Gov. Paul LePage is well-known as an off-the-cuff speaker, and even in a major address like Tuesday’s State of the State, LePage really only used his prepared remarks as a guide. Maine’s governor doesn’t use a TelePrompTer as is common for most politicians. (President Barack Obama rarely speaks without a TelePrompTer, for instance, a fact he has been ridiculed for.)
But questions of phrasing aside, LePage will, on-the-fly, insert entire paragraphs and even policy statements and facts. How substantial are the changes? You can decide, by watching the full video of Tuesday night’s State of the State above and following along below. You can choose to follow along with his prepared remarks, the BDN transcript of the speech, or see them side-by-side.
If you missed our State of the State coverage, you can find a story about the speech here and you can see what facts in LePage’s speech and in the Democratic response were correct and false in our BDN fact check.
And, if you see errors in the transcript, please leave a note in this doc so we can correct it.
Thank you, please have a seat.
I get all confused because the president of the Senate said, “Governor, I like your blue tie.”
Chief Justice Saufley, President Alfond, Speaker Eves, members of the 126th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens Mainers.
Tonight, I am here to update you, the people of Maine, about the condition of our great state.
Everything is fine. Thank you for coming. Good night.
Not so quick.
Payback is really, really, fun.
First of all, I must want to recognize and thank a few individuals people.
And I’d like to ask my lovely wife to stand for a moment.
To my wife Ann, Ann please stand, I would not be here tonight without you. You have made Maine very proud as being our First Lady, especially through with your support of our armed services and their the military and the military families. I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
To my family and friends, I appreciate all you have done, your unwavering support, and all you continue to do throughout my life’s journey.
Staff Sergeant Justin Middleton, the military herald this evening tonight, thank you for your courageous service to our state and to our nation.
Members of our the military and veterans that are here tonight, would you please stand.
We salute you and extend our sincerest appreciation to each and every one of you for your service in keeping a safe and free people that you provide our country to keep us safe and free.
In the balcony, you’ll notice an empty chair next to our uniformed service members.
This chair represents every Mainer who is serving overseas, in harm’s way, so we can be here tonight and exercise our freedom to assemble of assembly and our freedom to speak freedom of speech.
I ask that we all take a moment to remember, recognize and thank our all the men and women of the armed services who wear in the uniform of the United States of America.
Also, it is with a very heavy heart, I ask for a moment of silence. Because just before I came up tonight, I was notified that Maj. Sanborn, the deputy chief of the Warden Service, passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. I had the opportunity to meet him, and you couldn’t find a better Mainer, a better father, a better human being.
Recently, Ann and I had the opportunity to go down to Arlington National Cemetery during the Wreaths Across America trip.
As I walked through rows and rows of tombstones, marking the final resting place of our fallen for all American heroes, I remembered one simple truth: These individuals paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations had the opportunity to pursue their piece of the American Dream. It is a dream we cherish and the freedom that marks our lives which is so rare for the rest of the world.
The American experience represents a unique moment in time. And folks, we must not never abandon it the American Dream!
If each and every one of our elected officials visited Arlington cemetary, they might would realize the political battles we wage every day are meaningless in comparison to the blood that’s been shed to protect our American Dream.
We all recognize that the political climate in Washington D.C. is toxic. With no solutions in sight, the Federal debt grows as we speak. at such a pace that Many of us question how whether the American Dream will ultimately survive for our children and grandchildren to experience. for our grandchildren, our children, and our great-great-grandchilden. It is really in danger.
Yet We owe it to each and every one of our fallen heroes, as elected officials, to come together and develop the solutions to our challenges necessary to save our American Dream. We must commit to make our state Maine a better place to live and raise our families for everyone — for our children and our grandchildren.
So I am going to buy a lot more blue ties.
There is no more important thing in most of our lives than our families. Because folks, ultimately, there is only one thing that is important in life, and it’s family.
And many Maine families are struggling. With a median household income in Maine of just under shy of $48,000, Maine families people survive on far less money than those in other states most Americans.
Maine families struggle to heat their homes, fill their cars with gasoline, put food on the table, and pay for health insurance.
Government has not strengthened Maine families with more income, more opportunity, or reducing the cost of living in Maine.
