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House Republicans joined Gov. LePage for a press conference on education Wednesday, Jan. 9. (The Governor is seated, flanked by House GOP Leader Ken Fredette on his right and Education Commissioner Steve Bowen on his left. Behind, standing, left to right, are Reps. Johnson of Greenville, Tyler (behind him) of Windham, Pouliot of Augusta, Weaver of York, Harvell of Farmington, Chase of Wells, Sanderson of Chelsea, Keschl of Belgrade, and Sen. Andre Cushing of Penobscot County.)
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For Immediate Release

Date: 01/09/13

House Republicans Advocate Forward-Thinking Reforms for 126th Legislature

Democrats dust off satus quo proposals for upcoming term

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 spending.

Republicans presented an alternative for the next two years following the press conference in the Hall of Flags and in a press conference of their own with Governor LePage at the Maine Department of Education.

"Republicans increased funding for education in Maine, and we now spend about 25 percent more on our schools than the average state," said House Republican Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport). "But there's more to improving education than increasing its funding. We must continue to break up the status quo and put students first with reforms that shake up the education establishment and breathe new life into our schools."

Rep. Fredette referred to charter schools, a teacher assessment program, improved career and technical training, and other reforms introduced by Republicans over the past two years.

"Education is the great equalizer in our society," added Fredette. "Both rich and poor students get a chance to stand out and improve their futures when our education system is working."

Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Alexander Willette (R-Mapleton) was disappointed that the Democrats' solution for economic recovery seemed to be more taxing, spending, and borrowing.

"The Democrats were noncommittal on whether they wanted to raise taxes," said Willette. "I can say without hesitation that in the face of tax increases at the federal level and the fact that we remain one of the most heavily-taxed states in the nation, we cannot punish Maine taxpayers further."

"If we want our economy to recover, we must ensure that working Mainers have more money in their pockets to spend in their local economies," added Willette. "Democrats continue to press for more borrowing, but we're seeing at the federal level that debt and the uncertainty that comes with it is the millstone around our economy. I don't want that for Maine."

The Governor is expected to present his proposal for a 2013-2014 biennial budget on Friday, January 11.

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Contact:
David Sorensen
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 205-7793