Politics

August 28, 2012

Political Notebook: Going over the top – and under the water

From staff reports

Talk about playing to your strengths.

Maine state Senate candidate Chris Tyll, a former Navy SEAL, has planned a clever, and for most of us, exhausting, tour of the district he hopes to represent next year.

Tyll, a Republican running for Senate District 11 against independent Sen. Richard Woodbury, will join fellow Navy SEALS in biking, swimming and flying through the district.

In a news release, Tyll wrote that the exercise was designed to demonstrate the cooperative approach to leadership he'd bring to Augusta.

It may not be a bad publicity stunt, either.

Voters are encouraged to meet Tyll at "transition areas." However, they may be better off waiting until 6 p.m. when Tyll and his companions finish the day with a barbecue at the American Legion Post 164 in Falmouth.

The land-sea-air tour will unfold Sept. 8 as follows:

7 a.m. start at the Gray-New Gloucester High School parking lot.

10-mile bike ride to the North Yarmouth Village Green for the annual "Fun Day."

The team will remount their bikes for a 2-mile ride to Eagle Field in North Yarmouth to commence the "air" portion of the tour.

A helicopter -- that's right, a helicopter -- will take Team Tyll from North Yarmouth to Broad Cove. There the SEALs will jump from the helicopter into the water, then swim to Cumberland Town Landing.

They will bike another 8 miles to the Chebeague Transportation Co. dock at Cousins Island in Yarmouth.

From Cousins Island the team will swim 1.65 miles to Chebeague Island, run the 3-mile length of Chebeague, then transit from Chebeague to Long Island Town Hall.

The final leg of the tour is a 3.5-mile swim from Long Island to Falmouth Town Landing.

Senate District 11 includes Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Falmouth, Gray, Long Island, North Yarmouth and Yarmouth.

CATHOLIC GROUP PLANS PRO-GAY MARRIAGE RALLY

Catholics for Marriage Equality will join the Lincoln County Coalition for Marriage Equality for a demonstration of support for gay marriage on Sunday.

The gathering is set for noon on the bridge over the Damariscotta River between Newcastle and Damariscotta, according to a news release sent out Friday morning.

"Help hold our purple banners that proclaim the way life should be for all loving couples in Maine," the release said.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland takes a very different stance on gay marriage, having played a significant role three years ago in repealing the state's gay marriage law.

This time around, the diocese has said it will work to rally the faithful on the issue, although major financial donations are unlikely.

Earlier last week, gay-marriage opponents Protect Marriage Maine met with clergy to get organized and energized with just 11 weeks to go before Election Day, Nov. 6.

KING INVITES ERSKINE BOWLES TO FORUM

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King will discuss the national debt with former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, the King campaign announced last week.

King invited Bowles to a Sept. 9 forum at the University of Southern Maine.

Bowles is a former chief of staff for President Clinton, and he was the co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, President Obama's bipartisan panel that last year released an outline of ways to reduce the national debt.

The Simpson-Bowles report was widely heralded for recommending spending reductions to programs cherished by Democrats and Republicans alike. However, few of the recommendations have been enacted due to predicted political implications.

The Maine Republican Party, in a release sent shortly after the announcement, mocked the discussion.

The GOP release said: "Taking the position against fiscal irresponsibility is Mr. Bowles, a moderate Democrat who helped craft a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion by 2020 mostly through spending cuts."

The release dubs King as "a politically ambiguous Independent who increased spending by 50 percent as governor and left Maine with a $1 billion deficit."

The forum will take place from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine's Hannaford Hall.

NATIONAL BUSINESS GROUP ADS WILL TARGET MICHAUD

Politico's Morning Score blog reported Tuesday that the National Federation of Independent Businesses will kick off a $2 million campaign to bolster the group's endorsed congressional candidates.

The campaign will include ads hitting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-2nd District, in an effort to boost his Republican opponent, Kevin Raye, according to the report. Raye, the current state Senate president, is also a member of the NFIB.

The ad buy is targeting eight congressional districts. The NFIB, considered one of the leading lobbying groups for small businesses, is expected to announce its slate of endorsements soon.

SOME IN GOP WANT SPECIAL SESSION TO BLOCK HEALTH CARE REFORM

Some Maine Republicans want Gov. LePage to follow through with the idea of a special legislative session. And they want him to use it to try to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

LePage told an audience of Republicans earlier this month that he was considering a special session before the election that would push the envelope, rile Democrats and put Maine on the right course for the next 10 years. But he has refused to say what it is he's planning.

The Androscoggin County Republican Party overwhelmingly approved a resolution Monday asking LePage to call the Maine Legislature back to Augusta to take up legislation nullifying the president's health care reform law, according to news release from a group called the Tenth Amendment Center that is pushing for nullification.

Only two of the more than 100 members in attendance at the Androscoggin County meeting opposed the resolution, it says.

Nullification legislation would declare the federal law unconstitutional and authorize the governor and state lawmakers to take steps to block implementation.

Durham Town Republican Secretary Jason Greene is quoted in the release saying that states can block the Affordable Care Act just like they refused to implement the Real ID Act during the Bush administration.

James Madison and Thomas Jefferson first advanced the principle of nullification by the states in 1798 in response to the Alien and Sedition Acts, according to the Tenth Amendment Center.

The Cumberland County Republican Committee could also take up a similar resolution next week, the group said.

It's unclear if LePage was considering such a move when he spilled the beans Aug. 15 about a possible special session, apparently unaware he was being recorded.

On one hand, it would be hard to make the case that stopping the federal health care reforms passed in 2010 would present the kind of extraordinary circumstances needed to legally convene a special session.

On the other hand, such an effort would really upset Democrats, and it meets LePage's description as something other states have done.

Missouri and Oklahoma are among those that have taken up nullification proposals, for example. Twenty state legislatures have enacted laws and measures related to challenging or opting out of broad health reform including the Affordable Care Act, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Some passed restrictions on implementation of the law, and some adopted interstate compacts that could be used to avoid implementation of the law down the road.

LePage has called the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional since before he was elected, but has not publicly suggested that Maine join any nullification effort.

LePage's spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, would not discuss the special session issue or say whether it had anything to do with blocking the Affordable Care Act.

"I'm not going to confirm or deny anything," she said Wednesday.

As far as the Androscoggin County resolution, Bennett was equally tight-lipped: "The governor will be made aware."

Staff Writer Steve Mistler can be reached at 791-6345 or at: smistler@pressherald.com

Staff Writer John Richardson can be reached at 791-6324 or at: jrichardson@pressherald.com

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Susan Cover can be reached at 621-5643 or at: scover@mainetoday.com

 

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