield, Brian Jones of Freedom, Bryan Kaenrath of South Portland, Stanley Short ...

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Bill to Nullify Alexander Group Contract Draws Bipartisan Opposition

March 31, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives late Monday afternoon voted 77-57 in favor of LD 1794, a politically-motivated bill to nullify a contract between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Alexander Group, a Medicaid consulting firm hired to reduce costs in the MaineCare system.

Six House Democrats joined Republicans in opposing the unprecedented measure. They were Reps. Terry Hayes of Buckfield, Brian Jones of Freedom, Bryan Kaenrath of South Portland, Stanley Short ...

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House Republicans Oppose Union Rollback of Teacher Evaluations

March 31, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republicans on Monday afternoon voted in opposition to LD 1747 as amended by the Education Committee, which would undo major education reforms implemented by Governor LePage and the Republican-controlled Legislature of 2011-2012.

"Education reform is essential to economic growth and personal achievement for the next generation, and a strong system of teacher evaluations is critical to that reform process," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Maine's edu...

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House GOP Leaders' Statement on Rep. Chipman's USM Bill

March 27, 2014

AUGUSTA - Rep. Ben Chipman (I-Portland) has announced that he will present a bill proposal to the Legislative Council Thursday to delay and study the budget cuts being proposed by the University of Southern Maine's administrators. Bills submitted at this point in the 2014 legislative session, which is scheduled for adjournment in April, must receive the approval of a majority of the 10 members of legislative leadership.

"There will always be disagreement about how and where cuts are made,...

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Maine House Enacts Budget, Rainy Day Fund Bills

March 21, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives late Friday enacted two bills to restore the state's rainy day fund and balance the state's budget for fiscal year 2014 and part of fiscal year 2015.

"I'm glad that lawmakers from both parties were able to come together and manage Maine's finances," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "We may debate the issues passionately, but we're always committed to finding bipartisan agreement on the budget and I'm glad we were able to do ...

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Statutory Parenting: Liberals Deny Job Opportunities for Teens

March 19, 2014

AUGUSTA - A bill introduced by the Department of Labor with the support of the Maine School Management Association to expand work opportunities for high school students was rejected with a party line vote of 85-58 in the Maine House on Wednesday morning. Not a single party testified in opposition to the bill during its public hearing before the labor committee.

The bill, LD 1698, would simply allow teens to work in movie theaters and bowling alleys while streamlining work permitting rule...

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MaineCare Must Prioritize Nursing Homes, Waitlists Over Able-Bodied Adults

March 14, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Friday called attention to the underfunding of services for disabled and elderly Mainers, saying that these should be the priorities of Maine's scarce Medicaid dollars, not able-bodied, predominantly young adults.

"Medicaid and other public assistance programs were originally designed to help the elderly, the disabled, and children, not able-bodied young men," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "It's the severely autistic young man...

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House Republicans Call on Rank-and-File Dems to Reconsider Expansion

March 12, 2014

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican leadership on Wednesday urged rank-and-file House Democrats to join them in voting against ObamaCare's welfare expansion. Their call comes as the Maine Senate takes up LD 1487, a measure to expand the beleaguered MaineCare system to 70,000 able-bodied adults. The bill will move on to the House after receiving debate and initial votes in the Senate.

"Independent-minded House Democrats should join us in preventing this disastrous and unnecessary expansion o...

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Gov's Business Zone Proposal Means Real Reform for Maine's Economy

March 10, 2014

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican Leaders on Monday expressed enthusiasm and support for Governor Paul LePage's "Open for Business Zone" proposal being rolled out in a visit to Brunswick.

The Governor's proposal would create geographic zones in Maine that offer tax relief, regulatory reform, energy incentives, and Right to Work in order to encourage job creation and economic development.

"The Governor's plan offers real reforms for Maine's economy to kick-start job creation and shak...

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New Survey: Maine Small Biz Opposed to Medicaid Expansion

March 10, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Monday said a new survey of small business owners in Maine shows that expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare would cripple Maine's ability to retain and attract jobs for years.

The survey, released Monday morning by the Maine affiliate of the nonpartisan, nonprofit National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), finds that 93 percent of its Maine members believe Medicaid expansion would lead to higher state taxes within five years.

A total of 8...

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Sparks Fly: HHS Committee Votes Out Expansion Bill

March 3, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Maine Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee on Monday voted on party lines to approve a measure that would expand medical welfare to over 70,000 able-bodied adults while promising to implement managed care in the Medicaid system. Republicans opposed the proposal while Democrats supported it.

Rep. Carol McElwee (R-Caribou), an initial supporter of the expansion measure and member of the committee, voted against the bill, citing opposition both to managed care and ...

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GOP Leaders: Medicaid Expansion Alternative Already In Place

March 3, 2014

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican Leaders on Monday called attention to the built-in, default alternative to ObamaCare's welfare expansion. The health insurance exchange established by the federal government provides coverage that costs next to nothing to most of those who would be eligible for Medicaid if the state expanded.

"Virtually everything the Democrats say Medicaid expansion will do for the state will be done anyway by the exchange if we don't expand," said House Republican Leade...

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House GOP Statement on EBT Abuse Data

January 15, 2014

AUGUSTA As a result of a Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) request by The Maine Wire, the online news site of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center, data on the use of Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) welfare cards was released Tuesday. The information reveals thousands of transactions where taxpayer-funded welfare benefits were used at bars, liquor stores, smoke shops, and other inappropriate venues.

"I am disappointed but not surprised by this information," said House Republican ...

