Maine Legislature tackled issues previous sessions ignored, first-term lawmaker says

By Oliver Jenkins, Foster's Daily Democrat
Posted July 13, 2012, at 6:53 a.m.

BERWICK, Maine — “Voting is a fundamental responsibility of a legislator,” said State Rep. Beth O’Connor, a first-term Republican from Berwick. “It’s important to be in the House chamber when votes are taking place.”

And if her attendance record is any indication, Rep. O’Connor takes this responsibility seriously.

Rep. O’Connor compiled a perfect voting record during the 125th Legislature. She was present for 100 percent of the 369 roll call votes taken in the Maine House during the 117 days it was in session.

Rep. O’Connor, who represents Berwick and part of Lebanon, Maine, is proud of the work of the 125th, including reform of the public pension system, regulatory relief, welfare reform, and the largest tax cut in Maine’s history. The Legislature also reformed Maine’s health insurance law to promote competition and bring the system more in line with the American mainstream.

“We tackled a number of major issues that should have been addressed years ago,” she said. “A lot of tough problems had been ignored or kicked down the road for somebody else to deal with. We rolled up our sleeves and did the heavy lifting that preceding Legislatures neglected to do.”

“Overall, we made the state much more business-friendly to help generate jobs and a stronger economy to benefit everyone,” O’Connor said. “Going forward, the state will be in much better shape and financially more stable because of the work we did.”

And by looking at the numbers, it appears members did a considerable amount of work. During the last two years of the legislative term, members dealt with 2,049 bills. Of these, 700 became law, ranging from large bills, such as the state budget, to minor technical changes.

“Over the last two years, we voted on a number of significant issues,” O’Connor said. “I keep the best interests of my district, and the state as a whole, in mind when deciding to vote a bill up or down.”

(c)2012 the Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

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http://bangordailynews.com/2012/07/13/politics/maine-legislature-tackled-issues-previous-sessions-ignored-first-year-lawmaker-says/ printed on September 22, 2014