Politics

Political news

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

Teacher strikes in Oklahoma and West Virginia this year have put educators in the political spotlight, and some of that energy appears to have spread to Maine. After years of conflict over school funding and educational mandates, more than a dozen current and former teachers are running for office this fall.

With the same energy that she used to bring to her classroom, Jan Dodge is spending a Tuesday afternoon knocking on doors in her hometown of Belfast.

  It’s Thursday and time again for Across the Aisle, our roundtable on Maine politics.

In studio this week: Cynthia Dill, and Attorney and columnist for the Portland Press Herald who served in the legislature as a democrat, and former REpublican lawmaker Meredith Strang Burgess of Burgess Advertising and Marketing. Dick Woodbury, an economist who served in Augusta as an independent, joined from his hotel in Boston. They spoke with Keith Shortall.

 

Andrew Harnik / AP Photo

Independent Sen. Angus King said that he is "genuinely puzzled" by what he describes as the Trump Administration's continuing efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

“Genuinely puzzled about what appears to be an obsession or a mania with removing health insurance from people,” King said. “With keeping people from having health insurance. I just don't get it.”

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, King said having access to healthcare is a fundamental right.

A petition effort that sought to repeal the budget in a Maine city has failed.

The discord over the Waterville spending plan lasted throughout the city's budget cycle. Resident Eric Chamberlain led the effort, which gathered only 268 signatures by close of business on Tuesday. The effort needed 857 signatures to force the City Council to reopen the budget.

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

After weeks of headlines dominated by White House actions on the international stage, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will face questions from lawmakers Wednesday afternoon about how the Trump administration is managing foreign policy.

AP Photo

Two Republican state House candidates pleaded with the Maine Ethics Commission Wednesday to come up with a plan to fix a severe imbalance in the distribution of public campaign funds.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

A superior court judge said that he will soon rule on whether Republican Gov. Paul LePage can single-handedly withhold more than $1 million in public campaign funds from more than 100 legislative candidates and one candidate who is running for governor.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

An attorney for Gov. Paul LePage will once again appear in a Maine courtroom Tuesday to defend the Governor's decision to hold up more than $1 million in budgeted public campaign funding.

The lawsuit in superior court is brought by seven candidates in what's called the Maine Clean Election program. The taxpayer-financed program distributes payments to candidates who collect a set amount of five-dollar checks to qualify.

Robert F. Bukaty / AP Photo

A longtime Republican activist involved with numerous campaign controversies says that he has moved to Hollis, Maine to challenge Democratic state Sen. Justin Chenette.

Stavros Mendros, a fixture in Lewiston politics, has been drafted as a replacement candidate by York County Republicans.

In response to the announcement, Chenette quickly highlighted Mendros' violations in campaign finance and election laws.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Maine has been tagged in a contentious debate over changes to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps.

The House of Representatives meets this week before taking a five-week break. At the top of the agenda is more work on budget bills for running the federal Government.

Congressperson Chellie Pingree, who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, says the House just completed work on the sixth of 12 bills on the table.

“We had some serious disagreements on it, but the good news is at least the process is moving forward, and we have had several areas of agreement with the republicans and, these days, we will take what we can get,” said Pingree.

Darron Cummings / AP Photo

As part of an effort to strengthen its defense of the nation’s election system from cyber-tampering, the Department Of Homeland Security (DHS) has designated a list of individuals in each state for clearance to receive classified information about suspected attacks.

AP Photo

Gov. Paul LePage has signed a $106 million transportation infrastructure bond and a $64 million higher education bond. Both will now go to the voters in November for their approval.

His office has issued no statement on the bonds.

This story will be updated.

Andrew Harnik / Associated Press

Sen. Angus King says President Trump's recent comments about Montenegro reflect a misunderstanding of "the whole point of NATO" as a deterrence to Russian aggression.

 

Trump recently said the U.S. "may or may not" respond if the NATO ally becomes involved in a conflict with Russia. 

 

"That flies in the face of 200 years of diplomatic history, diplomatic principal," King said in an interview Thursday morning on CNN. "It should have been dismissed completely out of hand."

 

Gov. Paul LePage's Twitter feed

  President Donald Trump said Monday that Montenegro — a tiny Balkan nation that has its military sometimes train with the Maine National Guard — could cause a third world war if its “aggressive” behavior triggers a conflict between NATO and Russia.

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