The Political Grind

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It’s not ME, it’s yuan

Maine’s delegation was united this week in criticizing China for what they call currency manipulation. More than 130 members of the House, including Maine’s U.S. Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, signed a letter sent to the U.S. Treasury Department last Monday demanding that the U.S impose tariffs on Chinese goods if they don’t allow the yuan to rise.

By keeping the currency artificially low, Chinese exports remain relatively cheap compared to those of the United States.

Maine U.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins announced this week that they are co-sponsoring a bill that would reform and enhance oversight of currency exchange rates, according to releases from their offices.

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“Our nation’s manufacturers and their employees can compete against the best in the world, but they cannot compete against nations that maintain their currency at artificially low levels to increase exports and provide other unfair advantages to their producers,” Collins said in a release. “If a country’s unfair trade practices are hurting American workers and closing American companies, the U.S. should be able to use every available resource to level the playing field.”

Roving Rosa

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rosa Scarcelli launched a statewide tour last Thursday with an appearance at Simones’ Hot Dog Stand in Lewiston. She was joined by former Lewiston Mayor Kaileigh Tara and Linda Sherwood, a local businesswoman, who will serve as team leaders in Androscoggin County for Scarcelli’s campaign, according to a press release.

“The ‘Rise and Shine with Rosa’ tour is a way for me to start my day meeting with voters all across this state where they have their coffee and breakfast, and listen to what they have to say about the direction of this state,” Scarcelli said in a release. Scarcelli owns an affordable housing company in Portland and helped raise money for President Obama leading up to the presidential election in 2008.

Supporters can join the campaign and receive updates on their cell phones by texting “Rosa” to 47647, the release said.

Governor’s race: Dates to watch

Last week was the deadline for gubernatorial candidates running for nominations in Maine’s political parties to submit the necessary signatures to the Maine Secretary of State’s office, but nonparty candidates have until June 1. Unenrolled candidates are required to submit at least 4,000 signatures of Maine voters, whereas traditional party candidates only need to turn in at least 2,000.

For candidates hoping to qualify for Maine Clean Elections Act money, the deadline is April 1 to have gathered $40,000 in seed money from contributions no more than $100 and collect more than 3,250 separate $5 donations to the Clean Elections fund.

On the Republican side, the only candidate seeking public funding is Peter Mills, who has submitted the required number of donations in both categories to the Secretary of State’s office for confirmation. None of the campaigns of the four Democrats hoping to qualify have announced meeting the requirements yet.

— Rebekah Metzler

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