Instead, government has taken takes more and more of our family’s hard working income away to serve some people’s political and/or ideologies and, for some, financial self interests.
The path forward offers two choices. We continue to accept the status quo or we can make the tough decisions, roll up our sleeves, and together, to create a better Maine for everyone make Maine a better place.
We can only do this if we work together. Every Whether, you’re a Democrat, Green, independent, or Republican, Mainer deserves the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
Last session, we took steps to improve our economy.
We provided Mainers with the largest tax cut in the history in a and it was done bipartisan effort.
Despite the rhetoric to the contrary: 70,000 working Maine families — hard-working families — no longer pay state income tax.
Two-thirds of all taxpayers are will be receiving a tax relief cut, easing the burden on middle class Maine families.
The average Maine family is will be receiving a $300 tax decrease. A And for the average Maine family, that equates to 28% reduction in their state income tax.
We’ve also reduced taxes for Maine’s job creators. A critical step to attracting investment in Maine to our state.
Unfortunately, there are those — some in this room — who would like to undo these modest reforms — despite having voted for them.
Now is not the time to I’m asking you now not to rollback these monumental reforms.
Let’s not do it for political reasons. If we have to, let’s do it for the right reasons. Let’s do it for Mainers.
High taxes come at a high cost: the erosion of our state’s economic competitiveness.
My childhood hero President John F. Kennedy had it right: “An economy constrained by high tax rates will never produce enough revenue to balance the budget, just as it will never create enough jobs or enough profits.”
It was true in 1960, and it’s still true in 2013.
Tax cuts were not the only accomplishment of the last our first term — first session.
Together, we eliminated $1.7 billion, 41 percent of the existing shortfall in Maine’s the pension system, without cutting retiree benefits fund.
And yes, while retirees are not getting an increase, the important thing is they’re not getting a decrease, and that is critical.
Maine families now have more choices when purchasing with health insurance. Over 17% of Maine’s small businesses received a decrease in their rates last year.
With LD 1, we reduced red tape, and improved our we streamlined the permitting process for businesses. and we can get people working instead of applying, much quicker.
Maine hospitals are now paid in real time for the services they provide.
Principled job creators know that my administration wants to help, and my door is always open to increase the business communities around the state.
Folks, if you want to create a job, I want to be there to help you.
However, let me be perfectly clear, I am not interested in helping those who will increase the cost of living on Maine people for personal financial gain.
I repeat that. I want to make it perfectly clear. I am a businessman, but I despise greed.
Some will come here and take, instead of give.
We passed legislation to strengthen vocational education. This will ensure that Maine students who prefer working with their hands have more opportunities to can learn valuable the skills and gain good paying careers that can earn them a good living.
We passed legislation to hold for teachers and principals more to be more accountable through performance evaluations.
Unemployment is down in Maine, lower than the national average.
We are focusing our efforts on rebranding the State of Maine, recognizing that Maine made products made in Maine have embody quality and value. We need to tell the rest of the world.
Government is becoming more transparent. We exposed the wasteful use of Mainers’ tax dollars at agencies such as the Maine Turnpike Authority and Maine State Housing Authority.
We not only exposed it — we cleaned it up. But, we have a lot more to do.
I am pleased to announce that in the coming days we will launch a new website that will enable Mainers to see how their precious tax dollars are spent.
We placed renewed interest in our natural resources economy. Farming, fishing and forestry continue to be a top priorities for moving Maine forward for my administration.
We need to move Maine forward.
My administration also launched a “Business Friendly Communities” initiative. The This program works with our towns and cities to make them “Open for Business” these communities more attractive for job creators. Eighteen Maine communities are now designated as business-friendly members of this program.
These reforms are a all small steps for what needs to be done. in making Maine a better place to live and raise our families. There is so much work left to do.
Because folks, Once again, Forbes ranks Maine still has us dead last in the nation when it comes to being for business-friendly state.
Now, we can all sit here, with a red tie, blue tie, green tie, or not tie, exactly. And we can deny and we can not agree …
We can disagree with Forbes analysis; however, America’s the analysis Forbes has done. But what we need to understand is that job creators listen to them. don’t look at all 50 states, they look at the top 10, and we’re not there. Denial or So we can deny it, we can sticking our heads in the sand will not but guess what — we don’t change the reality.
