Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

 

Rift between House and Senate Republicans widens

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 31, 2016, at 11:16 a.m.
The controversy around Gov. Paul LePage’s comments over the past week deepens the divide between he and Senate Republicans, with whom he’s clashed on a number of issues in recent years. Senate President Mike Thibodeau has come out in direct opposition with House Minority Leader Ken Fredette over the latest …
POLL QUESTION
Members of the community hold up signs during a rally to show opposition to Gov. Paul LePage Tuesday in Capitol Park, across from the State House, in Augusta. Hundreds of people came out to listen to speakers and show support for LePage resigning from office.

Hundreds rally in effort to convince LePage to resign

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 30, 2016, at 9:04 p.m.
The Augusta rally was organized in response to a string of public statements by Gov. Paul LePage that have attracted negative national attention.
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage stifles resignation rumors as Democrats keep pushing

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 30, 2016, at 2:38 p.m.
LePage said there are no excuses for the obscene voicemail he left for Rep. Drew Gattine, and he wants to discuss the situation in person.
POLL QUESTION
Gov. Paul LePage

Amid pressure to resign, LePage says he’s ‘looking at all of the options’

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 30, 2016, at 9:03 a.m.
“There’s no excuses. It’s unacceptable,” Gov. Paul LePage said. “I apologize to the Maine people and Rep. Gattine’s family.”
STATE & CAPITOL

Amid pressure to resign, LePage says, ‘I’m looking at all of the options’

on Aug. 30, 2016, at 8:39 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where Republican Gov. Paul LePage is in full-throated apology mode for the now-infamous comments he directed at Democratic Rep. Drew Gattine of Westbrook last week. During his weekly radio appearance on WVOM, LePage said there are no excuses for the obscene voicemail he left for Gattine last …

After obscene tirade, LePage challenges Democrat to a duel

on Aug. 26, 2016, at 6:54 p.m.
Read more.

After obscene tirade, LePage challenges Democrat to a duel

on Aug. 26, 2016, at 6:30 p.m.
Read more.
STATE & CAPITOL

After obscene tirade, LePage challenges Democrat to a duel

on Aug. 26, 2016, at 9:02 a.m.
Warning: The language in the recording may not be suitable for children or the workplace.
Don Christen of Starks smokes marijuana outside the Somerset County Courthouse during the 26th annual Patriot's Day Rally smoke-in, which he organizes every year to educate and bring awareness to the benefits of marijuana.

Groups behind 3 of 5 Maine ballot questions face campaign finance fines

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 25, 2016, at 4:30 p.m.
The leniency of the Maine Ethics Commission will be tested when it considers more than a dozen requests for mercy from candidates and political organizations who missed campaign finance filing deadlines.
STATE & CAPITOL

Controversy erupts over LePage comments about Muslims, blacks, Hispanics

on Aug. 25, 2016, at 9:08 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta. In two speaking appearances Wednesday, Gov. Paul LePage put himself back in the center of two race-related controversies, one he started and one touched off by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Trump prompted a national outcry and widespread condemnation in July when he criticized Khizr Khan, who spoke …
STATE & CAPITOL

Paul LePage’s daughter among new hires by the Trump campaign

on Aug. 24, 2016, at 4:14 p.m.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has added two staffers in Maine as it continues to build out its ground game in the run-up to the Nov. 8 election. The Republican’s campaign announced Wednesday that it has hired Leland Graves of Bangor as its deputy state director for Maine and Lauren LePage …
STATE & CAPITOL

Late GOP withdrawals give Maine Democrats an advantage in legislative races

on Aug. 22, 2016, at 6:53 p.m.
Democrats’ efforts to keep their majority in the Maine House of Representatives through the November elections are helped by the fact that at least 11 Democrats are running unopposed, compared with four unopposed Republican House candidates. The Maine secretary of state’s office has said another Republican candidate also intends to …
STATE & CAPITOL

ACLU rips LePage for immigrant confidentiality breach

on Aug. 22, 2016, at 9:25 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where questions continue to swirl about how a Boston newspaper learned that an immigrant who radicalized in Maine and died fighting for the Islamic State in Lebanon received welfare benefits while he was here. As you know by now if you’ve been paying attention, the Boston …
STATE & CAPITOL

LePage commissioner chosen as farming adviser for Donald Trump

on Aug. 19, 2016, at 2:16 p.m.
A member of Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s Cabinet has been chosen to serve on Donald Trump’s Agricultural Advisory Committee. The Republican presidential nominee announced Friday through the Maine Republican Party that Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Commissioner Walt Whitcomb, a dairy farmer, has been tapped for the committee. The committee also …
STATE & CAPITOL

Maine DHHS chief says immigrant welfare probe raises terrorism concerns

on Aug. 19, 2016, at 9:17 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where “several” immigrants who receive welfare benefits are “raising concerns around criminal activity and terrorism.” That’s according to Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew in comments on Thursday to a reporter for WCSH. That was after Gov. Paul LePage told the Boston Herald that …
STATE & CAPITOL

Another presidential candidate is coming to Maine

on Aug. 17, 2016, at 9:16 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, folks, where it looks like you’ll need your lawn mower a few more times after all. If your lawn was like mine in recent weeks — dusty, brown and crispy — you probably thought your grass was a goner until next year. It’s amazing what a …
STATE & CAPITOL

LePage: School reform commission ‘died at the first meeting’

on Aug. 16, 2016, at 9:43 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where Gov. Paul LePage has little or no confidence that the fledgling blue ribbon education reform commission will accomplish anything to improve Maine schools. LePage said during his regular Tuesday morning radio appearance on WVOM that the commission, which was created in a school funding bill …
Desks and chairs can be seen in the gymnasium of Frankfort Elementary School in this June 2013 file photo. Frankfort Elementary officially closed its doors in 2013.

Task force must fix itself before it can fix Maine schools

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 16, 2016, at 6:36 a.m.
Yes, this is THAT commission.
Gov. Paul LePage placed a paper copy of the biennial state budget beneath rubber pigs and a Christmas tree at the State House in Augusta, June 17, 2015.

Why only a fraction of Maine’s $93 million budget surplus goes to savings

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 14, 2016, at 1 a.m.
Among Gov. Paul LePage’s top complaints about the Legislature is how it deals with extra money in the state budget.
An Orono Middle School student uses his Apple laptop during class on June 12, 2013.

LePage eyes changing laptop program launched by Angus King

By Christopher Cousins on Aug. 12, 2016, at 2:39 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage has placed a key element of Angus King’s legacy as governor under a microscope by ordering a sweeping review of a taxpayer-funded program that provides thousands of computer devices to Maine students.