Kevin Raye, State Senate President

June 20, 2011 - On June 20, 2011, just as the state legislature was wrapping up its business, I had a chance to speak with Senate President Kevin Raye, from Perry, Maine.

Because I was in Soldier Pond and Kevin was in and around Augusta, we did this interview via his cell phone and my Skype while Kevin was traveling on Route 9. There was one point where we lost the connection, but we were quickly reconnected. This interruption, however, is audible in our interview as I left it in to maintain the integrity of the recording.

We discussed the passage of the budget, the bill regarding the abolition of LURC and his amendment which created a "study commission," welfare reform, the state pension system, the Millinocket area landfill, and the legislation about voter registration reform. 

When asked what he thought was most remarkable about the first session under a LePage governorship, he answered, "The passage of the budget, which the Governor has signed into law this afternoon. It really, I think, represents significant transformation of the direction of State government. We have now enacted the largest tax cut in the history of Maine.  I'm very proud of that. It's a terrific step forward for Maine. It's going to bring lower taxes for people at all income levels from the poorest Mainers on up."

He also talked about the fact that the state budget really carves out education as a priority with no cuts made to higher education, and an increase in funding in K through 12 education.

"The Governor put his money where his mouth is. He said he wanted education to be a priority; he made it a priority, and I think he can be very proud of that."

Regarding welfare: 
"Well, I think that the most important provision of welfare reform is the imposition of a 5-year time limit for TANF…It does allow for -- as does every state -- it does allow for extreme circumstances…"

Listen to the interview here:

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Senator Raye's official web presence, "Senate President, Kevin L. Raye," is here.

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