The only thing that will change where we are is with bold action.
No one governor, or one party, is going to move this state forward. It takes all of us. All of us willing to roll up our our sleeves and go to work.
We must put ideologies aside and get to work to make Maine a competitive and prosperous state.
In the last three years, I have spoken with a lot of many Maine families and many, many businesses in the past three years.
They desperately want more opportunities, better paying jobs, more careers for our youth, and a most of all, lowering the cost of doing business and living in Maine.
I spent most of my career in business creating jobs for and working alongside many hard working Mainers. I know what it takes to expand and a business and to create a business. I know what it takes to create jobs. And folks, it’s very simple. Maine’s The cost of doing business in the state of Maine is simply too high.
For example, Alabama, South Carolina, Indiana, and Texas are attracting huge investments by companies… in their states.
I’ve spoken to many of the CEOs of the companies that are moving there. And we don’t [garble]
I have the CEO of an aircraft manufacturer tell me he would love to come and visit Maine someday, but to put a plant here — we’re not competitive with the rest of the world. It was that simple a conversation. We’re not competitive with the rest of the world.
…providing higher paying jobs for their residents, without exorbitant taxpayer subsidies. States are giving these companies incentives, yes, but they’re not exorbitant in relation to the number of jobs they’re placing in the states. Airbus, going to Alabama. Average pay, $75 an hour. We fought, but we had nothing to offer.
We shouldn’t penalize Maine people for government’s failure.
Why shouldn’t Maine people benefit from the same economic opportunity?
Remember There is one simple truth that I want you all to remember: “Capital investment goes where it is welcomed – and stays where it is appreciated.”
Improving our economy requires taking bold action is vital, and it can only be done if we all put away our ideologies to improve the job climate in this state.
What we need to do is very simple. We must Pay our bills, lower our energy costs, reform education, and make government more efficient and affordable for our economy to grow then we can all go golfing.
When I became Maine’s governor, the hundreds of millions of dollars in unpaid bills to Maine’s hospitals were stacked on my desk. My predecessor left me with no plan to pay them, just an IOU’s.
During the last session, thanks to all of your help, many in this room, we paid back $248 million in debt owed to our Maine hospitals.
Tonight, there is a plan on your desk, sponsored by Sen. Pat Flood, to pay the outstanding balance of $484 million owed to Maine hospitals.
Hardworking Maine families face have two choices: They pay their bills or they face the debt collector. It is embarrassing that state government is not held to the same standard as every Maine household — people say I have a temper, but let me tell you, it is embarrassing — to work for its state government that doesn’t pay its bills. We need to look at Maine families and the households, and their balancing of their budgets, in moving this state forward. It’s not that difficult.
In Lewiston, we owe Central Maine Medical Center is owed over $50 million dollars. The result of the states IOU program.
Lewiston residents are denied the opportunity to fill critical positions well-paying jobs, capital improvements in the city are delayed, and local vendors go unpaid.
These IOU’s are program is damaging the very communities that each and every one of you represents us in this room are elected to protect and to work for.
We cannot expect to have a prosperous economy prosperity when we owe hold back hundreds of millions of dollars to hospitals that employ Maine people from the people that provide us medical services.
My proposal ensures that Maine hospitals get paid. It will improve Maine’s fiscal health, allowing me to release authorized and release bonds, injecting more than somewhere near $700 million into Maine’s the economy, which is badly needed.
I ask you all, for the sake of Maine families, and our economy, for the sake of our children, please I plead with you to act on this proposal quickly my bill that is sponsored by the good senator. Because we need it — we need it this spring. We don’t need it next year, we need it now. Mainers need to get back to work.
Maine needs to pay its bills!
You know, our nation faces a national debt of over $16 trillion dollars and rising.
Hardworking Maine families when they sit at their kitchen table every at the end of month, they have to balance their checkbook. They and pay their bills.
It’s high time the federal, state, and local government must pay their bills and do the same as hard-working people.
Our nation faces a national debt of over $16 trillion dollars.
