Political newcomer takes on veteran lawmaker in Senate District 25
By Kate Irish Collins on September 18, 2018
FALMOUTH — State Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, and Cathy Nichols, her Republican challenger, agree that the issues most on voters’ minds in Senate District 25 this fall are taxes, bringing civility to Augusta and ensuring good job opportunities for young people.
Where they disagree is how best to address these issues and others facing the state.
Senate District 25 includes Falmouth, Cumberland, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, Long Island, Gray and part of Westbrook. Breen is seeking her third term in the state Senate, while this is the first time Nichols has run for elected office.
“It’s really important that we grow our workforce and provide the education and training (needed) as we grow the economy,” Breen said.
For her, that means supporting and growing economic sectors where Maine already has an advantage and there’s already thriving industry. Growing the economy doesn’t mean giving tax breaks to large corporations to bring their operations here, Breen said.
Rep. Gattine and Sen. Breen: To do its job, Legislature must vote to extend session
It's vital that legislators get more time to fulfill their basic obligations to do what's best for state residents and businesses.
BY CATHY BREEN AND DREW GATTINE - SPECIAL TO THE PRESS HERALD
AUGUSTA — At the most fundamental level, state government is responsible for fixing roads, funding education and providing basic services to Maine people. But when lawmakers went home from Augusta a couple of weeks ago, we left many of these essential duties unfulfilled and unfunded. As a result, uncertainty remains on numerous issues critical to the health and well-being of both our people and our economy. READ MORE HERE...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AFA Committee to Review Latest Medicaid Expansion Estimates
Gattine: “Thousands of Mainers cannot afford to wait any longer for the health care they need to be and stay well”
Breen: “Maine people want and deserve greater access to health care, and the Legislature will honor that demand.”
AUGUSTA - The Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee will meet today to review the latest information on the cost of implementing Medicaid expansion, as approved by Maine voters in November of 2017. In addition to cost estimates previously received from the nonpartisan Office of Fiscal and Program Review and from the DHHS, the legislature now has an independent analysis by Manatt Health. Manatt is a nationally recognized firm that provided a detailed summary of the impact the expansion would have on the state budget through 2021.
“Thousands of Mainers cannot afford to wait any longer for the health care they need to be and stay well,” said Rep. Gattine. “While I’m disappointed that Governor LePage continues to obstruct and ignore deadlines clearly laid out in law, I can’t say that I’m surprised. Medicaid expansion is now the law of the land and our committee will continue to gather the facts, do our work and appropriate funds when they are necessary.”
The LePage Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services are required by law to begin the process of expanding Medicaid eligibility to Mainers earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit — roughly $17,000 annually. The law includes strict deadlines for DHHS to act. However, this past Tuesday, the Administration failed to submit a State Plan Amendment to the Center for Medicaid Services, ignoring a deadline contained in the law and opening them up to litigation.
The AFA committee is tasked with determining the state share of the cost of expansion and determining the appropriate funding levels. In its analysis, Manatt Health estimated that approximately 71,500 Maine residents would gain MaineCare coverage under expansion by fiscal year 2021 — including 62,000 adults and 9,500 parents and children who are currently eligible but not enrolled.
The Manatt report confirms the OFPR analysis that the cost of Medicaid Expansion will be partially offset by significant savings. Based on the experience of states that already opted to provide expanded Medicaid coverage, Maine could save as much as $25.6 million by 2021. The net cost to the state is projected to be $30.5 million in the state's 2019 fiscal year and $48.59 million in 2020. Previous meetings of the committee had made clear that that the state would not need an additional appropriation to fund the state share until May of 2019.
“The failure of the LePage administration to meet Medicaid expansion deadlines and comply with the law is nothing new. In the Legislature, we will continue to do our work to respect the will of the voters and take the appropriate steps to implement expansion,” said Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth. “Maine people want and deserve greater access to health care, and the Legislature will honor that demand.”
The committee will meet today at 2pm to discuss the Manatt Report. The committee will meet again on Monday, April 9, to discuss legislation that would fund administrative positions within the DHHS to support expansion. Committee audio available here.
Letter to the editor: Complaint about state Sen. Cathy Breen was both unfair and untrue
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD
APRIL 3, 2018
By Margery Gruber, Cumberland
Gary Reed of Falmouth complained in a letter to the editorpublished March 27 that Sen. Cathy Breen and an unnamed contact at the Office of the State Controller did not respond to his request for a tax form he needed.
My first response was to say, “Really?” By the time Mr. Reed penned his complaint to the editor, he could have called back either office, called the Internal Revenue Service or stopped by the Falmouth library. READ MORE...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2018
Senate Democratic Office
Breen Response to Outrageous Senate Order
AUGUSTA — Late Monday night, the Maine Senate passed an unprecedented Senate Order which permits the Senate President to pursue broad legal action regarding administration of ranked-choice voting. The vote was 21-13.
Sen. Cathy Breen, of Falmouth, who opposed the measure, and who led efforts to amend the Maine Constitution to reflect the will of the people, released the following statement:
“I want to be clear - the Senate President does not speak for me or the entirety of the Senate. I am deeply opposed to this blatant effort to undermine the will of the voters, and I’m appalled at this unprecedented overreach on the part of the Senate President.
Last night’s vote highlights the failure of the Legislature to take action on the issue over the past year and a half. It is our basic responsibility as lawmakers to represent the will of the people, which is why - over a year ago - I sponsored legislation to amend Maine’s Constitution to comport with ranked-choice voting. My constitutional amendment would have addressed all of the concerns laid out by the Senate Order, including questions relating to funding and implementation. Instead, Republican lawmakers rejected every attempt to make ranked-choice voting work. The very problem that ranked-choice voting supporters want to solve, hyper-partisanship in our government, was on full display last night.”