Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 
Gov. Paul LePage answers a question from the audience during a town hall meeting at Central Maine Community College in Auburn in this October 2015 file photo.

LePage talks privatization of work program during town hall meeting

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 09, 2016, at 8:17 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage said he is moving forward with the privatization of the state’s ASPIRE program because Maine is failing to meet federal work requirements for the program’s participants.
Educational technician Kathleen Cowperthwaite monitors a math station with students Chloe Skinner and Mylee Sylvia while Commissioner Bill Beardsley observes in Houlton on Dec. 22, 2015.

LePage pulls back education chief nomination

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 09, 2016, at 2:16 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage announced Tuesday that he has temporarily withdrawn his nomination of William Beardsley for education commissioner, citing opposition that is growing on the Legislature’s Education Committee.
STATE & CAPITOL

LePage: ‘I had to go scream at the top of my lungs about black dealers’

on Feb. 09, 2016, at 10:03 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage took to the radio waves again this morning on WVOM to add to what has become a memorable series of Tuesday morning appearances. This time he brought up his now infamous comments about drug dealers and Maine’s white girls, insisting that comments like that are what it …
STATE & CAPITOL

Why LePage is suddenly so fixated on ‘socialists’

on Feb. 09, 2016, at 8:22 a.m.
Socialists, socialist, socialists, socialist, socialists, socialist, socialists, socialist, socialists, socialists, socialist and socialists. Because calling the Legislature a bunch of socialists once in the span of about five minutes it takes to read Gov. Paul LePage’s State of the State address isn’t nearly enough. He used it a dozen times. Good …
Daniel Wathen

Report: Maine fails to adequately staff psych hospital

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 08, 2016, at 1:45 p.m.
Daniel Wathen recommended that Riverview take several specific actions to address chronic staffing shortages.
POLL QUESTION
Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham.

A Maine bill that would limit videotaping at polling places?

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 08, 2016, at 11:56 a.m.
The bill would create a 15-foot buffer zone between voters at the polls and activists videotaping their activities.
Bill Beardsley

Transgender rules key to fate of LePage’s education chief pick

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 05, 2016, at 7:04 a.m.
William Beardsley’s route through the legislative confirmation process might not be without obstacles.
Gov. Paul LePage addresses the chamber during the 2015 State of the State address at the State House in Augusta in this February 2015 file photo.

How the state of LePage’s state has changed in a year

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 03, 2016, at 6:54 p.m.
The Bangor Daily News took a look back at the governor’s 2015 speech to see how far we’ve come.
STATE & CAPITOL

Are legislators checking their mailboxes for LePage’s State of the State?

on Feb. 03, 2016, at 8:28 a.m.
Daily Brief: LePage has announced he won’t deliver the speech this year in person, but will submit it to the Legislature in written form.

Special election date set for vacant Biddeford-area Senate seat

By Christopher Cousins on Feb. 02, 2016, at 1:55 p.m.
The special election to fill the vacant District 32 seat in the Maine Senate has been set for Tuesday, March 29.
STATE & CAPITOL

Impeachment co-sponsor drops re-election bid to work for Sanders

on Feb. 02, 2016, at 8:29 a.m.
If we’ve learned anything this morning, it’s to be skeptical of political polls. Both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump went into Monday’s Iowa caucuses with 4- or 5-point leads in media polls done immediately before state-level caucuses. Clinton won by a whisker and Trump suffered a major chip in …
STATE & CAPITOL

GOP launching robocall attacks against Cain over nuke deal

on Feb. 01, 2016, at 8:46 a.m.
Good morning, folks. I have news for you: The center of the political world today is Iowa, where the first meaningful votes in the presidential nomination process will finally be cast during caucuses this evening. It’s been months and arguably years leading up to this day, so enjoy it. Not …
THE POINT
Gov. Paul LePage shakes the hand of 14-year-old Gabriel Brady, whose mother was killed in a domestic violence altercation in January 2008. The exchange came during a kick-off event for the fifth annual Taylor Tip Off Basketball Tournament, the proceeds from which benefit the families of domestic violence victims.

For Gov. Paul LePage, all politics is personal

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 31, 2016, at 7:38 a.m.
When he first ran for governor in 2010, LePage touted “people before politics” as his mantra.
STATE & CAPITOL

Accusations fly between LePage and Democrats over $38 million in tax breaks

on Jan. 28, 2016, at 8:02 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where it’s deja vu all over again. Remember when a legislative committee and the LePage administration were at a stalemate with lawmakers accusing the administration of secrecy and the administration accusing lawmakers of playing politics at the expense of the Maine people? I do, because it …
Rep. Bruce Poliquin

Poliquin to introduce No Welfare for Terrorists Act

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 27, 2016, at 3:41 p.m.
Rep. Bruce Poliquin said he is preparing to submit proposed legislation that would bar anyone convicted of association with a terrorist attack from receiving food stamp benefits.

LePage didn’t always alienate the Legislature

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 26, 2016, at 8:51 p.m.
LePage continued attacks on the Legislature, which have intensified throughout his tenure in office. Last year, he vetoed nearly every bill that came across his desk with the stated goal of wasting lawmakers’ time and ensuring that every enacted bill garnered two-thirds support in the Legislature. He further alienated lawmakers …

Sunset clauses for state programs?

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 26, 2016, at 8:37 p.m.
An audience member asked a question about why state programs don’t have automatic sunsets so their value can be periodically reevaluated. When LePage took office in 2011, he ordered state agencies to build their budget proposals from “zero base” to force a process of prioritizing and justifying all programs, activities …

The Legislature wanted to cut MPBN

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 26, 2016, at 8:26 p.m.
Claim: LePage said that he wanted to have MPBN broadcast Senate and House proceedings but the Legislature would not let it “because they don’t want anyone to see.” In 2013, LePage recommended that lawmakers eliminate all state funding for the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, which at the time amounted to roughly …
Sen. Christopher Johnson, D-Somerville, congratulates Cynthia Montgomery on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, after Montgomery's nomination to the Maine District Court bench was unanimously recommended by the Legislature's Judiciary Committee. Johnson's questions of Montgomery were aggressive at times but he ended up voting in her favor.

LePage’s legal adviser clears first hurdle to becoming a judge

By Christopher Cousins on Jan. 26, 2016, at 4:12 p.m.
The Legislature’s Judiciary Committee voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of Gov. Paul LePage’s nomination of Cynthia Montgomery for the Maine District Court bench.
STATE & CAPITOL

Bruce Poliquin’s fundraising doubles his two Democratic opponents’ combined

on Jan. 26, 2016, at 7:12 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, folks. Let’s put on some relaxing music from one of my favorite bands before we get started. If you like that song, check out this one. Now that we’re all grooving, on to business. Today the Legislature will do some of its most important work when …