RADIO ADDRESS: Ready to work and ready to fight for the people of Maine.
Hi, this is Senator Troy Jackson from Allagash. Thanks for tuning in.
As you may have seen from the news, House Republicans refused to extend the session, as is routine, to finish any outstanding businesses in the Legislature. This was not an issue of partisanship – the vote was unanimous in the Senate – it was an issue of obstructionist lawmakers refusing to play fairly, negotiate in good faith and get the job done for the people of Maine.
Earlier this week, we came up with a reasonable spending and tax conformity plan that was not perfect by any means but was something all four Legislative leaders could sign off on. It also included a number of bills sponsored by House Republican lawmakers. Then an hour later, House Republicans pulled out, adding outrageous demands that we simply could not accept in good faith, like rollbacks to minimum wage.
I don’t think it is right for the Legislature to mess around with the decisions made by voters at the ballot box. When it comes to minimum wage, ranked-choice voting, marijuana legalization, and Medicaid expansion, Maine people have spoken loud and clear. We aren’t going to turn our backs on Maine people just because a handful of lawmakers throw temper tantrums when they did not get their way.
I know that Maine people are frustrated, and believe me, I am too. At the end of the day, when the Legislature does not do its work, it is the people of Maine who see the consequences. And these political stunts and partisan antics only make things worse.
In Maine right now, we have a number of serious issues that require a legislative solution. We have an opioid crisis that is devastating families and communities all across the state, taking the life of at least one Mainer a day. We have direct care workers who need a raise so they can continue to care for our seniors and intellectually disabled. And we also have significant behavioral and mental health care needs to address, such as significant waitlists that the governor has mentioned.
Not to mention the fact that we need to fund education, county jails and pass an essential transportation bond. The reality is, we still have a lot of work left to do.
The Maine Legislature considered a more than 500 total bills this session. Of the bills that have been passed, 126 have yet to be funded and 34 have not been enacted and therefore can’t go to the governor’s desk for his signature to become law. I even have a bill that I put in for Gov. LePage, to extend Pine Tree Development Zones, which is a critical tax credit for economic development.
What’s next, is the Legislature will meet for at least one additional legislative day, unless the governor calls us in for more. Fortunately, amid the chaos, Wednesday night both the Senate and the House passed a joint order to keep all remaining bills alive for the final legislative day that has yet to be determined. On this day, lawmakers will have one last opportunity to override vetoes and deal with all outstanding work.
It’s not ideal but it is the situation we are in. I’ll do my best to keep you updated on what’s in store for the Legislature and what’s going on at the State House.
I have to say I’ve never seen anything like this in my time here. Again, this isn’t about Republican or Democrat; this is about a group of people, that are obstructionist that are stopping things going on for the people of Maine. I didn’t come to Augusta to play cheap political games with people’s lives, I came here to try and get funding to fix our roads in Aroostook County, keep the doors on our nursing homes open, and do something about trade issues that are killing our jobs. I came here get things done. My colleagues and I are here, ready to work and ready to fight for the people of Maine.
This is Senator Troy Jackson, thanks for listening.