This week marked the end of the First Regular Session of the Senate. Thank you to everyone for your thoughts and comments through the year.

Community EventOn Monday, July 8th, I attended and spoke at a LearningWorks press conference announcing that their Youth Building Alternatives (YBA) Program had been awarded nearly $1 million from the US Department of Labor for the next two years. This grant is a great validation of the results YBA is having with at-risk students. YBA students leave the program with their GED and real-world experience in the building trades. Congratulations to LearningWorks!

Obama Taps Sen. Goodall

Wednesday morning marked the end of the First Regular Session of the 126th Legislature. With the exception of a day or two in September, the Legislature will not reconvene until next January.


Upon adjournment, my friend and colleague Senator Seth Goodall formally resigned his Senate seat to accept a Presidential appointment as the New England Administrator to the Small Business Administration.


When I was first elected to the State Senate, Senator Goodall was my seatmate, and as two young freshman, we learned the ropes together and became strong friends and allies. When I was elected President of the Senate, I was extremely proud to serve with Senator Goodall as Senate Majority Leader. While his moving on is a tremendous loss for the Senate, I know he will do great things with the Small Business Administration, and I wish him all of the best.

New Leadership in the Senate

Upon Senator Goodall’s resignation, his position as Senate Majority Leader became vacant. Senator Troy Jackson, then Assistant Majority Leader, was unanimously elected to serve as Majority Leader. I have enjoyed my time working with Senator Jackson, and I look forward to the next year-and-a-half fighting for Maine people.

With Senator Jackson’s advancement, his position was unanimously filled by my friend and colleague from Portland, Senator Anne Haskell. As many of you know, Senator Haskell represented Stroudwater and parts of central Portland in the House before being elected to the Senate last year.

Maine is well-served by the experience, commitment, and tireless advocacy of Senators Jackson and Haskell. We have a team of leaders who will continue fighting for the very things important to Mainers, like improving our economy, getting people back to work, a strong public education system, and affordable health care.

The Last Day: Veto DayOn Tuesday, the Legislature returned to Augusta to take up final bills and a more than two dozen of Governor LePage’s vetoes. Most of the bills were mandates or emergencies, which means each bill needed two-thirds support to pass.


Bills and vetoes we tackled ranged from toxic chemicals in baby products to workers compensation to statewide online learning programs. Unfortunately, many pieces of good legislation failed because Republicans were not sticking to their original votes and instead following the Governor.


There were some highlights, however. The bill giving consumers the right to know about genetically modified foods (GMOs) will become law, we overturned a veto to ensure that a warrant must be granted to track cell phone location, and earned enough votes to support investments in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education.

Student HungerMy bill to reduce student hunger passed the House 101-40 and the Senate 25-7. LD 745 helps feed hungry students during the summer months when school is not in session.


The measure would require a school that holds summer activities and has more than 50% of their students qualifying for free or reduced-price lunch take advantage of the Summer Food Services Program, a federal program administered by the USDA. The program covers the cost of food in summer food programs for all students.


Summer hunger is a pervasive problem across Maine. More than 84,000 Maine children qualify for free and reduced-price school meals through the National School Lunch Program, but Maine’s summer food participation is 16.5%. This means more than 70,000 qualified children in Maine did not have access to a summer meal through a summer food program. In addition, Maine has the 7th highest rate of food insecurity in the nation with one in four Maine children experiencing food insecurity.


Studies have shown that when students are hungry, we know their grades suffer, they’re more prone to behavioral problems, and attendance declines. This bill will help thousands of students from every corner of our state perform better in school because they will have access to food in the summer time.


The bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.

ClosingThank you for all your support, questions, comments and concerns this session. I would love to hear from you on how we did as a Senate, and how you feel I performed as your Senator.