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November 16, 2010 Jay Finegan, 287-1445
Incoming House GOP Leaders Commend Governor-elect on New Budget Team

AUGUSTA – The incoming House Republican leaders today strongly endorsed the budget working group announced this afternoon by Governor-elect Paul LePage at a State House news conference.

“The governor-elect has assembled a first class team to find solutions to Maine’s budget problems,” said Rep. Phil Curtis, the new House Republican leader. “It is clear that he has given a great deal of thought to bringing together folks with the expertise and diversity of experience to explore all aspects of the budget. It is a very impressive group.

“I’m especially pleased to see several outgoing members of our caucus playing important roles on this team,” Rep. Curtis said. “Representative Sawin Millett will be heading up this effort and the governor-elect could not have made a better choice. As the ranking Republican on the Appropriations Committee, he has dealt with difficult budgets in the last few Legislatures. He has won the respect of legislators on both sides of the aisle for his depth of knowledge and the creativity he brings to the budget process.”

Three other departing House Republicans are on the nine-member task force. Rep. John Robinson, of Raymond, served two terms on the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee; he did not seek a fourth term.Rep. Sally Lewin, of Eliot, is a veteran of the Health and Human Services Committee, which overseas MaineCare. Rep. Lewin is completing her fourth and final term in the Legislature. Rep. Ken Fletcher, of Winslow, has been the ranking Republican on the Utilities and Energy Committee; he is completing his fourth term.

Rep. Andre Cushing, of Hampden, the new assistant House Republican leader, said he was impressed by the governor-elect’s bipartisan reach in bringing together members of both parties. “Anyone looking at this team will notice that Mr. LePage is not paying attention to party labels,” he said. “He wants the best people, period, and he has put together an all-star team. There’s a lot of business experience in the group, and that’s very encouraging. We will need the advice and expertise of the best and brightest to come up with the next budget. We are grateful to the new governor for assembling so much talent and putting budget decisions and priorities in such capable hands.”