Maine Things Considered

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Weekdays at 4 p.m. join host Nora Flaherty and hear Maine’s only daily statewide radio news program. Maine Public Radio's award-winning news staff brings you the latest news from across Maine and the region, as well as in-depth reports on the most important issues.

Your Vote 2014 Profile: Emily Cain

May 9, 2014
Maine Senate Democrats Office

Maine has a reputation for sending trailblazing female politicians to Washington. Two of those women, Republican  Senators Margaret Chase Smith and Olympia Snowe, first entered national politics by winning election to Maine's 2nd Congressional District.  This fall, another promising female politician from Maine hopes to take this same route.

Gov. Paul LePage used an address at a Portland Chamber of Commerce breakfast to blame Democrats for what he calls pervasive gridlock in state government.  But the governor, who's campaigning for a second term, also used the occasion to propose two new policy initiatives. 

Patty Wight

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Shenna Bellows is calling on Republican Sen. Susan Collins to support a student loan bill before Congress.  At a press conference at Bowdoin College today, Bellows said the bill would allow students to refinance their student loans at a lower interest rate.  But it would also impose higher taxes on millionaires, which some say makes the idea little more than a political stunt.  

Campaign photo

It's Thursday, and on this week's edition of "Across the Aisle," we look at some of the top stories in Maine politics, including a deal independent Eliot Cutler says he's making with voters in this year's governor's race. Keith Shortall spoke with Cynthia Dill, a practicing attorney and former Democratic state senator; Dan Demeritt, a political consultant and former communications director for Republican Gov. Paul LePage; and independent state Sen. Dick Woodbury, economist and tax policy consultant for the Cutler campaign.

(A transcript of this story is not available.)


File photo / MPBN

President Obama is pushing hard to to formalize the so-called Trans-Pacific Partnership. He hopes to conclude talks on creating the 12-nation trading bloc by the end of the year. If approved, the TPP would represent 40 percent of the global economy and create a trading bloc that spreads from Asia to Latin America. But not everyone is excited by the idea, or at least by the way negotiations are proceeding. Democratic Maine Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud addressed a crowd of several hundred labor advocates at a rally in Washington D.C.

Jay Field / MPBN

Some disappointing news came today for the deep water wind project known as Aqua Ventus. That's the pilot project led by a University of Maine development team. Aqua Ventus was competing for federal development money. But, as Jennifer Mitchell reports, the project was not selected for full funding. So now, its fate is less certain. Meanwhile, environmental advocates are still lamenting a decision they say chased away another wind developer.

Susan Sharon / MPBN

The Maine Manufactured Housing Board has revoked the license of a Richmond trailer park owner and ordered him to pay the maximum fine possible for raw sewage and two other violations that resulted in the temporary eviction of his tenants. It's the first time the board has taken such an action. Russ Edwards is now negotiating to sell the beleagured park to a potential buyer. But as Susan Sharon reports, the tenants are still hoping to take it over themselves.

First, Gov. Paul LePage threatened to bring the Maine Legislature back into an emergency session. Now minority Republicans are urging Democrats to reconvene over nursing homes. Specifically, Republicans want to reconsider an 11th-hour bill from the governor that would provide $5 million to nursing homes from a tobacco settlement fund.

Cutler Talks Energy, Environment

May 6, 2014

Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler says Maine must strengthen its commitment to the environment, and pursue sounder energy policies, without sacrificing jobs. Cutler rolled out his environmental and energy agendas at a press conference this morning on the banks of the Penobscot River in Bangor. 

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has withdrawn a proposed rule that would have added the cancer-causing chemical formaldehyde to the state's priority chemical watch list as way to protect children's health. The rule would have required manufacturers to disclose which of their children's products contain formaldehyde, sometimes found in crib sheets, bibs and baby shampoo.  As Susan Sharon reports, health and environmental groups were quick to attack the move as caving to the chemical industry lobby.

Stung by the effects of a Supreme Court decision and the failure of the state Legislature to offer a remedy, Maine Citizens for Clean Elections is advancing a new proposal it says will give outspent candidates the money they need to compete in state races.  Under the plan, state funding to the program would increase by $1 million a year, and candidates would be allowed to access more money by collecting additional contributions. A.J. Higgins has more.

Creative Commons

Officials in Scarborough are due to vote tomorrow night on a key ordinance regarding the contentious matter of canine activity on its beaches.  And you can bet that the results of that vote will be scrutinized by the federal government. The issue goes back 10 months to last summer when the town incurred the wrath of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after an unleashed dog killed a piping plover - a federally-protecting diminutive shorebird that makes its summer home on the sandy beaches of southern Maine, from Ogunquit up as far as Georgetown. Tom Porter has more.

Emily Cain, Democratic Candidate for U.S. Congress
Ramona du Houx/Maine Insights

The two Democrats vying for their party's nomination in Maine's 2nd Congressional district held their first primary debate last night at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston campus. State Senators Troy Jackson and Emily Cain agree on most of the major issues. But when it comes to talking about their ideas and positions, the personal styles of the two candidates couldn't be more different.

The U.S. Navy's first DDG-1000 destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, tied up at BIW
Mark Vogelzang/MPBN

A couple of weeks ago, the world's most advanced warship, the USS Zumwalt, formally hit the water at a christening ceremony at Bath Iron Works. The midcoast shipyard is due to build two more of the DDG-1000 destroyers for the U.S. Navy over the next several years. The program, however, has ended up being much more costly than originally intended, in part because it was drastically cut back a few years ago from 32 ships to just three.

Maine House of Representatives

As incumbent Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud departs his 2nd District seat to run for governor, he's opened the door for a host of candidates from both parties who are hoping to be sent to Washington. One of them is former state Senate President Kevin Raye, who is making his third bid for Congress.