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For Immediate Release

Date: 07/10/13

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

House GOP leaders say Dems act like they have a liberal governor

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 legislative committees and saying to Republicans, 'let's get something done together,' Democrats have simply steamrolled through a hyper-partisan, extremist liberal agenda. Nobody should be surprised to see this many vetoes."

Governor John McKernan, a Republican who held office from 1987 to 1995 while Democrats controlled both houses of the Legislature, ranks sixth (14 in 1989) and seventh (13 in 1993) for the most single-year vetoes in Maine history. Governor LePage has vetoed over 80 bills so far this year.

"Clearly, divided government is not an explanation for the difference," commented Fredette.

In their first session back in the majority, Democrats have passed bills along party lines to cripple charter schools, unravel bipartisan workers' compensation reforms, expand the welfare state, undo welfare reforms, and more.

"Democrats have been stubborn and obstinate, not collaborative and pragmatic," said Fredette. "We've wasted a lot of the people's time on bills that have no chance of passing, and when a bipartisan proposal does come up, such as hospital repayment or transportation bonding, Democrats just try to use it as leverage."

Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette of Mapleton agreed.

"During the Republican-controlled legislature of 2011-2012, we made an effort to build broad consensus on a number of issues, passing landmark reforms in situations that required two-thirds of the legislature for passage," said Willette. "Mainers are not liberal people and they expect pragmatism, not political score-keeping. There have been occasions where Republicans switched their votes to sustain vetoes when new information arises, but the real story here is the high number of vetoes overall and the Democrats' inability to work with Republicans to pass good, bipartisan legislation."

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