Good morning from Augusta, where we think our credit scores are still as intact as journalists’ can be after the Equifax breach. Here’s what our senators think of it.
Susan Collins and Angus King have called on federal agencies to investigate Equifax stock sales. The credit reporting agency’s data breach compromised more than 524,000 Mainers, and now Maine’s two senators are among 36 U.S. senators calling for an investigation into the sale of $2 million in stock by high-level Equifax executives just after the data breach.
Meanwhile, a group called Allied Progress is using the breach as a reason to target Collins in a new television ad. It calls on the Republican to buck Senate Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s arbitration rule.
King supports that rule, but Collins hasn’t taken a position. Collins spokeswoman Annie Clark said in a Thursday email that her boss is “currently examining the implications of the rule.” But King said in a statement that the fine print in Equifax’s data breach site that could block users from suing is “exactly why the CFPB implemented their new rule, and I support it.”
Republicans find their man to replace Brakey
State Rep. Bruce Bickford kicked off a Maine Senate campaign on Thursday. Bickford, a Republican who is serving his fourth term in the House of Representatives, filed Thursday to run as a publicly funded candidate for the seat held by Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn. Brakey, who is in his second term, is running for U.S. Senate against King. No Democrat has filed yet in the district that leans their way by voter registration.
Maine health care group losing leader at critical time
Consumers for Affordable Health Care announced Thursday that Emily Brostek will step down as executive director on Nov. 3. That’s four days before Maine votes on whether to expand Medicaid eligibility, a move that could open the government-run health care program to roughly 70,000 more enrollees, which will appear as Question 2 on the state ballot. The group did not name a successor, and the release announcing Brostek’s resignation said she would pursue “other professional interests.”
- Gov. Paul LePage has left hundreds of unemployed workers in the dark about job training. People who help unemployed Mainers find new jobs or gain skills they need for employment continue to seek answers from the administration about whether Maine will stop tapping a federal workforce assistance program for resources. But they haven’t gotten many yet.
- Maine’s most prolific maple syrup producer, which is owned by a LePage ally, plans to ask for $1.2 million in land conservation aid, Maine Public’s Steve Mistler reports. Big Six, owned by Paul Fortin, will be one of the projects vying for some of the $3.2 million that the Land for Maine’s Future board will dole out in its next round of awards.
- A Rockport man told the BDN’s Alex Acquisto that “another person came out” of his son, who is accused of killing his mother, grandparents and another person in Massachusetts. The accused, Orion Krause, is undergoing psychological evaluation and has had a not guilty plea filed on his behalf. A vigil for his mother was held Thursday in Rockport.
- A Maine town is continuing its series of ballot-box duels, Abigail Adams of The Lincoln County News reports. Wiscasset keeps having referendums on whether to eliminate funding for its planning department. The next one is set for November. That would make three votes on the matter this year. But there’s still December.
- And the governor has his Boothbay home on the market. The Portland Press Herald’s Penelope Overton noticed that it’s on the market for $409,000, which is nearly twice what LePage and his wife, Ann LePage, paid when they bought it out of foreclosure in 2014. That business acumen! Here’s their soundtrack.
‘VIP,’ Cassini. You served us well
By the time you’re reading this, the Cassini spacecraft has taken a 70,000 mile per hour death plunge into Saturn, collecting images and data all the way to its demise. And it’s on purpose.
The probe, which arrived at Saturn in 2004, more than six years after it was launched from Earth, is out of fuel and it’s been steered into the planet.
“Farewell Cassini, how far you’ve come,” tweeted renowned astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson. “One this eve, in fiery death, Saturn & you are one. VIP (vaporize in peace): 2004-2017.” We couldn’t put it any better. Here’s your soundtrack.
Today’s Daily Brief was written by Christopher Cousins and Michael Shepherd and edited by Robert Long. If you’re reading it on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, click here to get Maine’s only newsletter on state politics via email on weekday mornings.