Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

Gov. Paul LePage

Rebuffed on special session, LePage issues executive order

By Christopher Cousins on June 27, 2016, at 3:49 p.m.
LePage says he’ll use money from the Low-Cost Drugs for Maine’s Elderly Program, the Fund for a Healthy Maine and personal services accounts to fund the bills and may resort to a hiring freeze with the Department of Health and Human Services to find the funding.

Study: ‘Dark money,’ ‘gray money’ pour into Maine

on June 27, 2016, at 9:51 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where pristine early summer weekends have the power to shut down developments in Maine politics — however briefly. With the primary behind and the heart of summer still ahead, candidates across Maine are forming callouses on their knuckles and cracks in their voices as the knock-and-talk at households throughout …

Maine secretary of state revises wording of all five November ballot questions

on June 23, 2016, at 12:46 p.m.
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap on Thursday announced the final wording of five citizen-initiated referendums that will appear on the November ballot. Dunlap’s announcement comes after a month-long public comment period during which he said 185 comments were received. “We try to capture as much of the essence of the …

LePage: Every time there’s a gun control debate ‘I go buy a gun’

on June 23, 2016, at 9:05 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta. I hope y’all had a good night’s sleep. Regardless of whether you battle with your pillow or not, I trust you’re better rested than Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine’s 1st Congressional District, whose sit-in with colleagues on the U.S. House floor continues despite Republicans coming in …
Gov. Paul LePage answers questions from the audience during a town hall meeting at  William S. Cohen School in Bangor on May 25, 2016.

LePage says he’ll go ahead with food stamp junk food ban without federal OK

By Christopher Cousins on June 21, 2016, at 5:29 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage says despite his proposal being rejected by the Legislature and federal government, Maine will move forward with restricting the purchase of what he calls junk foods with food stamps in Maine — or give up administration of the program altogether.

LePage threatens to end state control of food stamp program in Maine

on June 21, 2016, at 9:46 a.m.
“It’s time for the federal government to wake up and smell the energy drinks,” LePage wrote.
Howard Hill in Augusta seen in this photo courtesy of Kennebec Land Trust.

Why do LePage, environmentalists keep fighting?

By Christopher Cousins on June 19, 2016, at 7:24 a.m.
There’s no reason to expect a ceasefire.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage urges legislative leaders to call special session

By Christopher Cousins on June 17, 2016, at 3:32 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage has called for a special session of the Legislature by the end of June to address four bills he said were enacted by lawmakers but not funded.

In campaign season, fighting to enforce a 75-year-old law is a ‘major victory’

on June 17, 2016, at 9:49 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta. Even if they’re not campaigning, they’re campaigning. Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin is celebrating what he calls a major victory Thursday in Washington, when he led an effort to defeat an attempt from within his own party to erase a decades-old law that requires the military to buy American-made …

Diane Russell: ‘I knew the establishment was going to come after me’

on June 16, 2016, at 4:52 p.m.
It was April 16, the final night of this year’s legislative session, and Diane Russell was disgusted. The House had just approved an agreement about how to spend $21.5 million that Maine was awarded in a 2015 settlement with a Wall Street ratings agency. The deal supported a sales tax exemption …
From left, Jennifer Rooks, Mark Holbrook and Ande Smith.

Virtual tie leaves fate of Maine GOP congressional primary in limbo

By Christopher Cousins on June 15, 2016, at 5:49 p.m.
The Republican primary election for Maine’s 1st Congressional District is far from over.
Rep. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, shakes hands with a voters at the polls in Portland on Tuesday.

Primary results reflect split personality of Maine’s electorate

By Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd on June 15, 2016, at 4:41 p.m.
On Tuesday, some of the results brought closure for seasoned lawmakers and a new trajectory for others.

Maine primaries are over, let the recounts begin

on June 15, 2016, at 10:54 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where the mental cobwebs left over from last night are like a bath in battleship gray paint. It was after 2:30 a.m. when my head finally hit the pillow. I need music with a delicate balance of energy and salve this morning. Here’s our soundtrack. Most of …
Jennifer Rooks (from left), Mark Holbrook and Ande Smith participate in a debate last week.

Republicans in tight primary battle to challenge Pingree

By Christopher Cousins on June 14, 2016, at 11:35 p.m.
AUGUSTA | The sometimes caustic campaign between Republicans Mark Holbrook and Ande Smith for the right to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree drew few voters but early results in the race suggest a close result. As of midnight, with 134 of 155 southern Maine precincts reporting, the margin …
Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a candidacy announcement for Republican N. Laurence Willey Jr. for the District 9 state Senate seat in April in Bangor.

LePage factors in GOP legislative primaries

By Christopher Cousins on June 14, 2016, at 11:28 p.m.
“We need to weed them out,” said LePage of some moderate Republicans during a speech at the Maine Republican Party Convention in April.

Maker jumps to an early lead over LePage’s pick

By Christopher Cousins on June 14, 2016, at 9:16 p.m.
Republican Rep. Joyce Maker appears to be taking a lead in her primary battle against William Howard III, in the Senate District 6 race with nearly 71 percent of the vote as of 9:15 p.m. Though only 34 or 52 precincts have reported in the Washington County District, it’s an …
Steve Betts photo

Rockland reports 8 percent turnout with 3 hours until polls close

By Christopher Cousins on June 14, 2016, at 5:45 p.m.
Hat tip to the BDN’s Steve Betts for this turnout update from Rockland: Shortly after 5 p.m., 404 ballots had been cast for the city council race and the school board budget referendum. There are 4,762 registered voters in Rockland. That is an 8 percent turnout. Maybe double digits will …

An abridged history of LePage’s feistiest letters

on June 13, 2016, at 4:47 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage is not shy about telling people what he thinks of them and nearly midway through his second term, he’s establishing a legacy as a governor whose pen can be as sharp as his tongue. On Friday, LePage wrote a letter to the Humane Society of the United States, taking …

Alfond fires latest salvo in bitter primary battle for Maine Senate seat

on June 13, 2016, at 12:52 p.m.
Sen. Justin Alfond of Portland announced today that he has endorsed Rep. Ben Chipman in the three-way primary election for Alfond’s Portland Senate seat. Chipman is locked in a highly contentious primary battle with Rep. Diane Russell and Dr. Charles Radis. The winner of the primary is likely to replace Alfond, who …

LePage adds to feud with U.S. Humane Society

on June 13, 2016, at 9:53 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where the Maine and U.S. flags here and across the state are flying at half staff in memory of the victims of the Orlando night club shooting on Sunday. You’ve heard by now that a gunman opened fire in a LGBT night club and killed 50 people, marking …