Dem lawmakers use legislative work session to attack Governor's welfare reform proposal
AUGUSTA - In a March 2 recording obtained by the Maine Republican Party, Democratic lawmakers on the Maine Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee blasted Governor Paul LePage's welfare budget proposal, Maine workers, and Maine taxpayers all at the same time.
The Governor's budget proposal would eliminate the General Assistance welfare program as well as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for non-citizens.
In criticizing the proposals, Rep. Jennifer Parker (D-South Berwick) stated before the rest of the committee and those in attendance that "Mainers can only last at the backbreaking work for a certain amount of time" in justifying her support for welfare policies she believes will attract more immigrants to the state.
"For Rep. Parker to say we need more welfare for non-citizens because Mainers don't work hard enough is a slap in the face to hundreds of thousands of loggers, lobstermen, and farmers who get up every day to provide for their families," said Maine Republican Party Chairwoman Demi Kouzounas. "Coming from a family of immigrants, I worked long hours in my mother's restaurant growing up. A good work ethic isn't something that is exclusive to immigrants, I have seen first hand the work ethic of both immigrants and Mainers and I believe Rep. Parker owes Maine workers an apology."
Rep. Scott Hamann (D-South Portland) piled on the pro-welfare bandwagon by asserting, of welfare spending for able-bodied non-citizens, "I'd personally want to double down on it . . . if it only costs us a couple million." Rep. Hamann also accused the LePage Administration of racism, saying the budget proposal "paints a picture of a racially homogeneous state excluding a particular racial makeup."
"If Mainers could take a day off from their backbreaking work and listen in to what liberal politicians are saying about welfare and work, they would be shocked at how out of touch many of their representatives in Augusta are," added Chairwoman Kouzounas. "No matter how much they lose at the polls, the Democratic Party remains the party of more welfare, less work, and more insults for the everyday, hardworking people of our great state."