December 6, 2012

Legislators take oath, LePage takes aim

The governor criticizes the Democrats' decision to hire a cameraman to film his public events as "vulgar, vicious and vile."

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Gay Grant, D-South Gardiner, center, takes the oath of office Wednesday as a state representative at the House in Augusta. All Senate and House members were sworn in for the 126th Legislature by Gov. Paul LePage.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

click image to enlarge

Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, walks to the Senate president's podium on Wednesday after being confirmed by his colleagues in the Senate. All Senate and House members were sworn in for the 126th Legislature by Gov. Paul LePage.

Andy Molloy / Staff Photographer

Additional Photos Below

Related headlines

126TH LEGISLATURE
BY THE NUMBERS

HOUSE
(151 members)
:

89 Democrats

58 Republicans

2 Independents

2 unenrolled

47 women (34 are Democrats, 13 Republicans)

At age 81, Rep. Helen Rankin, D-Hiram, is the most senior member of the House. Rep. Justin Chennette, D-Saco, 21, is the youngest.

There are 65 new House members, of which 10 have served in the House previously.

Occupations:

35 retirees

14 business owners

10 educators

9 health care professional

9 self-employed

8 attorneys

7 consultants

3 carpenters

2 farmers

2 work in the pulp & paper industry

1 logger


SENATE
(35 members)

19 Democrats

15 Republicans

1 unenrolled

Gender:

Seven women (all Democrats), 28 men (12 Democrats, 15 Republicans, 1 unenrolled)

Experience:

18 incumbents

17 new members, 5 have no previous experience

The combined legislative experience totals 223 years.

Sources: Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate

Lawmakers have a host of challenges, including a projected $100 million shortfall in the Department of Health and Human Services for the budget year ending June 30.

The Legislature is also facing a projected $880 million shortfall in the next two-year budget.

Additionally, Democrats have hinted that they likely will make changes to the controversial health insurance overhaul that Republicans passed in 2011, and they may propose delaying or eliminating tax cuts for wealthy Mainers that were passed by the previous Legislature.

"We will fight to defend those things, I can tell you that," said Rep. Jeffrey Timberlake, R-Turner.

Democratic leaders also have hinted that one of the first initiatives will be related to training Maine's work force to better meet business' needs.

"We know our work force faces a skills gap," Eves said in his speech Wednesday. "Ingenuity and hard work are built into Maine people, but we need to give them the skills they need to compete."

Such an initiative may be an early opportunity for collaboration. LePage has repeatedly lamented the skills gaps in Maine's work force and Republicans have often echoed his concerns.

Also Wednesday, former Maine Attorney General Janet Mills of Farmington and former Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap of Old Town retook the positions they vacated after the Republicans gained control in the Legislature two years ago. Mills and Dunlap will be sworn in sometime in January, replacing William Schneider and Charlie Summers, respectively.

State Auditor Neria Douglass of Auburn won election as state treasurer, replacing Bruce Poliquin. Pola Buckley of Hallowell will replace Douglass as auditor.

Democrats have 89 seats in the 151-member House, Republicans have 58. There are two unenrolled members and two independents.

Democrats have a 19-15 edge in the Senate, with one unenrolled member.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

smistler@mainetoday.com

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Additional Photos

click image to enlarge

Gay Grant, D-South Gardiner, center, takes the oath of office as a state representative Wednesday at the State House. All Senate and House members were sworn in for the 126th Legislature by Gov. Paul LePage.

Andy Molloy / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

House Minority Leader Rep. Kenneth Fredette, of Newport, looks over papers after being sworn in for his second term on Wednesday at the State House.

AP / Joel Page

click image to enlarge

Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, carries his son, Finnegan, 4, Wednesday, before being sworn in for a new term in the House of Representatives at the State House in Augusta.

Andy Molloy / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Newly-elected Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick speaks Wednesday at the swearing in ceremony for new representatives at the State House in Augusta.

AP / Joel Page

click image to enlarge

Matt Pouliot, R-Augusta, hugs his mother, Lisa Pouliot, Wednesday before taking the oath of office in the House of Representatives in Augusta.

Andy Molloy / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Corey Wilson, R-Augusta, greets well wishers Wednesday before taking the oath of office in the House of Representatives in Augusta.

Andy Molloy / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

Rep. Kathleen Chase, of Wells, is sworn in Wednesday at the State House in Augusta.

AP / Joel Page

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Gov. Paul LePage speaks Wednesday at the swearing in ceremony for new representatives at the State House. LePage administered the oath of office to the new legislators who were elected last month.

AP / Joel Page

 


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