Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

‘Fed up’ Richardson rejects Poliquin call to quit congressional campaign

on Aug. 29, 2014, at 6:27 p.m.
Blaine Richardson, a staunch conservative who left the Republican Party in order to run as an independent for the 2nd Congressional District seat, said Friday that he has rejected a request from Republican candidate Bruce Poliquin to drop out. Richardson said, and a Poliquin spokesman confirmed, that Poliquin made the request …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Michaud moves rally with Clinton to larger venue after flood of ticket requests

on Aug. 29, 2014, at 8:52 a.m.
Mike Michaud’s campaign for governor has moved a rally with former President Bill Clinton to a larger venue. When the Democrat’s campaign announced Clinton’s visit earlier this week, the 750 available slots were claimed within three hours. Tuesday’s event has been moved from the Portland waterfront to the Portland Exposition Building on …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)
Sen. Susan Collins at the investiture ceremony for new district judge Nancy Torrensen May 3, 2012 in Portland.

Labor union endorsements for Collins bolster her identity as a rare kind of Republican

on Aug. 28, 2014, at 12:15 p.m.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins continues to pile up labor union endorsements in her bid for re-election. This time it’s three union locals at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard who will line up behind the third-term U.S. senator. Members of the International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers, AFL-CIO; the International Union of Painters and …
CAMPAIGN 2014
Walter McKee

Maine Ethics Commission changes donor limit rule in governor’s race

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 27, 2014, at 5:31 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Ethics Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday not to enforce certain campaign contribution limits in the governor’s race between now and the general election on Nov. 4. The commission’s vote came after a decision last week by U.S. District Court Judge Brock Hornby in response to …
CAMPAIGN 2014
Independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler

Cutler unveils welfare reform proposal that would give cash incentives for education, good parenting

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 27, 2014, at 2:17 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler joined the campaign debate on welfare reform Wednesday with a plan that calls for public assistance recipients to repay some of the benefits they receive and for the state to provide cash incentives for recipients who complete their high school education …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

LePage becomes subject of second partisan book; pro-Cutler court ruling likely to benefit LePage, Michaud

on Aug. 27, 2014, at 10:28 a.m.
Call it the year of the political thrillers in Maine, though how thrilled you are probably depends on your political persuasion. Ray Richardson, a conservative talk radio host on WLOB, has announced the imminent release of a new book titled “Governor Paul LePage: Rebuilding Maine’s Future.” That’s what it says …
CAMPAIGN 2014
Gov. Paul LePage

Candidates for governor share ideas for Maine agricultural rebirth

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 26, 2014, at 6:57 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The three major candidates for governor spent Tuesday with members of Maine’s agricultural community, discussing their visions for farming and how it could be part of the answer to future economic prosperity. It’s well-known that Maine’s agricultural past dwarfs the agricultural present. There is far less farmland …
POLL QUESTION
Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

Drug testing for Maine public assistance program takes another step forward

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 25, 2014, at 4:15 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Opponents of a proposed rule that would require drug tests for convicted drug felons seeking cash assistance from the state argued Monday that the rule is unfair and could exacerbate a family’s efforts to right itself. No one spoke in favor of the proposed rule during a …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Planned Parenthood chief’s rally for Michaud postponed

on Aug. 25, 2014, at 1:42 p.m.
A “Women for Michaud” rally by the Planned Parenthood Action Fund, which was scheduled for Wednesday in Portland in support of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud, has been postponed. The Michaud campaign said in a written statement that the event will be rescheduled for sometime this fall. Cecile Richards, president …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

TV political ad crush imminent; Collins launches statewide tour; 7 stories you need to read

on Aug. 25, 2014, at 11:55 a.m.
Political advertisements in the run up to the November election are beginning to blanket the airwaves as local and national groups who have vowed for months to funnel money to Maine are writing checks. With Labor Day around the corner, the campaigns are about to reach a feverish pace and …
CAMPAIGN 2014 & ANALYSIS
Employees at Old Town Fuel and Fiber learned Wednesday night they would be indefinitely furloughed because of foreign trade and high fuel costs.