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Medicaid Expansion Study a Warning Against Signing Maine Taxpayers Up for ObamaCare

January 15, 2014

AUGUSTA - House Republican leadership encouraged their colleagues to consider the findings of an Alexander Group study released Friday before voting on the controversial proposal to have Maine pay for a massive expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare. The analysis estimates that the medical welfare expansion will cost the state $807 million over the first 10 years and lead to nearly two in five Mainers being enrolled in the government program.

"This is the most thorough analysis of the cons...

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Taxpayers Come Out in Force Against Medicaid Expansion

January 15, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Maine Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday held a public hearing on LD 1578, the bill to force the state to help fund an expansion of medical welfare to at least 70,000 able-bodied adults under ObamaCare.

The committee heard testimony in cyclesfive proponents followed by five opponents, repeated. As of 1:00 PM, after beginning at 9:00 AM, members of the public opposing welfare expansion were still matching testimony with those in favor of it, inc...

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2014 Session Should Focus on Reform

January 8, 2014

AUGUSTA - The Second Regular Session of the 126th Legislature began Wednesday at the State House. The First Regular Session, which last year ran from January to July, is dedicated to the bulk of legislation, including the biennial state budget. This year's shorter session, which is scheduled to run from Wednesday through April, is reserved for emergency legislation and bills carried over from last year.

However, many major issues will come before the Maine Legislature during this year's s...

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Statement of House GOP Leaders on Governor's Welfare Reform

January 3, 2014

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage on Friday alerted Republican and Democratic legislative leaders of the problem of Maine's low work participation rate among TANF welfare recipients. The low work participation rate means Maine is facing $10 million in fines from the federal government, and perhaps more. The Governor has proposed to broaden Rep. Fredette's original proposal that would eliminate certain exceptions in Maine law to the work search requirement.

"Now is the time to put politics as...

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Unemployment Plunges Again Thanks to Republican Reforms

December 20, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republicans on Friday lauded news from the Maine Department of Labor that the state's unemployment rate has dropped yet again, to 6.4 percent in November, down from 6.7 percent in October and 7.2 percent one year ago.

"We have a long way to go and many folks are still struggling, but this latest significant drop in unemployment is proof that reform is working," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Maine's economy has been stagnating since well before the...

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Last Batch of ObamaCare-Free Data Shows GOP Health Insurance Reforms Work

December 9, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republicans on Monday called attention to the recently-released data for fourth quarter 2013 small group health insurance renewals in Maine. This data is the last batch of numbers that reflect Maine's health insurance market under PL 90, the health insurance reform law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature in 2011. As of January 1, 2014, small group renewal numbers will reflect not only PL 90, but also the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare.

Among its many change...

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Democrats Double Tax Hike Quota After Flatly Rejecting Spending Cuts

December 4, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Tuesday called attention to the failure of Democrats to balance Maine's budget. The biennial budget established two task forcesone to find $33.7 million in spending cuts and another to find $40 million in additional tax revenues by way of eliminating tax credits.

The group responsible for finding spending reductions was the Office of Policy and Management (OPM), and Democratic appropriators in early October flatly rejected the spending cuts that they...

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Rep. Willette Awarded Christian Civic League's 'Minuteman' Award

November 22, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Christian Civic League of Maine has awarded Rep. Alex Willette (R-Mapleton) their 2013 Minuteman Award for his work in the Maine Legislature this year. Rep. Willette serves as the Assistant House Republican Leader and represents 10 towns surrounding Presque Isle.

According to the Christian Civic League, the Minuteman Award is presented to legislators or other state leaders who effectively and courageously advocate for life, religious liberty, and traditional values.

Lea...

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Willette: New Low in Unemployment Good News for Young Mainers

November 22, 2013

AUGUSTA - Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton applauded news today from the Maine Department of Labor that shows a post-Recession low in Maine's unemployment rate of 6.7 percent for October. That figure is down from 6.9 percent in September and 7.2 percent a year ago and compares to a current national unemployment rate of 7.3 percent.

"Young people have been leaving the state and avoiding Maine for decades because of a lack of economic opportunity," said Rep. Will...

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House Republicans Voice Support of DHHS Independent Welfare Review

November 19, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today voiced support of the LePage Administration's decision to contract with independent Medicaid experts to help improve Maine's welfare system.

The Alexander Group, which will conduct the review, was founded by Gary Alexander, a former head of welfare departments in Rhode Island and Pennsylvania. His consultancy will undertake a complete review of the cost and efficiency of all welfare programs within Maine's Department of Health and Human Services (...

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ObamaCare Disaster Another Reason Not to Expand Medicaid

November 15, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republicans on Friday pointed to the latest in a continual line of bad news as just another reason to avoid the costly disaster that would be Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare.

President Obama, facing a wave of criticism amid the ongoing failure of the federal takeover of health care, yesterday apologized repeatedly for the failed law while offering a legally-questionable Band-Aid fix that will actually make the health law's problems worse.

The President and Congress...

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ObamaCare Broken Promises Likely Not Limited to Plan Cancellations

November 12, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today warned Mainers against the fiscal dangers of expanding medical welfare to thousands of able-bodied adults when alternative options exist and while Americans are already suffering as a result of the federal government's broken promises.

Throughout the process of passing the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama stated no less than 36 times that if Americans like their health insurance plans, they can keep them. Yet in the face of an estimated...

