Donald Trump’s upset victory in the presidential race will do more than upend national politics.

His policies will affect all states, including Maine, on issues ranging from immigration and health care to trade and education. The Republican’s victory also will likely play a role in what policy changes Gov. Paul LePage pursues in the state – and could even be a factor in whether LePage stays in Maine or, as an early and high-profile Trump supporter, he’s offered a job with the new administration and resigns as governor to move to Washington.

Trump hasn’t always been specific on what he wants to do – for instance, he has promised to “repeal and replace” Obamacare without offering many details on what his new health insurance plan will look like. But with both houses of Congress remaining in Republican hands, he will be in a strong position to make changes in how Washington operates and how the federal government works with the states. He has been promising to change direction on a broad range of programs.

Here’s a look at how Trump’s win is likely to affect Maine and Mainers in the years to come:


If Trump follows through on his pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, more than 80,000 Maine residents could lose health insurance that they purchased on the individual marketplace.

Maine’s uninsured rate plummeted from 16.1 percent in 2013 – before the marketplace offering subsidized insurance went into effect – to 8.8 percent in 2015, according to a Gallup survey. Many part-time and self-employed workers, who would not be eligible to obtain insurance coverage through an employer, signed up for ACA insurance.

Emily Brostek, executive director of Consumers for Affordable Health Care, an Augusta-based health advocacy group, said it’s difficult to know what will actually happen once Trump takes office in 2017.

Previous votes in Congress to repeal the ACA occurred when Republican congressional leaders knew they did not have enough votes to override President Obama’s vetoes.

“There has been a lot of talk about repeal and what happens next,” Brostek said. “Trump was an unpredictable candidate and that means he will probably be an unpredictable president. When it comes right down to it, will they go ahead and yank coverage away from millions of people?”

Trump’s campaign website said that “on Day One of the Trump administration, we will ask Congress to immediately deliver a full repeal of Obamacare.” But the website also said that Trump would seek a full slate of reforms to replace the complex health care law, such as allowing people to deduct health insurance premiums from their taxes and for individuals to be permitted to create tax-free Health Savings Accounts where people can squirrel away money for health care costs.

Brostek said both provisions wouldn’t necessarily help low-income families because they may not have the disposable income to pay premiums for a year and then be reimbursed at tax time, or have enough savings to deposit into a Health Savings Account.


Trump made his dislike of free-trade agreements a centerpiece of his campaign, saying that American companies and workers often come out on the short end of such deals. Besides vowing to scuttle the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would open new markets in Asia and elsewhere, he has targeted the 22-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico for reversal.

That agreement to roll back tariffs has had a significant impact on Maine’s economy. According to data collected by the Canadian government and the Maine International Trade Center, Canada and Maine shared $3.2 billion in bilateral trade as of 2014. Of that amount, $1.3 billion involved Maine exports to Canada. In 1996, those exports totaled $527 million.

From the time NAFTA was implemented in 1994 through 2000, Canadian investment in the U.S. increased nine-fold to more than $27 billion, according to a 2003 analysis by Planning Decisions Inc. Investments in Maine included $70 million for a potato processing facility, and three major paper mills and eight sawmills operating in Maine were owned by Canadian companies. Today, Canadian company Catalyst operates a paper mill in Rumford, and Canadian behemoth Irving operates two sawmills – one in Ashland received a $33 million upgrade last year – and manages 1.2 million acres of forest in Maine.

Lobster processing and joint blueberry production also benefited from the elimination of tariffs between Maine and its neighbor to the north.

But Maine has both lost and gained manufacturing jobs as a result of NAFTA, according to the Planning Decisions report. The overall result in its first decade was most likely a net loss because of imports and the movement of production facilities to Canada and Mexico, the report said.

Today, 38,500 Maine jobs depend on trade and investment with Canada, according to the Maine International Trade Center.


In broad strokes and without specifics, Trump has called for eliminating the federal Department of Education and ending Common Core – two goals he shares with conservative activists.