With The Affordable Care Act, going into effect later in the year — so we think. Mainers We will face huge tax increases at the federal level, and regulations that will have a real negative impact Maine’s own healthcare reforms on all Americans.
Gridlock has paralyzed Washington, D.C., and the American people and Mainers are paying a very heavy price.
We cannot continue to mortgage the future of our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren’s future because politicians won’t refuse to do their jobs. The policies of Washington, D.C., will result in smaller paychecks for all Americans, and particularly here in Maine families.
In fact, the average Maine family in Maine is handing Washington an additional over $1,000 dollars this year alone.
Now It is simply not the time to burden Maine families with higher taxes.
I have put forward together and proposed a balanced budget proposal. I want looking to hear other more good, constructive ideas for structural changes that will lead to a more efficient and effective delivery of on how we can balance our budget, and deliver government services more efficiently and effectively.
I take no pride in this budget. In fact, I do not like it at all. But I will tell you this — I have two other options: I can cut welfare and I can cut education. Or I can cut revenue sharing. Or, I suppose, we can level a high tax increase and really hurt Maine people again. That we have been doing for 40 years and still remain 50th in the country. And I just pray every night that Puerto Rico doesn’t become a state, because we’ll be 51st.
Maine’s energy costs are too high. and its We’re killing economic opportunity with high energy costs.
Whether you agree with me or not is irrelevant. But Maine families are paying more than 24 percent above the national average for electricity. Our businesses are paying 14 percent more above the national average for electricity.
Even more discouraging is a law that forced the recent decision by the Public Utilities Commission in favor of Statoil’s for offshore wind proposal.
This move compels Maine families and businesses to subsidize a global giant entity to the tune of nearly $200 million without any guarantee of jobs.
Maine We can ill not afford any more of these job-killing decisions. that only increase electricity prices for Maine families and businesses, which just continues We need to lower energy prices. We can not continue a policy of crony capitalism.
We need more elected officials to who will stand up for the ratepayer, for the taxpayer, and for the folks who are do paying their bills every month.
Just imagine the burden lifted for Maine families if we promoted policies that saved 24 percent of their electricity costs for a second if 14 percent of everyone’s electricity bill was left in their pocket to spend for their families.
For those who believe that Mainers We should should not be forced to pay more for higher energy prices to serve a greater global goal or continue to pad the pockets of those politically connected. I fail to understand your this reasoning.
Long-term prosperity for the sake of a buck today is not the a path to a winning formula.
Just think, if every Maine business could invest the an additional 14 percent, to create jobs and pay their employees higher salaries wages.
For example, Bar Harbor Foods is located in Whiting in Washington County. The company manufactures seafood products.
Mike Cote, CEO and founder states that the high cost of energy in Maine’s energy erodes the operating margins of the business, resulting in reduced profits.
The reduction in profits slows his takes away the ability to re-invest into the company for growth and to hire more people in from Washington County. In a county that struggles with widespread poverty, this is disheartening. And there’s not a person in this room that won’t agree with me that Washington County is a poor county. It’s heartbreaking to see the difficulty that goes on in that county, because of the lack of jobs.
Maine is competing We must compete nationally and internationally for capital, and we simply must do better, and we can do better in order to do that, we have to be competitive. We simply need to be competitive.
It’s very simple. It only takes courage to take bold action.
I’m asking you all to sum up the courage that we need to move this state forward.
The average Mainer family spends more than over $3,000 dollars per a year to fill their in heating oil tank. With access to natural gas, this same family they could save an average of $800 dollars per year.
See already, we’ve got $800 in savings in fuel, $300 savings in taxes. I mean, after a while, it becomes real money.
My predecessor fast-tracked permitting for of wind projects; I am We’re going to do the same for all natural gas infrastructure and Maine businesses.
With your help, with the help of the Legislature, we’re going to help Mainers to afford the conversions necessary to lower their heating costs.
We have a plan in place — that we’re working on a plan right now to put in place — that would allow the state to help people to lower their energy costs.
And we should continue to not I don’t want to pick favorites when it comes to energy and I welcome every energy source that is. All energy alternatives are on the table and fair game. But they have to be cost effective for hard working, struggling Maine families. They have to be able to help lower the cost of living and the cost of doing business.