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Dems Kill Slew of Welfare Reforms, Ignore Own Rules to Push Welfare Expansion

October 30, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Wednesday expressed disappointment with Democrats on the Maine Legislature's Legislative Council for bending the legislature's rules to simultaneously ram welfare expansion through the legislature for a third time and kill commonsense, bipartisan measures to reform Maine's broken welfare system. Joint Rule 217 of the legislature prohibits the introduction of the same bill twice in one two-year legislative term.

"Democrats bent the rules in order to pus...

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Fredette Blasts Dems for Lack of Communication on Emergency Meeting

October 9, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today reacted with surprise to the emergency meeting of the legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs (AFA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Committees called by Democratic leadership.

"We had no idea this was happening," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "It's customary for majority leadership to discuss legislative hearings with minority leadership, but we've seen repeated lapses in communication with the Speaker's Offic...

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Forbes Ranking a Call to Action for Pro-Growth Policies

September 27, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leaders on Friday pointed to the newly-released Forbes Magazine ranking of the "Best States for Business" as a call to implement more pro-growth Republican reforms. Maine placed 50th for a fourth year in a row despite recent free market reforms and the study's preference for factors such as low taxes, simple regulations, and right-to-work laws.

"Business Costs," "Regulatory Environment," "Economic Climate," and "Growth Prospects" are four of six sub-rankings tha...

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House Republicans Call On Democrats to Cease Citing False Jobs Numbers

September 20, 2013

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican leaders are calling on Democrats to stop attacking Republican reforms with phony jobs numbers. Since Pew Charitable Trusts in June released numbers stating that Maine was one of three states to lose jobs from April 2012 to April 2013, Democrats have been holding up the statistical tidbit even in the face of historic reforms to state government, reduced unemployment, higher wages, and less poverty.

Yesterday, the Portland Press Herald reported that the Bur...

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Rep. Willette's Letter to the Bangor Daily News

September 19, 2013

To the Editor:

Wednesday, the twelfth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was a solemn day for Americans. Therefore I was shocked to see that the official editorial opinion of the Bangor Daily News that day was spent on yet another attack of Governor Paul LePage.

Even considering the tenor of newspaper editorials since LePage's election in 2010, I felt that this was a new low.

What really left me stunned, however, was seeing a column from Dana Milbank o...

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Republicans Take the Long View

September 17, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders today emphasized the need to reform Maine's broken budget and stop the welfare overspending that would come with yet another expansion of the state's massive and costly Medicaid program.

"I am shocked that Democrats are talking seriously about expanding the very welfare program that left us $500 million in debt to our hospitals and continues to cannibalize the state's budget year after year," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Welfar...

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GOP Leaders Praise Latest News on Welfare Reforms

September 10, 2013

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republican leaders on Tuesday lauded the latest news from the Governor's Office on state government's increased vigilance over fraud and abuse within Maine's generous welfare programs.

"The latest news on our welfare reforms is further proof that Maine's welfare system was in dire need of accountability," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Thankfully, we are now starting to see less welfare dependency and more aggressive prosecution of fraud and ...

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House Republicans Praise Sale of Liquor Revenue Bond

September 4, 2013

AUGUSTA - Maine House Republicans today praised the sale, announced by the office of Governor Paul LePage, of the liquor revenue bond that will be used to pay off Maine's $484 million in outstanding welfare bills owed to hospitals throughout the state.

"This money will now go out into Maine's private sector economy, where it is needed the most," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "I'm very pleased that we are one step closer to getting checks in the hands of Maine employ...

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House Enacts Bipartisan Bond Package

August 29, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to approve a series of bond bills that were the subject of recent negotiations between Republican and Democratic lawmakers and Governor Paul LePage. By mid-afternoon, four of the five bonds had been enacted, while a fifth, LD 1095, awaits votes that are planned for later in the afternoon.

"I'm glad we were able to work out a responsible bond package that all parties agreed on," said House Republican Leader Ken F...

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Republicans Look Forward to Finalization of Bipartisan Bond Agreement

August 21, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leadership today expressed relief that a responsible, bipartisan bonding package will go before the Appropriations Committee in preparation for an August 29 special session. At a press conference, Democrats seemed to distance themselves from the agreement, attacking Republicans for not agreeing to more borrowing in the current $149.5 million bond package and blaming them for not including research and development in the proposal to go before the November ballot, altho...

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Assistant House Republican Leader Praises Job Creation in Aroostook County

August 19, 2013

AUGUSTA - Assistant House Republican Leader Alex Willette of Mapleton on Monday congratulated J.D. Irving, Ltd. On its planned expansion in the Aroostook County town of Ashland. The company announced the $30 million investment in a new sawmill that will create 60 jobs in a press release Monday.

"This is really great news for the County and the hardworking people who live there," said Willette, who grew up in the Aroostook County town of Mapleton and now represents a large portion of ce...

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Bipartisan Bond Deal Reached

August 16, 2013

AUGUSTA - Republican and Democratic legislative leadership and the Governor's Office reached a deal Friday afternoon on a bond bill that may be passed in time for inclusion on the November 2013 statewide ballot. Governor Paul LePage and Republican lawmakers conveyed to Democrats in meetings earlier this week that they would not be comfortable with a borrowing package in excess of $150 million and emphasized the need for any bond to be dedicated to the infrastructure needs of Maine's economy.

...

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Perennial Raiding of Oil Cleanup Fund Symptomatic of Budget's Crowding-Out Effect

July 17, 2013

AUGUSTA - In the wake of the tragedy at Lac-Megantic, news outlets have pointed to Maine's oil cleanup fund and highlighted nearly $1 million worth of raids to it by politicians attempting to balance the state budget. In fiscal years 2004 to 2011, $989,716 was swept from the Coastal and Inland Surface Oil Cleanup Fund and put into the state's General Fund. No funds were swept in fiscal years 2012 or 2013.

