This week on Big Talk, I joined hosts Al Brewer and Suzanne Murphy to discuss the week's politics. At the top of the list, obviously, was the resignations of commissioners Congdon and Brown.
Since my first posts on the issue yesterday at Down East, a great deal more has emerged about the reasons for and the process behind Congdon's resignation as head of the DECD. Last night's MPBN broadcast and this morning's Bangor Daily News, Sun Journal and Maine Today newspapers' stories on the subject have explained what happened during Congdon's trip to Aroostook County and how it led to his firing.
Governor LePage, however, has still refused to specifically condemn Congdon's remarks or to discuss the matter in detail, despite calls for him to do so today from the NAACP, Maine's tribes, and House Democratic Leader Emily Cain.
Also discussed on the show: the Senate District 7 race, the vote on the Informed Growth Act (scheduled for today, but now postponed) and Republican legislators' attempts to limit access to birth control and abortion services.
You can also subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, go straight to the feed or download the episode here: http://www.archive.org/download/BigTalk-April282011/BigtalkApril28.mp3
Not all of Big Talk's show are about politics, but all show files will be available through the feeds above and all political episodes will be posted here. Read more »
In my column this week in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, I take a look at Governor LePage's latest friendly fire incident.
This time, LePage thoroughly stomped on Republican legislators' attempts to assert that they've been at all effective during the legislative session so far, declaring instead that they haven't "done a damn thing."
Also good reading on the subject is this BDN editorial, headlined "The 'nothing to do' governor."
This weekend saw another rejoinder on the subject from Maine's democratic leaders, with House Minority Leader Emily Cain again faulting Maine Republicans for a lack of focus, declaring in their weekly radio address: "So, while Governor LePage put up a sign, took down a mural, and went on vacation, Democrats in the legislature have been working to find real solutions to problems facing Maine families and spur economic growth."
On Sunday, January 23rd, Democrats from around the state will gather in Augusta to select a new Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. Over the past few weeks, the field of candidates has been whittled down to three. Some Party insiders have told me, however, that one candidate, Ben Grant, has the votes in place to win and will become the next Chair of the Maine Democratic Party. (You heard it at mainepolitics.net first!)
The Chair is a critical role for the Party in terms of fundraising, campaign development, candidate recruitment, and above all, a vision for the beleaguered Democrats. One high-ranking Democratic Party official told me that the Party is still haunted by the friction created among leaders during the Obama vs. Hillary primaries. Throw on top of that the absolute shellacking the Democrats took in November and you have a Party in modest disrepair, at best.
The new Chair will likely need to address the fallout created by the anti-Cutler mailers the Party sent out during the last election, mailers that some found offensive and/or xenophobic. I was volunteering my time during the final days of the campaign at the Dem Party HQ in Augusta and was tasked with answering the phone the day the mailers started to hit mailboxes. It wasn’t a pleasant assignment. Read more »
Some of the work of the 2009 session of the 124th Maine legislature is still underway, as the appropriations committee works to cut an additional $30 million in state spending. Some of the biggest bills passed this session are still in limbo, as well, as religious groups work to repeal equal marriage and the Maine Republican Party seeks to repeal the tax reform legislation.
The major work of the session, however, has been over for several weeks and most of Maine's citizen legislators are now back at their real jobs.
WVII looks back:
So does Sarah Standiford, the Executive Director of the Maine Women's Lobby.