Ad blitz begins for Maine campaign finance reform in advance of November vote

Good morning! 

Sen. Angus King will likely be the focus of politics news today when he and two special guests take the state this evening at University of Southern Maine to discuss he merits and pitfalls of the proposed nuclear deal with Iran. Joining King will be former Maine Sen. George Mitchell and former U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Burns, who headed U.S. negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program under President George W. Bush. 

Tonight’s forum comes less than a month before Congress is expected to vote on the agreement that was reached by the United States, its P5+1 partners, Iran and the European union. King has already indicated that he will support the agreement and said it was one of his most difficult decisions as a U.S. senator. Mitchell, a former special envoy for Middle East peace, also supports the deal. 

Watch the Bangor Daily News for coverage. Seeing King and Mitchell on a stage together ought to be something to behold. — Christopher Cousins

Dem ‘jobs tour’ headed to Belfast

The “jobs tour” led by Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves, which has visited several areas of Maine this year, will head to the Belfast area on Thursday to highlight the region’s economic successes. Eves and other lawmakers are scheduled to meet with workers and business leaders at Liberty Graphics and Revision Energy in Liberty, followed by a tour of AthenaHealth in Belfast.

Eves launched the jobs tour in January to highlight the need for more jobs and better wages in the state. He will be joined by Belfast-area representatives from the Legislature.

“Our community is very proud of the work we’ve done to grow good jobs and strong wages in industries that will be reshaping our economy,” said Rep. Christine Burstein, D-Lincolnville. “From solar energy to health care and innovative manufacturing, these are the jobs of the future.”

Camp Chamberlain construction to begin Thursday in Augusta

Construction of a long-planned Joint Forces Headquarters for the Maine National Guard will kick of Thursday with a ceremony at the site, which is located near the Maine Veterans Cemetery off Civic Center Drive.

The new facility will be home to Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel who specialize in human resources, intelligence, operations, logistics and resource guidance and support to the major commands of the Maine National Guard, according to a news release.

The facility is named after former Maine governor and adjutant general, Maj. Gen. Joshua Chamberlain, a Civil War hero from Maine who gained his fame during the Battle of Gettysburg.

Camp Keyes, also in Augusta, will remain open after completion of the new headquarters and will continue to house veterans outreach services, ground maintenance support, National Guard print plant operations, training sites, resource management, shipping and receiving and facilities maintenance.

Clean elex group launches first web ad

Here come the political ads!

The crush of television, radio, mail and web advertisements this year won’t come close to what we saw last year in the lead-up to the election, but there will be ads nonetheless.

Mainers for Accountable Elections, which is supporting a “yes” vote on Question 1 on this November’s Ballot, launched its first web advertisement today. Question 1 proposes a range of campaign finance reforms, including increasing clean elections funding for candidaes, requiring special interest groups to list their top three donors on all political ads; will ramp up penalties for violating campaign finance laws, and implement new spending and contribution limits. The referendum also calls for the Legislature to find and cut some $6 million in corporate tax breaks to help finance the new law.

“[The referendum] will ensure everyone, not just the wealthy, can have a voice in our democracy,” said Andrew Bossie of Mainers for Accountable Elections, in a written statement. “We are getting to work now, educating voters about this referendum and how it will put control of elections back in the hands of Maine voters.”

While there is concern about the elimination of corporate tax breaks and ramping up clean elections spending, there so far is no organized opposition group.

You can check out the web ad by clicking here. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

Rubio’s right

Political reporters in general don’t publicly voice opinions about whether politicians are right or wrong, so let me clarify here and now that “Rubio’s right” doesn’t refer to his philosophy, but rather his arm.

Marco Rubio, in case you missed it, is one of a vast field of Republican presidential candidates. The Florida senator is also a former college football player and his hand cannon is still right on the money, unfortunately for a kid at the Iowa State Fair.

The kiddo went long, Rubio threw, and the ball hit the kid square in the face.

Check out the video and an article about the incident by The Hill by clicking here.

There was no word about whether the football was properly inflated, though it might’ve been a little squishy judging by the fact that the kid survived the throw without a bloody nose. — Christopher Cousins

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.