GOP rep bows out; poverty in Maine skyrockets; win a gas-powered alarm clock!

One of the GOP’s rising stars bows out of Legislature

Tyler A Clark 47.JPGRep. Tyler Clark, R-Easton, has announced that he will not seek re-election after serving three terms in the House of Representatives. That means that the local Republican committees in House District 148, which includes Caswell, Connor Township, Cyr Plantation, Easton, Fort Fairfield, Hamlin, Limestone, part of Presque Isle and Stockholm, have until 5 p.m. on July 28 to caucus and nominate a replacement candidate.

Clark’s withdrawal is a blow to the GOP. As one of the younger members of the Legislature at a time when Republicans are trying to appeal to young voters, and as a member of the powerful Appropriations Committee, his influence was considerable.

“With his dedication to fiscal responsibility and less debt for his generation, Rep. Clark represents the growing movement of youth toward the Republican Party,” said GOP spokesman David Sorensen. “He has been an invaluable member of the Appropriations Committee, working long nights to balance Maine’s budget and earning the profound respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle along the way.”

Clark said Wednesday morning that that though he enjoyed his time as a lawmaker, serving in Augusta was “too hard financially.” Representatives make $10,815 in the first year of a legislative session and $7,725 in the second year.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people of my district,” said Clark. “I’m going to work on my career and I’ve got a couple of job offers. … I’ll probably be back someday.”

(UPDATE, 3 p.m., July 2, 2014) Clark’s decision means that four out of the five Republicans currently on the Appropriations Committee are either leaving their posts or are being ousted by term limit laws.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said Clark will be missed.

“Rep. Clark is one of the rising stars of the Republican Party and is indicative of the bright future the GOP has ahead of us,” said Fredette in a written statement. “WE will be sorry to lose him as a member of the House Republican team, but I wish him well and look forward to working with whoever the Republicans of House District 148 choose as their candidate.”

Clark said he has heard of a couple Republicans interested in taking his place on the November ballot but has chosen not to be involved in discussions about who should be nominated.

Two other candidates, Democrat Alan Whittemore of Limestone and independent Gregory A Ward of Limestone, are already on the ballot. Whittemore defeated Michael N. Blier of Fort Fairfield in the June primary with about 47 percent of the vote.

Poverty in Maine increased 10 percent in 10 years

Earlier this week, I blogged about a data analysis by the New York Times that found northern and eastern Maine to be some of the most difficult places to live in the northeast based on economic, education and health factors.

Now, the Huffington Post has compiled another map based on Census data that shows the percentage of Mainers living in poverty increased by more than 10 percent between 2000 and 2010. That put the Pine Tree State, once again, in a worse position than the rest of New England. For a family of four, the poverty line in most states is an annual income of $23,850, according to the Huffington Post article.



According to the Maine Community Action Association, one in eight Mainers lives below the official poverty line, though the group argues that a livable wage in Maine is much higher.

The prize: Gas-powered alarm clock autographed by Rand Paul

alarm clockFor a $5 donation to the Maine Republican Party, you’ll be entered in a drawing to win an alarm clock duct-taped on top of a two-gallon gas can.

To borrow a line from humor columnist Dave Barry, I swear I am not making this up.

The contraption in question was used as a prop by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, during his keynote speech at the Republican State Convention in April. Paul used the gasoline-powered alarm clock, which he then autographed, to illustrate “how intrusive and wasteful big government is,” according to a press release from the Maine GOP. Paul said the U.S. Department of Energy investigated and approved the clock.

For every $5 donation between now and July 7, the donor will be entered in the “Maine GOP Freedom Raffle.” That seems like a bargain, given that a roll of duct tape these days will set you back almost $5 alone. It’s unclear whether the clock will work with regular gas or if you’ll have to spring for high-test.

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.