Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

State House Bureau Chief

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 …
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

LePage welfare chief, predecessor clash in DC over how to fight fraud

By Christopher Cousins on June 09, 2016, at 5:19 p.m.
Past and current commissioners of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services clashed Thursday on Capitol Hill over the state’s ongoing efforts to reduce fraud in its food stamps program.

Now that primaries are over, where do Maine superdelegates stand?

on June 09, 2016, at 1:34 p.m.
Maine Democratic Party Chairman Phil Bartlett ended months of speculation about who his Democratic National Convention superdelegate vote will go to when he said through a spokeswoman Thursday that he will support Hillary Clinton. Bartlett is the only one of Maine’s five superdelegates who had not previously voiced his preference. “Secretary Clinton has …

Confronted at town hall, LePage says: ‘I am not a racist’

on June 09, 2016, at 9:57 a.m.
Good morning from blustery Augusta, where it’d be a good day for sailing or flying a kite if it weren’t so chilly. Those options being impossible, I guess I’ll start working. This morning at the State House, a coalition of businesses and organizations will announce the submission of a petition …
Governor Paul LePage speaks at a campaign event in a gravel pit in Gray, May 3, 2014.

LePage launches new salvo against environmental group

By Christopher Cousins on June 08, 2016, at 2:21 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage continued confronting the Natural Resources Council of Maine, accusing them Wednesday of “playing to the media” and inviting the group’s director to meet with him.

LePage: New England governors say Maine drug laws are not tough enough

on June 07, 2016, at 9:49 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where Gov. Paul LePage is again turning his focus to the opioid epidemic. LePage and the other New England governors are gathering at Harvard Medical School to discuss what’s being done to fight the region’s addiction crisis. In at least two states — Maine and Massachusetts …
Diane Soule of Rangeley displays the autographs from the day in 1966 when she met the Beatles and an article she later wrote about it for Datebook Magazine.

This Maine teacher skipped school 50 years ago to meet the Beatles

By Christopher Cousins on June 07, 2016, at 6:14 a.m.
BANGOR | When the Beatles made their U.S. television debut on Ed Sullivan’s show in 1964, Diane Soule was screaming at her television screen along with young women across the nation. Her bedroom was plastered with their pictures, like tens of thousands of other bedrooms around the world. Like …
Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, talks on the phone in the State House in Augusta, Jan. 14, 2016.

The campaign to lead Maine’s next Legislature quietly unfolds

By Christopher Cousins on June 05, 2016, at 6:22 a.m.
With Maine voters growing more attentive to the November elections, the people running for the State House have their eyes cast a bit further into the future to when the new Legislature chooses its leaders for the next two years.

Who’s trying to buy Maine’s 2nd Congressional District?

on June 03, 2016, at 9:59 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where there are the makings of a quiet day at the State House, but as we’ve learned in the past, you just never know. For a four-day week, this one was busy and memorable, from the national monument meetings in the Katahdin region to the hearing …
Gov. Paul LePage and Thomas Bryant, 6, of Newfield collaborate to tap a maple tree outside the Blaine House, March 9, 2016.

LePage rips Maine environmental group in letter to its donors

By Christopher Cousins on June 02, 2016, at 11:36 a.m.
The war of words between Gov. Paul LePage and the Natural Resources Council of Maine escalated Thursday.

Libertarian ‘black belt guy’ aims to take down Chellie Pingree

on June 02, 2016, at 9:34 a.m.
James Bouchard of Brunswick has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to challenge Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in the 1st Congressional District.
The sun sets on the State House in Augusta, June 16, 2015.

Maine Warden Service cancels undercover work, blames media

By Christopher Cousins on June 01, 2016, at 3:31 p.m.
The head of the Maine Warden Service delivered an hourslong, line-by-line rebuttal Wednesday of a recent investigative report by the Maine Sunday Telegram into tactics used in a 2014 undercover investigation in northern Maine.
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage: We could all have health care if…

on June 01, 2016, at 7:53 a.m.
LePage’s comments somewhat contradict some of his moves against disease prevention and public health efforts.

Independents crashing the (political) party in Maine legislative races

on May 31, 2016, at 9:52 a.m.
Good morning from Augusta, where it’s looking more and more like marijuana won’t be legalized in Maine without a fight against it. On a November ballot that’s packed with interesting initiatives, marijuana legalization is likely to garner a lot of attention. Proponents of legalization are well established and well funded …
Gov. Paul LePage answers questions from the third graders at the Brewer Community School on April 2, 2016, following the signing of LD 1609. The bill made the American lobster the official crustacean of Maine.

Can Maine make schools better by raising income tax on high earners?

By Christopher Cousins on May 29, 2016, at 8 a.m.
Voters in November will be asked again whether they want state funding for education to reach 55 percent. This time the referendum identifies a funding source.

Judge reverses ruling on Libertarians’ bid to become Maine political party

By Christopher Cousins on May 27, 2016, at 12:56 p.m.
Libertarians in Maine scored a partial victory in federal court Friday and, as a result, have a second chance to complete an enrollment drive that was deemed insufficient last year by the Maine secretary of state’s office.
Debra Plowman is seen at the Maine Republican Party convention in Augusta, May 6, 2012.

LePage taps another temp, continues refusal to nominate education commissioner

By Christopher Cousins on May 26, 2016, at 3:01 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage continued to sidestep the law regarding legislative confirmation of top administrators Tuesday when he appointed Debra Plowman of Hampden as “temporary deputy education commissioner.”