This week’s radio address is presented by Assistant Senate Republican Leader Matt Pouliot.
Hello! I am Senator Matt Pouliot of Augusta and I represent Senate District 15.
As the most unusual session of the Legislature in many years comes to a close, Republicans in the Maine State Senate have a lot to reflect on.
While we held various sessions—with masks on and properly distance—in three different rooms since we reconvened in January. We held committee meetings and discussed legislation with people far away, some of whom we had never met.
For all of its unusual traits, one thing about this session was very consistent. Though we were in the minority, we were able to secure some important victories, and as a caucus, we held to Maine values.
For example, we resisted the push to decriminalize both prostitution and the possession of illegal drugs, and we supported wholeheartedly the men and women of law enforcement, defeating an attempt to remove their “qualified immunity” protections.
To no one’s surprise, we resisted the return of Big Government to Maine and we held the line, as always, on tax increases and overspending.
Not only does the latest budget add 220 new state employee positions, but the bills that we considered would create at least two new state agencies creating millions of dollars in new spending.
We also fought against several bills that would raise the cost of health insurance on rate payers, while we pushed back against plans to provide free health care to non-citizens. At the same time, we opposed several bills that would raise rates on electricity customers, and were ever mindful of the struggles of small businesses and their employees across Maine.
In support of the Second Amendment, Senate Republicans voted unanimously in defeating four bills designed to infringe on our right to keep and bear arms, to prevent foreign trash from entering Maine.
While it is true that you can get more done when you are in the majority, Senate Republicans stuck to their core beliefs and despite their minority status served the people of Maine well.
With most of the work of the Legislature completed, all attention turns now to the remaining pieces of the state budget.
One of our major priorities is to give a tax cut to all working Mainers.
Democrats have proposed making the first $10,200 in benefits received by people who were on unemployment this past year tax free. Republicans feel that all working Mainers deserve this tax break as well.
This is just one of the remaining points of negotiation that remain over the next week or two before we officially adjourn. As we do, we will keep the best interests of hard-working Mainers at the forefront of our thoughts and actions.
Again, I am Senator Matt Pouliot Augusta and Senate District 15. Have a nice weekend.