Gov. Janet Mills makes her entrance into the Capitol chambers in this Jan. 21, 2020, file photo.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “They say, ‘Are you crazy?’” Kevin Holland said of people who wonder why he recently opened an independent pharmacy in Belfast across from Walgreens and near a Hannaford store. “But I don’t view them as competitors. I think what we do is different.” Here’s your soundtrack.

What we’re watching today

It’s budget season and everyone wants a piece of the $127 million supplemental plan the governor has laid out. They’ll have a chance to make their case over the next week or so. The Legislature’s budget committee will start reviewing Gov. Janet Mills’ supplemental budget with a public hearing today on transportation, economic development and tax changes in the budget.

Republicans have made a $10 million one-time expenditure a top issue in light of the beleaguered transportation fund. They’re sure to resist Mills’ call to put more bond money toward the issue. But they’d also like to see more surplus money put into the rainy day fund than the $20 million than the Democratic governor proposed. 

Republicans and Democrats will also want money for nursing homes and senior care agencies, particularly after a Farmingdale nonprofit that provided home care for senior citizens closed. There is also concern that more money could go toward reducing the state’s waitlists for intellectually disabled and autistic adults

Those who are pushing for changes to the state’s indigent legal services system, which provides legal defense for Maine’s poor, are sure to look to the state for more money to compensate the program’s lawyers. The race for the surplus is just kicking off.

The Maine politics top 3

— “Janet Mills’ criticism of Maine tribal sovereignty push surprised some who crafted it,” Caitlin Andrews, Bangor Daily News: “In interviews on Monday, members of the Maine Indian Claims Task Force, which began meeting in July, said the governor’s office never raised … concerns while recommendations were being created. The task force was required to have at least one non-voting member of the governor’s office appointed to it by state law.”

The governor expanded on her views of the bill on social media this weekend. Mills commented on the Facebook page of conservationist Lucas St. Clair that the bill has “broad unintended consequences which cannot be easily corrected later” and pointed to President Donald Trump’s push to open the Bears Ears National Monument for oil drilling as an example of how the federal government doesn’t always serve as a “backstop” for protecting natural resources. Chief Clarissa Sabattis of the Houlton Band of Maliseets responded by saying, “History shows that the federal and state government has never been the backstop on environmental issues first. The tribes in Maine have been the backstop.”

— “These 3 women were tired of waiting for someone to do something about addiction in Millinocket,” Judy Harrison, BDN: “Beginning last March, the trio met once a week, divvied up tasks, sought help and input from local and state leaders, and met again to report what they had learned. Connecting with [Gordon Smith, Maine’s director of opioid response], who just happened to be in his office in Augusta when they called, played an essential role in opening the center, all three women said.”

— “Lack of coordination holding back regional public transit improvements,” Peter McGuire, Portland Press Herald: “More passengers are riding public transportation in southern Maine than at any time in the past decade, but some Portland-area officials say a lack of coordination among the seven agencies operating their own train, bus and ferry services is holding back future gains.”

Endorsement central

One of the candidates competing for the Republican nomination in Maine’s 2nd District is getting a national boost. Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is endorsing former state Sen. Eric Brakey in the primary to take on Democratic Rep. Jared Golden later this year. The move shouldn’t come as a surprise — Brakey chaired Paul’s campaign during the senator’s short-lived 2016 presidential run and Paul endorsed Brakey during his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate. 

Brakey has already raised significantly more than his Republican opponents — former state Rep. Dale Crafts and Adrienne Bennett, who was press secretary to former Gov. Paul LePage — through the end of 2019. LePage, meanwhile, has given his weighty endorsement to Crafts and spoke on his behalf at party events this past weekend, including in Washington County

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Jessica Piper and Caitlin Andrews. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, email clumm@bangordailynews.com (we’re setting up a new subscriber page soon) to subscribe to it via email.

To reach us, do not reply directly to this newsletter, but contact the political team at mshepherd@bangordailynews.com, candrews@bangordailynews.com or jpiper@bangordailynews.com.

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after three years as a reporter at the Kennebec Journal. A Hallowell native who now lives in Augusta, he graduated from the University of Maine in...