Gubernatorial candidates react to Old Town mill closure, show split on energy, jobs policies

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 15, 2014, at 6:30 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Everyone, from Republican Gov. Paul LePage to the employees of Old Town Fuel & Fiber, expressed shock at Thursday’s announcement that the mill has indefinitely ceased operations. Now, in the midst of a heated campaign year, the focus has shifted to what caused the closure and to …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage to Mass governor: Blocking regional natural gas expansion is ‘colossal mistake’

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 15, 2014, at 12:09 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage is pressuring Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to show greater support for the expansion of natural gas infrastructure in New England, a project which all the other New England governors have supported. Late last year, the six New England governors agreed to jointly ask ISO-New …
Gov. Paul LePage

‘They never gave the state any warning’: LePage blasts Old Town mill owners on closure

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 14, 2014, at 5:41 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage said Thursday that he is disappointed with the owners of the Old Town Fuel & Fiber mill in Old Town for closing the operation without first asking the state for help. “The thing that is so upsetting about this is they never gave the …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Planned Parenthood’s endorsements highlight divisive women’s rights issues in upcoming election

on Aug. 14, 2014, at 10:46 a.m.
Planned Parenthood Maine’s Action Fund PAC announced Thursday that it will launch a $500,000 campaign to elect candidates this November who support women’s health and reproductive rights. That includes Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud, whom the group endorsed earlier this year. The group also rolled out numerous endorsements in Maine …
CAMPAIGN 2014
Betsy Smith

Director of pro-Cutler PAC resigns, will continue working to elect him

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 13, 2014, at 5:28 p.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Betsy Smith, the director of a political action committee operating on behalf of independent candidate for governor Eliot Cutler, said she resigned from the PAC last month because of a difference of opinion on strategy, but she will continue to work on behalf of Cutler. Smith said …
ANALYSIS
Daniel Wathen

$20 million question: What’s really at stake if Riverview can’t meet standards?

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 13, 2014, at 6:10 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Much of the talk about the recertification of Riverview Psychiatric Center by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services focuses on the $20 million in annual federal funding that hinges on it, but advocates for mentally ill Mainers and the Department of Health and Human Services …
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said in June that Portland would not comply with a directive from Gov. Paul LePage to cut General Assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants.

DHHS fires back in legal battle over providing General Assistance to undocumented aliens

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 12, 2014, at 11:13 a.m.
AUGUSTA, Maine — The Department of Health and Human Services has shot back at the Maine Municipal Association and the cities of Portland and Westbrook with a counterclaim in a legal battle that involves a new state initiative to bar undocumented aliens from receiving General Assistance benefits. Filed Monday in …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Sen. Gerzofsky denies stealing sign; Ann LePage on Today Show; 7 stories you need to read

on Aug. 11, 2014, at 11:36 a.m.
Gov. Paul LePage, who campaigned on creating jobs and improving Maine’s economy, put up a sign on Interstate 95 in Kittery shortly after his election that read “Open for Business.” It was posted below the long-standing sign that all Mainers are familiar with: “Welcome to Maine, The Way Life Should Be.” A sign …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Maine’s slow Internet stands between you, jobs and kittens dancing to tuba music

on Aug. 08, 2014, at 4:20 p.m.
How fast are Internet speeds in Maine? I’ll wait while the rest of this page loads. Ready? OK. An internet service provider called Broadview Networks published a national map earlier this week that shows Maine in general has some of the slowest Internet speeds in the country and is at the …
STATE & CAPITOL (blog)

Washington Post predicts Poliquin victory; Collins picks up another labor union endorsement

on Aug. 07, 2014, at 5:17 p.m.
Republican Bruce Poliquin’s campaign in the 2nd Congressional District got a boost Thursday when the Washington Post predicted that he has a 64 percent chance of winning the election against Democrat Emily Cain and independent Blaine Richardson. The Post’s Election Lab’s formula for making the prediction involves election data dating …
 
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