Overall, from fiscal years 2004 to 2013, $7,346,314 was swept from various Departmen...

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High Veto Rate a Product of Dems' Inability to Work Together

July 10, 2013

AUGUSTA - In response to questions about the high number of vetoes issued by Republican Governor Paul LePage, House Republican Leaders on Tuesday said that the vetoes are indicative of Democratic lawmakers' inability to work with Republican caucuses to craft legislation that has a realistic chance of passage.

"They've been acting like they have a liberal Democratic governor," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "Instead of coming together as members of leadership or on ...

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Dems Flip-Flop on Bill for Military Recruiters

July 9, 2013

AUGUSTA - In a surprise turn of events Tuesday, several House Democrats flipped their votes on LD 1503, a bill that would have allowed military recruiters the same access to Maine public schools as civilian career recruiters and would have further allowed them to wear their uniforms while visiting schools.

Education Committee Democrats initially voted against the bill and Democrats narrowly killed a similar bill on the House floor. However, passionate debate by House Republicans, many of...

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To Ensure Passage, Legislature Must Keep Transportation Bonds Separate

July 8, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders on Monday called on Democratic leaders to stop the Washington-style politics and pass a transportation bond separate from other bond proposals. This spring, Democrats refused to pass a popular, bipartisan plan to pay off Maine's welfare debt to its hospitals unless Republicans went along with a controversial and massive expansion of the very welfare program that created it.

Similarly, Democrats in recent days have stated publicly that they intend to roll ...

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House Republicans Reflect on 2013 Legislative Session

June 28, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leadership on Friday reflected on a session filled with stunning successes - and a few setbacks - for Maine people.

"I couldn't be more proud of the 58 House Republicans who worked tirelessly in their committees and in floor deliberations to protect the rights of Maine people and create economic opportunity in our state," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "I am especially pleased that we accomplished one of our earliest goals. Despite a sle...

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Dem Leadership Rejects Bipartisan Welfare Reform Proposal

June 26, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine Legislature's Legislative Councilthe panel of all 10 members of legislative leadershipon Wednesday evening rejected a welfare reform study proposal with broad, bipartisan support. The vote came as the Council was sorting through which study proposals to fund and which to reject.

The bill, LD 1064, "Resolve, To Establish the Task Force on Independence from Public Assistance," was sponsored by Rep. Melvin Newendyke (R-Litchfield) and cosponsored by a broad array of lawm...

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Dems Try to Ram Welfare Expansion Through Maine House

June 19, 2013

AUGUSTA - Majority Democrats in the Maine House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon attempted but failed to override Governor LePage's veto of LD 1066, the medical welfare expansion proposal that would cost Maine taxpayers an estimated $150 million per biennium long-term. The measure has been tabled for a future vote.

Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick forced the impromptu vote without notice to Republicans. The Speaker attempted to close the roll call vote even as members were st...

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Republicans Ready to Stop Another Expensive Welfare Expansion

June 18, 2013

AUGUSTA - After Governor LePage last night vetoed LD 1066, the bill to expand Maine's Medicaid program by at least $150 million per biennium, the bill was sent back to the House. The Speaker may call for an override vote at any time. House Republicans stand ready to sustain the Governor's veto and prevent another irreversible fiscal mistake for the State of Maine.

"We've been down this road before," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "As in the past, Republicans approa...

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Maine Dems Push Yet Another Fee Increase

June 17, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine House of Representatives voted Monday in favor of yet another fee increase measure. The bill, LD 1263, imposes a 13 percent increase on resident snowmobile registration fees with a $5 hike, from $40 to $45. This fee hike comes on the heels of Democrat-led increases to ATV registration fees, registry of deeds fees, and municipal agent fees for passenger vehicle registrations.

"We all want to make sure the trails are properly groomed," said Assistant House Republican Le...

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House Republicans Demand Chance to Vote on Hospital Debt

June 11, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders Tuesday called on Democratic leadership to bring forward the bipartisan measure to pay off Maine's hospital bills without delay. It has been 12 days since Democrats announced that even though the merged hospital debt and Medicaid expansion mega-bill did not survive a veto, they would still not move on the popular hospital debt bill until they get their way on their controversial welfare expansion proposal.

As of early Tuesday afternoon, there were over ...

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Military Recruiter Bills Spark Fiery Debate in Maine House

June 4, 2013

AUGUSTA - The House on Tuesday took up two bills concerning military recruiters in public schools. The first, LD 1502, requires that public high schools allow recruiters to administer the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test to students who elect to take it. Under the bill, recruiters, not school staff, would take the time to administer the test, which would remain voluntary for the students.

That bill was rejected mostly along party lines, 74-68. Majority Democrats ...

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Democrats Propose Largest Tax Hike in Maine History

May 29, 2013

AUGUSTA - Democrats Wednesday unveiled a plan to raise taxes by over $400 million in the upcoming budget in order to cancel spending reductions that came about as a result of an ever-expanding state welfare agency. If successful, the Democrats would reduce the size of the return of a family of four earning $50,000 by $300 next year.

"Maine is at a fork in the road," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport. "We can choose a sustainable government, or we can choose a government...

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GOP to Dems: Accept Compromise, Pay Hospitals Without Conditions

May 23, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette of Newport today introduced a bill to his fellow members of leadership of both parties that would establish a study group on Medicaid expansion. He presented the measure, which requires approval of a majority of the 10 members of leadership, to the Legislative Council during their regularly scheduled meeting Thursday at 2:00 p.m. The bipartisan council gave it unanimous approval for reference to committee.