Woodland’s, the mill in Woodland, put in a pipeline at their own expense, and they’re saving millions of dollars per year using natural gas versus oil. We can do that. We can help Maine families.
In the past, state government has mandated what types of energy Mainers we must buy — regardless of the cost. You can say what you want, but I think that is wrong.
Maine has played plays favorites when it comes to energy — ensuring that When you see a well-dressed lobbyists and, special interest groups that pocket the profits, [garble] all for it, at the expense of Maine families.
Last session, I proposed removing the 100 megawatt restrictions limitation on renewable hydropower energy. Expanding access to low cost electricity from hydropower. It makes economic sense.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, I’m back this session, I am back before the Legislature with the same proposal because Maine needs and deserves lower bill. We need to address the cost of energy costs. It is not right when we forgo low-cost electricity, low-cost energy, for a few people making millions of dollars on the backs of hard-working Mainers.
I encourage am urging this body to advocate for the think of Maine people families, and not bend to the special interests.
Many people in Maine have said that I’m an angry person. I will say this: I am a very passionate person about about education. This And my passion is not an attack on the public schools system. I speak passionately about education because education is what it saved my life and I cannot accept any child not being given the same opportunity I had. and I cannot listen, and I do not have the patience, to accept children falling through the cracks, and nobody doing anything about it.
As a homeless child on the streets of Lewiston, it never occurred to me once that one some day I could be a successful businessman, a mayor or even a governor.
Heck, back then, I looked forward to becoming a Pepsi-Cola truck driver.
Finding my the next meal and a warm spot place to sleep was my a primary goal. However, through all that hardship I knew that hard work, a lot of luck, and some good friends, education was the key for me, if I was ever going to became very crucial. I was convinced that I could better my stay in life and contribute to society with a good education. I climbed out of poverty, escape I could of easily spent a life in prison, or life jail, or back on the streets.
But I was fortunate. And so when it comes to education, yes, I take it very seriously.
I needed benefited from the structure and discipline of a the public parochial school education provided system back when I was in school.
This option allowed me to succeed, despite coming from a background of enormous poverty.
I want every child in Maine to have the same opportunity I did, to pursue a quality education.
Last session, we passed charter school legislation. A topic that has been become highly politicized by administrators and by big union bosses and by people in this room, despite the fact that Maine was is the 40th state in the country to adopt pass charter schools.
States like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota — hardly “red” states — have been successfully been running charter schools for decades.
In fact, charter schools are part of the mainstream in the rest of the country options in American education.
Let me tell you why So why am I so hot about charter schools are so important to Maine? For one simple reason: It’s just another option. It’s just another option that may work for some.
Alex West is here tonight. Alex, would you stand up please?
Alex West is a student who is currently attending the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, formerly known as Goodwill-Hinckley. Alex, please stand.
Alex is from Hartland. He struggled in a traditional classroom setting, and public school. He was at risk of dropping out.
He chose to attend the Maine Academy of Natural Sciences, and has gone on to take He is now taking classes at Kennebec Valley Community College along with his work at the charter school. This The charter school in this case provided Alex with a brighter future.
School choice should not be just for the wealthy people and the elite. Rather as Horace Mann stated back in 1846 said: “Education is the great equalizer.”
Education is what brought Abraham Lincoln from out of splitting rails to leading our and led this country through its greatest most difficult crisis in our history.
School choice benefits each and every Maine student all kids who deserves the best education this state that we can provide.
Giving students options is more than such as charter schools is more than just a political position. It’s Options involved the Maine Math and Science School in Limestone...
It’s … the 10 town academies that have a track record of great success that we all agree have been very successful, but not everybody can afford it. It’s the bridge year program in Hermon, where the high school students can earn both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree in if they attend high school five years.
All students and parents deserve options, especially those who are for the economically disadvantaged.
Therefore, I am proposing legislation to give more educational options to all kids children. We must fund schools that best fit the student’s needs.
I know that people are afraid of choice. In the case of students like Alex, we will even need to fund not only the charter school, but the residential costs to attend a portion of that school like Maine Academy of Natural Sciences.
