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Maine House Republicans
Room 332, State House
2 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0002

Phone: (207) 287-1440

For Immediate Release

Date: 12/05/10

Republican response to the governor's weekly address

For the weekend of December 4-5, 2010

Greetings, this is Andre Cushing, state representative from Hampden and assistant leader of the majority party in the Maine House.

It was a big week in Augusta, with the swearing-in of the 125th Legislature, the election of a new House Speaker and Senate President and the election by both bodies of a new Attorney General, Secretary of State and Treasurer. Less than a month after the historic election of November 2, a new but experienced team is in place to guide our state through the difficult times ahead. The voters decided to give Republican ideas a chance to jolt the state out of its economic slump and brighten the job prospects for ourselves and our children.

We Republicans take our new responsibilities with a deep seriousness of purpose, and we're encouraged that Democrats have pledged their support as we - and the incoming Republican governor - set course in a new direction. There will be differences along the way - there always are - but we're all pulling together in hopes of better days for our great state.

I'd like to take a few moments to introduce some of the new Republican leaders whose names will become familiar in the next two years. Let me begin with Speaker of the House Bob Nutting. Bob grew up in Skowhegan, along the banks of the Kennebec River. His family roots in Maine date back more than two centuries. Captain John Nutting, Bob's fifth generational great-uncle, fought in the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775, when Maine was still part of Massachusetts. He is a licensed pharmacist who lives today in Oakland, and he is now entering his sixth term in the House. As a legislator, he has dedicated countless hours over the years as a member of the Appropriations, Labor and Health and Human Services Committees. With his strong background in the state budget, Bob will bring expertise, insight and common sense to this critical legislative responsibility.

After his election on Wednesday morning as the state's 100th House Speaker, Bob praised the tough and independent spirit of the people of Maine - the spirit that built this state. As he put it, "Our duty to the working men and women who sent us here cannot be overstated. We are charged today, and for the next two years, to do one thing - to restore the promise of this great state."

He added that we face daunting financial challenges and a citizenry that has little tolerance for political maneuvering and partisan bickering. As he looked out over the House chamber, he reminded legislators of a sobering fact. "We have been elected to office," he said, "but we have not yet earned the trust of the people of Maine. They have given us a chance, but that is all they have given us."

And Bob emphasized another theme - the importance of treating everyone fairly and capitalizing on the diverse talents of all legislators. He summed up his approach this way in his speech: "I am a Republican," he said, "and have found my way to this rostrum through the same political battlefields that all of you have marched through. I have a political instinct, as we all do, to preserve my party and to take a stand for my beliefs. But today, and for the next two years, we all have a different charge. We are not partisans; we are Mainers."

Now let me say a few words of introduction to our new constitutional officers - the Attorney General, the Secretary of State and the State Treasurer. As Attorney General, the Legislature selected Bill Schneider, a former leader in the House and currently an assistant U.S. attorney. Bill is a graduate of West Point and a former Green Beret and Army Ranger who later graduated from the University of Maine School of Law. He focused on drug-related cases while serving six years as an assistant Maine attorney general, and presently, as an assistant federal prosecutor, he has worked in the area of anti-terrorism.

The new Secretary of State is Charlie Summers, a former state senator from Scarborough and GOP candidate for Congress. For two years, he served as the New England regional administrator for the Small Business Administration. Charlie is a commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and has done two tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. As Secretary of State, he will oversee motor-vehicle licensing and registration, elections, corporation registration and the state archive.

Bruce Poliquin, a recent candidate for governor, is our new Treasurer. He is eminently qualified for the job. Bruce comes to his new post of managing the state's cash reserves and debt with an economics degree from Harvard and 17 years of experience on Wall Street, where his investment management firm handled more than $5 billion in assets.

All told, this strong new team is ready and willing to move our state forward. We are fortunate to have such dedicated public servants stepping up in these challenging times.

This is Andre Cushing. Thank you for listening. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445