The study group would be comprised...

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Dems Ram Through Welfare Expansion Monstrosity Despite Sure Veto

May 21, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Democrats tonight rammed through LD 1546, 87-57, in a late-night vote. The bill merged two initiatives: the popular, bipartisan measure to pay off Maine's welfare debt to its hospitals with a liquor revenue bond and LD 1066, the contentious bill to expand Maine's medical welfare program on the federal government's terms.

The Democratic mega-bill brought bipartisan opposition, with Rep. Stanley Short (D-Pittsfield) voting with Republicans. Democrats rejected Rep. Fredette...

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Poll Results Show Support for Less Spending, Hospital Payment

May 14, 2013

AUGUSTA - Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette of Mapleton said Tuesday that a newly-released poll sends a clear, two-pronged message to Democratic legislative leadership: Mainers want government to stop its over-spending and balance the budget, not raise taxes; and Maine hospitals deserve the money they're owed regardless of whether medical welfare expansion succeeds.

"We should be balancing our budget, but Democrats keep on saying 'no' to cost-saving measures," said Wille...

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GOP on Dem School Grading Plan: Too Little, Too Late

May 8, 2013

AUGUSTA - At a State House press conference, House and Senate Democrats today rolled out their counterproposal to the Governor's recently-implemented school grading system. After weeks of attacking the proposal without offering to contribute their own ideas, Democrats have come out with an 11th-hour plan.

"I appreciate the Democrats' attempt to finally participate in education reform, but an 11th-hour piece of draft legislation is not what Maine schools need," said House Republican Leade...

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House Republicans Recognize Teacher Appreciation Week

May 6, 2013

AUGUSTA - May 6-10 is Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when Americans take a moment to recognize the hard and important work teachers do every day. Today, Representatives Ken Fredette and Alexander Willette took time to share their stories of the teachers who have made the biggest difference in their lives. Each day for the rest of the week, Republican state representatives will tell their own stories of teachers who made a difference in their lives.

House Republican Leader Ken Fredette...

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Dem Leadership Suspends Public Hearing Notification Requirement

May 2, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Speaker Mark Eves and Senate President Justin Alfond announced today that a backlog of almost 1,000 bills still in committees has led them to suspend the requirement that all public hearings be advertised. Additionally, leadership put a rush order on all bills, requiring that those currently before committees must receive a public hearing within the next six business days, by Friday, May 10. (See previously forwarded email.)

"This is symptomatic of some of the problems we'...

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Democrats Show True Colors on School Grading

May 1, 2013

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage and Department of Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen unveiled a simple, yet comprehensive system for inspiring school improvement and empowering parental involvement in public education. The program grades Maine schools on an A-F scale in Republicans' latest effort to implement real education reform to put students first.

"I'm starting to wonder if the Democrats are even reading the education reform proposals anymore, or if they're simply saying 'no,'" sa...

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Legislative Republicans to Democrats: Give Hospitals a Clean Vote

April 30, 2013

AUGUSTA - House and Senate Republican leadership held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to call on Democrats to bring the commonsense measure to pay Maine's hospital bills to a clean vote, without Medicaid expansion or other add-ons attached.

"Paying our hospital bills so we can get Mainers back to work is the one big thing we all agree on," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "Putting this jobs bill at the mercy of contentious, unresolved add-ons like Medicaid expan...

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RFC Report Underscores Flaws in Part II of Dems' Tax Hike Package

April 26, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Revenue Forecasting Committee (RFC) today reported that state tax revenues are projected to be roughly $60 million less than anticipated for the upcoming biennial budget. The downward projections stem from lower than anticipated sales and corporate tax revenue, signaling a strained business community.

Dr. Michael Allen, Associate Commissioner for Tax Policy at Maine Revenue Services, cited uncertainty at the federal level, high energy costs, and payroll tax increases that r...

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Democrats Vote to Spend More Money Maine Doesn't Have

April 25, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Democrats today voted in favor of two bills to increase spending at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) by almost $10 million per year. The two bills proscribe $41.6 million in new spending over the next four fiscal years and for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

The first, LD 87, would allow mental health patients under MaineCare to use whatever facility or treatment type they like and was passed 92-51. It comes with a price tag of $5.66 million p...

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Democrats Unveil Massive Middle Class Tax Hike Package

April 23, 2013

AUGUSTA - Democrats today unveiled Part One of their massive middle class tax hike package today before the Legislature's Taxation Committee. Today's rollout was focused on the portion of the omnibus tax hike package that purports to cast the entire package as a "tax fairness" measure that hurts only "the rich."

The most punitive of these "tax-the-rich" measures only closes about 5.7 percent of the budget gap, however, leaving the dirty work to be done on Friday, when Democrats will unve...

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Democrats Allow Motor Vehicle Fee Increases

April 23, 2013

AUGUSTA - Nearly six weeks after its first appearance on the House floor, majority Democrats in the Maine House voted to enact LD 405, a bill to allow motor vehicle registration fee increases of 50-67 percent, raiding the pockets of hardworking Mainers to the tune of $3 million.

The House accepted the Transportation Committee's divided recommendation to pass the bill on March 14 and the Senate concurred on April 4. Today's enactment vote landed 89-57 mostly along party lines.

"J...

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Statement of House GOP Leadership on Today's Gun Bills

April 22, 2013

House Republican leadership issued the following statements regarding the gun control bills being taken up by the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee this afternoon.

