Democrats Refuse to Provide Sheriff Candidates, Governor Selects Mason

02/18/2016 04:16 PM EST

 

For Immediate Release: Thursday, February 18, 2016 Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – In light of the blatant refusal from Kennebec County Democratic Party Committee members to provide more than one candidate for Sheriff, Governor Paul R. LePage has selected another candidate for the post. Governor LePage today announced Major Kenneth Mason to serve as the new Sheriff.

Last week, the Democratic Committee decided to withhold other names from the nomination process. The Committee submitted interim Sheriff Ryan Reardon’s name in October 2015.

Last month, Attorney General Janel Mills wrote a letter to Kennebec County Democratic Committee Chair Rita Moran requesting the committee’s intentions regarding the pending nomination process. Mills wrote, “While the intent of the statute is not entirely clear, the use of the words “choose” and “recommendations” seem to imply that if the Committee submits recommendations, the names of more than on qualified individual should be submitted.”

“Repeatedly, I have asked for at least two names as required by the law, but Democrats continue to play silly games and I have had enough,” said Governor Paul LePage. “I am selecting Major Kenneth Mason for this appointment. He has more than 30 years of experience in law enforcement and I have the utmost confidence he will continue to be an exemplary public servant.”

Born and raised in the Augusta area, Major Mason currently serves as the Chief Deputy for the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office where he was appointed in 2005.

Prior to joining the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Major Mason served as a patrol officer with the Augusta Police Department beginning in 1987. While employed with Augusta Police Department, he was a field training officer instructing and training new hires on patrol functions. Major Mason became a certified D.A.R.E. instructor after completing a two week training course at Colby College in Waterville, and taught D.A.R.E. in all of the elementary schools in Augusta. In 2003, he became a certified Motor Cycle Police Officer and conducted patrol duties on two wheels.

Major Mason is also a United States Marine having served 5 years active duty after he graduated Hall-Dale High School.

Maine DHHS Increasing Support to Expand Capacity for Psychiatric Services in Southern Maine

02/16/2016 06:41 AM EST

 

**AUGUSTA** – The Maine Department of Health and Human Services is supporting a funding request made by Spring Harbor Hospital to reopen 12 adult psychiatric treatment beds in Westbrook.

Under this agreement, Spring Harbor will be able to function at full capacity with 100 beds available to treat those experiencing mental illness or co-occurring disorders.

“There have been far too many cases of individuals in need of inpatient psychiatric services spending countless days in hospital emergency rooms waiting for available psychiatric beds. For some, it could mean many days of waiting. While the state has long played a significant role in funding services at the two private psychiatric hospitals, Spring Harbor and Acadia Hospital in Bangor, the LePage Administration is committed to providing care to our state’s most vulnerable as quickly as possible,” said DHHS Commissioner Mary Mayhew.

“The re-opening of our 12-bed unit will provide access to timely treatment of acute mental health needs. Having access to more adult psychiatric beds will decrease lengths of stay in emergency departments, and provide the necessary inpatient care to smoothly transition people to the right level care in the community setting,” said Mary Jane Krebs, President of Spring Harbor.

This change will not only improve the existing process by which people receive care, but also support the mental health system within the State of Maine. As a member of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, Spring Harbor will be able to connect with other mental health providers, hospitals and primary care sites to admit patients in a timely manner with quick access to appropriate treatment.

Currently, the Hospital accommodates an average of 79 adult and adolescent patients daily. Through this funding support, Spring Harbor expects to accommodate ten additional adult patients daily in the new unit. It is important to note that State funding for opening an additional 12 beds would not be possible if the MaineCare program was still operating in a perpetual financial crisis and producing large budgetary shortfalls for Maine.

“Because of our efforts to stabilize Medicaid spending and through sound financial management, we are in a position to redirect our focus and funding to the state’s neediest and most vulnerable,” Commissioner Mayhew said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:

Samantha Edwards, (207) 287-4223 Samantha.Edwards@maine.gov

Amy Safford, (207)661-6616 ASafford@MaineBehavioralHealthcare.org

LePage Administration to Preserve Access to Public Land in the Katahdin Area

 

 

LePage Administration to Preserve Access to Public Land in the Katahdin Area

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage announced today the Bureau of Parks and Lands has taken initial steps to preserve the State’s access to roughly 2,500 acres of publicly held land that is threatened by efforts to create a National Park / National Monument in the Millinocket area.

For years, the Quimby family has worked to impose a National Park on the residents of Northern Maine. When this proposal was voted on by local citizens, it was roundly rejected. Undeterred by the will of the people, Quimby’s effort continues to march forward.

“Despite lack of local support and lack of support from members of Maine’s Congressional delegation, this proposal has now changed direction,” said Governor LePage. “Through the use of high-paid lobbyists in Washington, D.C., the Quimby family has focused its efforts on lobbying the Obama Administration, seeking to have the President use sweeping authority granted to him under the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate this area a National Monument.”

Given this threat of federal takeover, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry today commenced efforts to re-establish access to Public Reserved Land surrounded by the Quimby property. The State has clearly established legal crossing rights to access the public’s land.

Despite these crossing rights, roads to the State’s land have been blocked and bridges have been removed. The Department, however, intends to re-establish its crossing rights and harvest timber on the public’s land, once these roads are rebuilt.

“The time is right to clearly re-establish the public’s legal rights,” said Governor LePage.

Governor Calls on Democrats to Stop Holding Tax Conformity for Ransom

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage once again called on Democrats today to stop hurting the livelihoods of teachers, low-income earners, students, small and large businesses by refusing to enact tax conformity unless it is tied to an additional windfall in education spending, which would be over and above the significant increase already in the current budget.

The Democrats want to raid the Budget Stabilization Fund for $23 million in additional education spending before they approve tax conformity, even though education spending has already increased by $80 million over the last budget.

“The Democrats are holding tax conformity for ransom by tying it to education funding, which is totally unrelated,” said Governor LePage. “They are raiding $23 million from the rainy day fund to deny teachers, low-income earners, students and small and large Maine businesses the tax refunds they deserve. There’s no reason to pay ransom for tax conformity. The Democrats are either for it or against it. If they think tax conformity is good for the Maine people-which it is-they should vote for it. If Democrats disagree with President Obama and think Maine taxpayers do not deserve the same tax refund the federal government is giving them, they should just vote against it.”

In school year 2016-17, state spending is $114 million higher than it was in the LePage administration’s first budget for the 2010-11 school year.

School spending from the state is now $150 million higher than the 2005-06 school year-an 18% increase. In the same period, student population has declined by over 25,000 students-a 13% decrease.

In this biennium, Governor LePage added $40 million over last year. The Legislature added another $40 million. School spending is up $80 million over the last biennium alone. Now the Democrats want to seize $23 million more, which would be a $100 million increase over last biennium.