Sanders to announce Maine legislative endorsements on Tuesday

Good morning from Augusta, where Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders will step up his Maine presence with a State House news conference to announce the formation of his “Working Class Cabinet.”

Sanders, who is battling Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination to run for the presidency, visited Maine in July and isn’t expected at today’s news conference.

In a release, his campaign said the Working Class Cabinet is composed of community and business leaders, as well as elected officials and more than one-third of Maine’s elected Democrats have signed on and will publicly endorse Sanders.

That’s a pretty big deal: Clinton won early endorsements from Maine’s most prominent Democrats so far, including U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, Attorney General Janet Mills, House Speaker Mark Eves and Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond.

But former state Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash has been working hard to gain support for Sanders. House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan confirmed that he’ll be among those endorsing Sanders when the news conference kicks off at noon. — Christopher Cousins

Maine DHHS to pursue welfare changes

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration fired new shots in an old battle with the Maine Legislature over welfare-to-work requirements on Thursday, when it said it would hire a vendor to manage support services for low-income families.

Maine has been facing millions of dollars in federal fines for not meeting work requirements rates since 2007, but the Republican governor’s administration has been accused by advocates of overstating the unlikely reality that the fines will have to be paid to pursue a welfare reform agenda.

LePage hammered Democrats on this issue in 2014, when the Maine Department of Health and Human Services said it was on the hook for $7.1 million in fines. In a Friday news release, Commissioner Mary Mayhew said that has ballooned to $29 million and “can no longer be ignored.”

She said the department will begin a bid process for a contractor to give families comprehensive assessments, job training, transportation and other support services beginning in mid-2016. The Portland Press Herald had a detailed primer on the issue— Michael Shepherd

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No longer standing on the ground

The world has lost another great, as you may have heard. Glenn Frey, one of the founders of the Eagles who helped write Hotel California, among others, died on Monday at age 67.

Obviously, your soundtrack needs to come from the Eagles today. I love Life in the Fast Lane and Dirty Laundry but I’m going to choose from the band’s country side — which is not where I would usually lean.

Still, this is one of my favorite love songs and shows the Eagles’ greatest strength: producing a rounded, full song, and making it sound easy. And peaceful. — Christopher Cousins

Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.