"Bills that limit magazine capacities and increase the age for concealed-carry from 18 to 21 encroach on our personal freedoms and hurt the ability of law-abiding Mainers to protect themselves," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "We must focus our efforts on getting at the root cause of violence...

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Motorist Behavior Regulation Bills Voted Down in House

April 9, 2013

AUGUSTA - The House of Representatives today voted on two bills regulating motorists' behavior. LD 66, "An Act To Require That Motorcyclists Wear Helmets," and LD 68, "An Act To Prohibit the Use of a Handheld Mobile Telephone while Operating a Motor Vehicle," came to the floor with divided, majority "Ought Not to Pass" reports from the Transportation Committee.

"These are areas where big government doesn't need to be making decisions for people," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette...

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GOP Jobs, Economic Freedom Bills Receive Strong Support from Workers, Business Leaders, Activists

April 1, 2013

AUGUSTA - Two bills that would allow workers to choose whether to belong to a labor union received their public hearings today before the Labor, Commerce, Research, and Economic Development Committee. Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Amherst) sponsored LD 786 and LD 831 to bring choice to public and private sector workers, respectively, preventing compulsory payment of union dues and forcing unions to recruit members with value instead of legislative mandate.

Public workers Barry Lucier, Gerald C...

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Imminent Zombie Invasion Prompts Swift Legislative Action

April 1, 2013

AUGUSTA - An investigation by the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) has revealed that the State House is ground zero for an imminent zombie invasion that may turn Maine into a post-apocalyptic, supernatural war zone, potentially damaging Maine's tourism-based economy just as spring arrives.

OPEGA identified the State House dome, recently considered by the Legislative Council for replacement, as a portal for the zombie invasion they believe imminent. Leade...

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Democrats Deliver Another Blow to Job Creation in Maine

March 27, 2013

AUGUSTA - Well, there they go again. Yesterday, Democrats were telling parents that their kids couldn't go tanning. Now, they're telling struggling small business owners that the wages they offer aren't good enough.

The House this morning voted to advance a bill to further control the wages Maine employers may offer and Maine workers may accept. The bill, LD 611, is sponsored by South Portland Democrat Scott Hamann and pushed by the controversial Maine People's Alliance. If it becomes...

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House to Maine Parents: Big Government Knows Best

March 26, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine House this morning voted to accept the majority "Ought to Pass" report on LD 272, a bill that would make it illegal for teenagers under age 18 to visit a tanning salon, even with parental consent.

"This is yet another expansion of state government's powers to regulate our behavior and limit parental rights," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "If your teenage daughter wants to go tanning before the prom, and you have the information and give her pe...

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House Democrats Vote to Increase Motor Vehicle Fees

March 14, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Democrats today rammed through LD 405, "An Act To Increase Municipal Agent Fees for Licensing and Registration of Motor Vehicles," with a partisan, 84-52 vote. The bill authorizes a 50 percent fee increase for new motor vehicle licenses or registrations and a 67 percent increase for renewals.

"Mainers are getting hit from all angles," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "Between federal payroll tax hikes and threats from Maine Democrats to raise income...

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St. Patrick's Day Drinking Hours Bill Passes in House

March 14, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine House today passed LD 216, "An Act To Extend the Hours for the Sale of Liquor on Sunday When St. Patrick's Day Is on a Sunday," sponsored by Rep. Barry Hobbins (D-Saco). The bill to extend drinking hours from 9:00 AM to 6:00 AM initially met a cold reception from Governor LePage and Republicans who were frustrated by Democratic stalling on the governor's hospital proposal and their hesitance to prioritize hospital debt repayment over new spending.

"Many Republicans ha...

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Maine Should Be Wary of Medicaid Expansion

March 13, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leadership says that Maine's decision about whether to accept federal dollars to expand Medicaid is one that should consider the fiscal health not just of Maine, but of America. The federal government had a $1.3 trillion deficit in 2012, borrowing 35 cents out of every dollar it spent. The CBO had projected a smaller deficit for fiscal year 2013, but in just the first two months (October and November 2012) the deficit far outpaced projections at $292 billion, which i...

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Concealed Handgun Privacy Protection Bill Receives Public Hearing

March 12, 2013

AUGUSTA - L.D. 345, the bill sponsored by Rep. Corey Wilson (R-Augusta) to protect the identity of Mainers with concealed handgun permits, received its public hearing before the Legislature's Judiciary Committee today throughout most of the afternoon. A total of 31 people testified27 in support, three in opposition, and one neither for nor againstaccording to the records of the committee clerk.

"Mainers have spoken, and they have made it clear that their right to bear arms is unduly supp...

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House Republicans' Statement on Democrats' Hospital Proposal

March 11, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) issued the following statement in response to the Democrats' plan presented 30 minutes prior to the public hearing on competing liquor contract proposals.

"I am very pleasantly surprised that Democrats have acknowledged that we should pay our past-due bills to Maine's hospitals and pay them in full. Since this morning's press conference was the first I have heard of their plan, I look forward to sitting down with Democrats and th...

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House Republicans React to 2008 Video of Sen. Alfond

March 5, 2013

AUGUSTA - The Maine Republican Party this morning released a 2008 video of current Senate President Justin Alfond expressly advocating for the state to simply not pay the hospital debt as a way to close that year's budget gap.

"This video explains why we owe Maine's hospital's almost $500 million today," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "Today, Senator Alfond says he wants to pay this debt, but he and the Democrats have not signed on to the Governor's responsible pl...