“Common Core is a federal takeover of school curriculum. (The) Department of Education should be disbanded, not expanded. Focus on local education.” Trump tweeted in May.

On his campaign website, Trump has emphasized school choice as the centerpiece of his K-12 education goals. He said he would shift existing federal funds to put an extra $20 billion toward school choice programs. States could use those federal funds to help support students who attend private schools, magnet schools and charter schools.

Trump also said he wants to offer school choice to all school-age children living in poverty.

Amid concern about rising college costs, Trump’s top policy adviser has said Trump wants to get the federal government out of the student loan system, reverting lending back to private banks.

Trump’s remarks about stricter immigration requirements and his vows to end the J-1 visa, used by some students from overseas, may chill international student programs in both K-12 and higher education. A State Department-backed survey in 2015 found that almost 1 million international students were studying at U.S. colleges and universities in 2014, and high schools across the country, including some in Maine, have increasingly sought tuition-paying students from overseas.

Those students have a big impact on school finances because they pay higher tuition rates. A Brookings Institution report on F-1 visas, most commonly used for international students, found that about 524,000 foreign students on F-1 visas at U.S. colleges in 2012 paid $21.8 billion in tuition and $12.8 billion in other spending.

Trump also has said he wants reforms that tie federal tax breaks and tax dollars, including student aid, to colleges that are “making a good-faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt.”


Trump has given conflicting signals on whether he favors raising the minimum wage or whether there should even be a minimum wage, at least at the federal level.

Maine voters on Tuesday joined a growing list of states backing increases in the minimum wage. The ballot initiative will raise the state’s minimum pay from the current $7.50 an hour to $12 an hour by 2020.

Voters in Arizona, Colorado and Washington state also approved increases in minimum wages Tuesday, while voters in South Dakota rejected a proposal to cut the minimum wage for workers younger than 18 from $8.55 an hour to $7.50 an hour. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour hasn’t been increased in more than seven years.

At one point during the campaign, Trump questioned the need for a federal minimum wage law, saying it should be up to the states to set minimum pay.

But he has also said in interviews and on Twitter that American wages are too high, too low, or not competitive with other nations, according to The Washington Post. At a news conference in July, Trump said the federal minimum wage should be at least $10, according to Politico.


Energy issues are important for Mainers, who pay above-average prices for heat and electricity. But beyond the plight of coal miners and oil field workers, energy received little attention during the election, likely because Americans are enjoying low gasoline and heating fuel prices.

So while it’s hard to immediately decipher how Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress may influence Maine’s energy picture, Trump has made it clear he favors fossil fuel development over renewables. And he may pursue policies that help keep gasoline and heating oil prices low, such as opening more federal land to drilling.

It seems obvious that Trump won’t support the clean-energy policies that have been championed by Obama, but his influence on wind and solar development in Maine and elsewhere may be tempered. Last year, Congress renewed tax breaks for wind and solar systems that will phase out in 2020. The measure had bipartisan support, and some states that helped Trump win – such as Texas, Kansas and Iowa – are home to big wind farms or make wind energy components.

Beyond that, much of the large-scale wind development in Maine, and some pending solar projects, hinge on clean-energy policies enacted in southern New England, not Washington, D.C.

One exception for Maine could be the experimental, offshore floating wind farm being developed at the University of Maine. The New England Aqua Ventus project is a finalist for a $40 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. But no one knows whether the department’s offshore wind demonstration program will survive under Trump, or if that money, which is subject to congressional appropriations, will materialize.

Trump also will get to appoint members to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which has a role in approving oil and natural gas pipelines, as well as power transmission projects. New England has been debating several proposals for gas pipelines and electricity corridors, and the outcome can influence what Mainers pay for power. FERC commissioners serve five-year terms. The agency now has three Democrats and two open seats.


Trump and LePage see largely eye-to-eye on immigration and refugee resettlement – they’re both against it.

