LEWISTON — Maine state Sen. Margaret Craven responded Sunday to claims by Republicans she was making a "mockery" of a serious Department of Health and Human Services bill by donning a clown nose, along with Sen. Colleen Lachowicz on Wednesday.
According to a news release from the Maine Republican Party, Craven and Lachowicz put on clown noses as citizens testified on a bill about beds for low-income Mainers in nursing homes.
"I was shocked at the behavior of these two Democratic senators," Sen. Jim Hamper said, "It was beyond the pale to watch the trust of the Maine people and the process being so disrespected. The people of Maine deserve better."
Rep. Deb Sanderson said in the release: "The welfare of our seniors is a topic we all agree is important. It was disheartening to see these senators clowning around during a public committee hearing instead of being respectful of the public testifying on such an important issue."
According to Craven, the public that was present were care providers. She said that she and Lachowicz donned the noses when Sanderson presented the bill in hopes of raising a smile from Sanderson.
"It was an uncontested bill. We were all cosigners," Craven said, noting that she thought that she had a cordial enough rapport with Sanderson to attempt to break the tension of a particularly long and trying day.
"Sometimes we all need a little light moment after a long day of stressful bills and stressful situations," Craven said. "If Senator Hamper is offended, I apologize."