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House GOP Relieved by BDN's Decision, Threat Still Remains

February 15, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republicans today were encouraged to see that in the face of outrage from the public and law enforcement officials, the Bangor Daily News (BDN) has decided to withdraw its Freedom of Access Act (FOAA) requests, which would have required Maine law enforcement agencies to release the names, addresses, birthdates, and other information belonging to all concealed weapons permit holders in Maine.

However, an anonymous group called "Celebration Connect" has submitted similar, un...

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House Republican Leaders Respond to State of the State Address

February 6, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leaders Rep. Ken Fredette (R-Newport) and Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton) applauded Governor LePage's message in his State of the State address tonight. The speech was delivered in the House Chamber before a joint session of the Legislature.

"I think the Governor struck the right tone of passionate advocacy for Maine children and families," said Rep. Fredette. "Our policies must, above all else, ensure that Mainers have bigger paychecks, lower bills, and our c...

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New Numbers Show GOP Health Insurance Reform Paying Off

January 25, 2013

AUGUSTA - Health insurance premiums for the fourth quarter of 2012 are out, and they bring good news for Mainers with private insurance policies. See below for charts distributed by the Bureau of Insurance before the Legislature's Insurance and Financial Services Committee yesterday.

In the fourth quarter of 2010, before the enactment of PL 90 by Republican legislators, 2.9 percent of businesses saw their health insurance premiums go down. In Q4 2011, the first quarter of PL 90 implement...

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House Republicans Join Democrats in Announcing Workforce Committee

January 23, 2013

AUGUSTA - House Republican leadership on Wednesday joined Democratic and Senate Republican leadership in announcing the names of the 15 members to be appointed to the Committee on Maine's Workforce and Economic Future. The committee will be charged with proposing legislation to close the "skills gap" that exists in the job marketplace, whereby employers often cannot find workers with the skills they need to fill available jobs.

House Republican members on the committee include Reps. Paul...

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Dems Should Heed Advice from Fitch Ratings: Stop Picking Political Fights, Join in GOP Solutions

January 23, 2013

House Republican leadership responded Wednesday to the revision of Maine's bond rating from AA+ to AA by Fitch Ratings and hyper-partisan responses from Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall and State Treasurer Neria Douglass.

"I am disappointed with Goodall's and Douglass's response to this downgrade, which reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of the report; namely, the finding that an 'increasingly contentious decision-making environment' will prevent us from overcoming the state's fis...

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House Republicans Applaud Positive Priorities in Governor's Budget

January 14, 2013

AUGUSTA - While much focus has been placed on the Governor's proposal to suspend revenue sharing payments to municipalities in order to balance the state's budget, several important aspects of the proposal have gotten less attention.

Gov. LePage's proposal prioritizes education, maintaining funding for Maine schools after they received a $63 million boost in the last biennial budget. The Baldacci Administration cut education funding by $100 million in its final three years. The budget p...

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Governor's Biennial Budget Proposal Sets Tone of Fiscal Responsibility

January 11, 2013

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage today presented a biennial and a supplemental budget that will be taken up by the Legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. In the face of cost overruns at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the Governor drafted a budget for the Legislature's consideration that pays Maine's bills and brings fiscal conservatism to state government.

"This budget gives us a blueprint for a right-sized government," said House Republican Lead...

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House Republicans Advocate Forward-Thinking Reforms for 126th Legislature

January 9, 2013

AUGUSTA - Democratic legislators held a press conference today in the State House's Hall of Flags to outline their agenda for the 126th Legislature of 2013-2014. As Democrats admitted, they were unable to actually discuss specifics because the Governor has yet to present his biennial budget to the Legislature.

Democrats did, however, resurrect decades-old talking points about throwing more money at the problem of poor education results and maxing out the state's credit card for stimulus ...

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House Republicans Respond to Fiscal Cliff Deal

January 2, 2013

AUGUSTA - Congress and President Obama reached a deal to avert the so-called "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts in the federal budget. A deal that increases taxes on most Americans and makes no significant spending cuts, it will hurt Mainers especially hard.

On Monday, before the deal was reached, Mike Allen, associate commissioner for tax policy at Maine Revenue Services, said that the elimination of the payroll tax holiday would cost Mainers $355 million in extra Medicare and...

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House Republicans Respond to Curtailment

December 27, 2012

AUGUSTA - Governor LePage today announced that he has ordered a $35.5 million curtailment of state spending through the remainder of the fiscal year in order to align spending with lower-than-expected revenues. House Republican leadership maintains the same position they held when curtailment was originally proposed by the governor.

House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) and Assistant Leader Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton) see curtailment as a necessary and decisive move by the...

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House Republicans Name Committee Members

December 20, 2012

AUGUSTA - House Republicans today named their members to the Legislature's 17 joint standing committees. All except the Government Oversight Committee will have four Republican House members. The 12-member Government Oversight Committee consists of three members from each caucus.

"I am extremely confident in this team of legislators," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "The incumbents are coming off of a term where they gained a lot of experience building consensus ...

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M. Willette Op-Ed: Tax cuts unfairly attacked as giveaway to "the rich"

October 11, 2012

To the Star Herald

By Rep. Mike Willette

As I have been out and about talking with constituents in my district, one topic has been steadily cropping up. It is the issue of taxes, particularly the tax reforms we passed last year. The reactions run the gamut from delight to outright confusion.

What I hope to do with this article is to clear up some of that confusion.

The charge that I hear quite a bit from people is linked primarily to the Democrat candidates in local races. Th...

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Rep. Mike Willette posts excellent voting record

July 22, 2012

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Mike Willette, a second-term legislator from Presque Isle, compiled an excellent voting record during the 125th Legislature. He was present for 93.5 percent of the 369 roll call votes taken in the Maine House.