Early in his campaign, Trump called for a ban on allowing Muslims to come to America and later amended that to call for “extreme vetting” for those seeking to resettle from countries where terrorism is rampant. LePage this month told the federal government that he will withdraw state assistance for programs that help refugees be placed in Maine, although it doesn’t appear that he has the authority to block the federal government from placing refugees in the state, and the aid might continue through other federal agencies or private groups. LePage has said the refugees pose a security threat to the state because the federal government isn’t checking their background thoroughly.

And Trump insulted the state’s sizable Somali population during a rally in Portland in August, suggesting that they were a drag on state resources and potentially dangerous.

“As Maine knows, a major destination for Somali refugees, right? Am I right? Well, they’re all talking about it – Maine, Somali refugees,” Trump said at a rally where he was introduced by LePage. “We admit hundreds of thousands, you admit, into Maine and to other places in the United States, hundreds of thousands of refugees. And they’re coming from among the most dangerous territories and countries anywhere in the world.”

LePage didn’t comment on Trump’s remarks about Somali refugees, which led to a solidarity demonstration of Portland city officials and members of the Maine Somali community the day after Trump’s rally.


It’s not clear whether Trump’s election will have an impact on legalized marijuana in the state. Maine is one of four states that voted Tuesday on legalizing recreational use of marijuana, but the race was still too close to call Wednesday. If Mainers approve Question 1 and there is no recount or court challenge, the law would go into effect 10 days after LePage issues a proclamation on the results.

But in October, LePage indicated he may mount a court challenge if Question 1 passes. He said he takes an oath to uphold state and federal laws and that he could face impeachment if he doesn’t block recreational use of marijuana because it is, under federal law, still illegal.

Uncertainty also remains on the federal level, where it is not clear how the Trump administration would handle the ongoing state-by-state approach to legalizing marijuana for adults. The Obama administration has largely declared hands-off on state legalization moves, at least for small amounts of marijuana and medical marijuana.

Trump told The Washington Post in 2015 that states should be allowed to legalize marijuana, but advocates say they worry his likely appointees for senior law enforcement positions do not favor reform of marijuana laws.

National advocates for reform of marijuana laws believe they have a strong base of support among Trump backers, and they may push for marijuana to be removed from the federal list of illegal drugs during a Trump presidency.


With Trump in the White House, the reverberations in state government and the Legislature could be significant. LePage, who endorsed Trump early this year and appeared with him at rallies in Bangor and Portland, is ideologically aligned with Trump on key issues, including abolishing the Affordable Care Act, tightening immigration regulations, an increased law enforcement focus on drug trafficking, and slashing taxes.

While LePage has said Trump was his third choice for president – after New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush – the governor also has joked about a spot in a Trump administration, saying he would like to be an ambassador – to Canada in the summer and Jamaica in the winter. After endorsing Trump in February, LePage also said he would “retire” if Hillary Clinton won the presidency, but if Trump won, “you bet, I’m going to go help.”

LePage’s family, including his daughter, Lauren, who worked for Trump’s campaign in Maine, and his wife, Ann, who offered a video endorsement of Trump, also have been supporters of the president-elect.

Perennial topics of discussion in the Legislature, including a nearly six-year debate over the expansion of the state-managed and federally funded Medicaid system – which LePage and other Republicans have largely opposed – will likely be affected by the politics of a Trump presidency. Since that expansion is tied to getting more people health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, Trump’s pledge to repeal the law would likely end that effort.

Other key debates, including ones over renewable energy, environmental regulation and climate change, could likely be influenced by Trump’s win. Trump has questioned the validity of climate change and has said he wants to roll back federal regulations, including those that limit the exploitation of domestic energy sources.

Staff Writers Gillian Graham, Joe Lawlor, Carol Coultas, Craig Anderson, Tux Turkel and Scott Thistle contributed to this report.


CORRECTION: This story was updated at 10:30 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2016 correct the extent of Irving’s holdings.

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