Because if we really care about or kids, if we really want to keep our kids here, we have to provide for them.
All Maine students deserve an equal chance of success whether you’re from live in Cape Elizabeth or Fort Kent. This is how we are going break the cycle of — the generational poverty for Maine’s children welfare — the cycle of generational welfare in our state. It’s the way that you get rid of poverty. You don’t do it by handing things over, you do it by education. By working with people. A hands up.
Despite great and committed teachers, and there are many, dedicated parents and concerned citizens — many of you here, who run for the Legislature to do good — too many public schools, no matter what we say, are not getting the job done. Not only do we need to give our children more options for students, we need to improve outcomes in all public our schools.
I will tell you, the last few years, I spent most of my free time studying education around the world. I’ve had other governors send me information about Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada. I’ve got lots of information from Canada. My daughters who live there have been helpful about getting me information from Alberta, from New Brunswick.
Let me tell you some facts.
We have schools in Maine where only 23 percent of the students are at grade level in reading and math upon graduation and they graduate. We graduate them.
On average, only 32 percent of Maine the fourth graders in the state of Maine are read to proficient readers proficiency. By the eighth grade, that number only climbs to 39 percent.
Wow, that’s a familiar number for me. 39 percent?
Almost Nearly 20 percent of students drop out before graduation. Those of us in this room have been given the responsibility to fix this travesty.
Far too many of our graduates are unprepared for higher education or the workforce. 50 percent of incoming the kids that graduate from high school who go on to the community college students require remediation need to take remedial courses.
That says that they went through public school, the job wasn’t done. Now the parents, who are only making 80 percent of the national average in income have to pay tuition to take it a second time.
Well folks, I am proposing legislation that says, if a child that attends a community college or university system has to take remedial courses in English or math, that the sending high school pays it.
We’ll see how much courage you have.
Far too many graduates are unprepared for the workforce. Employers are concerned that high school graduates do not have the basic math and reading skills necessary to succeed in the modern workplace.
We spend more than This state spends over twice the national average on administrative overhead in our schools. In fact, on a per-pupil basis, Maine has the highest district administration costs in the nation United States of America.
I’m not proud of that. I’m not proud when the state of Florida, who is in the top three in educational performance, has 2.7 million children in K through 12, and operate with 56 superintendents. The state of Maine has 185,000 children in K through 12, and we have 127.
This extra money should be going into the classroom, not funding more bureaucrats with questionable impact on our children’s education.
Public school administrators, the big union bosses — and I say union bosses, because I tell you, there are two victims in the K through 12 system in the state of Maine: our teachers, who are underpaid, and our students. And we need to be bold and courageous and put some money up there so our teachers get paid what they’re worth, and there’s money for continuing education for them so they can improve the quality of the classroom.
Public school administrators and big unions are in denial, and have taken a position that simply cannot be defended on with the facts.
As a whole, Maine’s achievement in academic is not achieving academic growth at a competitive rate is far below the national average. We are next to last. Twenty years ago, Maine was in the top five, and we bragged it for 20 years. Now we’re next to last, because every other state has woken up. They’ve woken up to the Finlands, to the Hong Kongs, to the Shanghais, to the Canada, and they’re beating us, straight up. We need to be more aggressive in the standards of our education and the demands of our schools. This is unacceptable. But the good news is, we can reverse it.
Here is how We can fix the problem.
First, we offer students an options that work for them. They have to be kept attentive. They have to be inspired. And we can do that.
Second, we hold our schools accountable. We tell students, and parents parents, and the communities if their schools are failing or thriving. We help those that are falling behind and failing, we replicate those that are working well thriving.
Then we provide the needed resources. And I have challenged the unions on this, a multitude of times. Put up some money out of the union dues for continuing education and I will do everything to match it.
Talk about getting some people angry, Tonight I am directing Commissioner Bowen to develop a ranking system for Maine schools as they have done in Florida and Indiana. Each school in Maine will be graded have a grade: A-B-C-D or F.
It’s high time the Students know, and the parents know, and communities will understand if their students are doing in schools are good, average or failing.
Then, we help schools that are failing and reward schools as they improve.