"Voting on issues that affect the people of Maine is one of the most important jobs of a legislator," said Rep. Willette, who serves on the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee. "The citizens of Presque Isle expect me to be their voice in the Legislature, and I t...

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Governor signs bill authorizing east-west highway study

April 6, 2012

AUGUSTA - Governor LePage today signed into law a bill that orders a feasibility study of an east-west highway across Maine. The proposal comes after much debate and consideration in the Legislature's Transportation Committee and in the full House and Senate.

The measure, LD 1671, is entitled "An Act To Provide Funding to the Department of Transportation for a Feasibility Study of an East-West Highway" and appropriates approximately $300,000 for the study. Subjects of the study will inclu...

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Rep. Mike Willette Presents Community Paramedicine Bill

March 14, 2012

House Republican Office

March 12, 2012

For more information:

Jay Finegan, 287-1445

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Mike Willette has formally presented a bill that would authorize pilot projects for community paramedicine programs, which he says would reduce MaineCare costs and assist in early recognition of urgent medical conditions.

Rep. Willette (R-Presque Isle) introduced the measure, LD 1837, before the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee on March...

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Rep. Wallace sworn in as Legislature's newest member

November 30, 2011

House Republican Office

November 21, 2011

For more information:

Jay Finegan, 287-1445

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ray Wallace sworn in as Legislature's newest member

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Ray Wallace was sworn into office today by Governor Paul LePage after winning a special election to fill a vacant seat in House District 24.

Rep. Wallace (R-Dexter) said he was motivated to run for office by the reform agenda championed by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate...

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Health insurance reform clears initial hurdle in Maine House

May 5, 2011

AUGUSTA - Landmark legislation to revamp Maine's health insurance market cleared a critical hurdle today in the House of Representatives by a vote of 76-72. The measure, designed to generate more competition and bring rates closer to national norms, now moves to the Senate. Final enactment votes in both bodies could come as early as next week.

"The people of our state are the winners today," said House Speaker Robert Nutting. "For years, reasonable proposals to fix a dysfunctional health insur...

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Governor Signs Bill Naming Hiking Trail for Fallen Marine from Aroostook County

April 12, 2011

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage today signed into law a measure to name a public hiking trail in honor of a Presque Isle native who was killed in Iraq in 2006.

The bill, sponsored by State Rep. Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton), directs the Department of Conservation, Bureau of Parks and Lands, to designate a summit trail on Haystack Mountain in Castle Hill the Dustin J. Libby Trail. The House and Senate passed the bill late last month.

"I'm grateful to the Legislature for passing the b...

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Rep. Michael Willette Presents Bill to Assess Convicted Criminals the Cost of Police Work

April 8, 2011

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Michael Willette (R-Presque Isle) today presented legislation to help counties and municipalities recover part of the cost of police action when a defendant is found guilty of felony or misdemeanor crimes and OUI offenses.

His bill, LD 667, would establish a Municipal and County Reimbursement Fee of $100, to be assessed on top of fines, fees and surcharges, which currently are all paid to the State of Maine.

"Counties and municipalities do not receive any portion...

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Rep. Mike Willette Appointed to Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee

February 18, 2011

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Mike Willette has been named to the Legislature's Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee, giving him an influential voice in a range of areas, from election law and veterans' programs to off-track betting.

"This committee was one of my top choices," said Rep. Willette (R-Presque Isle), a second-term legislator. "As a former Army medic, I'm deeply interested in veterans' affairs and making sure Maine's vets are well-treated. The committee will be busy this session with ga...

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Budget Proposal Holds Many Tax Surprises

February 16, 2011

By Rep. Michael Willette

The most important bill the Legislature will handle this year is the state budget for the next two years, set to begin on July 1. The starting point is Governor LePage's $6.1 billion spending plan, which he outlined to a joint session of the Legislature on February 10. Under our system of checks and balances, the governor proposes a budget and the Legislature makes changes as it sees fit based on countless hours of public hearings and work sessions.

Clearly, cert...

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Rep. Willette Appointed to Legislative Youth Advisory Council

February 8, 2011

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Alexander R. Willette has been appointed to the Legislative Youth Advisory Council, established in 2002 to advise the Legislature on issues related to young Mainers.

"I'm delighted with this appointment," said Rep. Willette (R-Mapleton), the youngest member of the Maine House. "Through the council, the young people of our state have a powerful voice in Augusta. So far, the council has dealt with a host of important issues - drug abuse, foster care, citizenship education...

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Rep. Alexander R. Willette Appointed to Transportation Committee

February 8, 2011

AUGUSTA -- State Rep. Alexander R. Willette has landed a high-profile committee assignment for a first-term legislator. He is serving on the Transportation Committee, putting him in position to influence legislation in a range of areas, from highway maintenance and bridge repair to railroads, airports and waterways.

"I'm delighted to be on this committee," said Rep. Willette (R-Mapleton). "It was my first choice. Aroostook County folks are impacted every day by the decisions made by the sta...

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Governor receives unexpected gift - more red tape

January 11, 2011

AUGUSTA - Governor Paul LePage was given a gift Tuesday morning that he never thought he would receive - more red tape.

The youngest members of the Maine House and Maine Senate, Rep. Alex Willette and Sen. Garrett Mason, presented the governor with a framed strip of red tape obtained from the Maine State Archives. The governor quickly understood the humor and pointed to a place on his office wall where it could be displayed.

The gift was meant to symbolize the governor's effort to roo...

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