The third fourth way we to fix this the problem is to adopt really quite simple: We introduce best practices to our schools. I plan to hold a Governor’s Conference on Education this in the month of March.
We are bringing national experts to Maine to demonstrate what other states are doing to improve education and why we are being left behind.
We cannot can no longer stand still, we cannot wallow in the status quo: and let the rest of the country and the world is passing us by. Instead, we must embrace the fact that we need to change and. We need to work together to solve this problem bring about this change.
If you believe the status quo is working, you are part of the problem, not part of the solution.
If you have an open mind and if you are willing a desire to put our kids first, I invite you to join me in this effort for this challenge.
I’ll make this promise: I don’t care Makes no difference what party you’re from belong too, if you are willing to put our kids first, I will put aside, put our kids first and to put aside issues like the turf wars, and the money, and the mascots, we will can get the this job done.
Last session, we the Senate and the House put politics aside their political differences and worked together to address improve the laws against domestic violence in Maine.
We amended Maine’s the bail code, ensuring that judges determine the bail for domestic violence offenses.
The chief justice has been just phenomenal in working with us and with the Department of Public Safety to look at ways of challenging domestic violence.
We required abusers to pay into the Victim’s Compensation Fund. This provides financial Which is resources made available to the victims and families of domestic abuse violence.
A number of other bills dealing with stalking and risk assessment were passed, and executive orders were signed.
I do want to thank Rep. Ken Fredette and Sen. Emily Cain for their leadership on this issue, and also for agreeing to in particular in sponsoring a governor’s bill supporting our batterers’ intervention programs.
These programs are not necessarily the big answer. They’re not going to eliminate domestic violence. But what they do do is they’re a long-term approach to fixing the problem. They require the perpetrators to invest, to dig in their pockets and pay for these courses, and they need to attend them in lieu of going to jail.
Ending domestic violence requires abusers to change – batterers’ intervention is an important step in that direction.
As a youth, I honestly and truthfully believe, having been one that was brought up in an environment of domestic violence hit — it was very close to home for me. I was not a the spouse, but I was a child.
It is important that we broaden the discussion about these heinous crimes.
And I really believe, that we need to do something about it. I think that half of the homicides in this state, are due to domestic violence. And that, we all agree, no matter what we’re from, that that’s unacceptable.
This evening, I talked a lot about family and about the American Dream. Well frankly, Domestic violence is a crime that affects families. Family violence is domestic violence, and we need to focus on protecting all women and children.
It’s a heinous crime, and we need to stand up. We, the men in this room, need to stand up and shout loud and clear, that we are going to protect our women and children.
Dealing with protection from abuse orders and firearms continues to be an issue with no simple solution.
Protection from abuse orders require people to surrender their firearms until further notice.
One of the big issues in domestic violence is having the abusers give up their guns.
However, Unfortunately, the enforcement for this is very deficient.
Often police cannot do more than simply ask whether the person has surrendered their firearms. Because all law enforcement has to their disposal is asking whether or not you gave your guns up.
And many people will say, well, you have to get a background check. Unfortunately, when you get a background check, they don’t record that you bought the gun. And so we need to do something about getting guns away from abusers.
That is why I am going to be signing an executive order tomorrow that’s creating a task force to address this problem specific issue.
Curbing domestic violence is an issue I take very seriously and I value your help in this effort.
So that’s why I’m always angry. It’s, you know, education and domestic violence, energy costs. I mean, you know, it’s a terrible thing.
But I’m doing better. I’m working on it.
In closing, I simply want to say this.
Maine families need our help, and — all of us. They are fed up with tired of the partisan political rhetoric. Here in our state, and in Washington.
They want are asking us for one thing, and if we can accomplish this, we will have been very successful. They are asking us for a lower cost of living and opportunities for bigger paychecks.
That’s all Maine people are asking for. They’ll do the hard work.
I have put my proposals forward, and I am open to hearing others for all proposals from all of you or any of you who choose to to put some up. In order to succeed, we must put politics and gridlock aside and take bold action.
I have two very simple requests: Let’s not raise taxes right now; let’s pay our bills.
The time for talk has ended; it is now time for action. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts and vision with you tonight.
God Bless Maine and God Bless America. Now, let’s get to work.