LIVERMORE – The Androscoggin County Republican Committee held their monthly meeting on June 20 for only the second time in more than 20 years. More than 40 people attended, not only from Livermore, but also from Lewiston, Auburn, Lisbon Falls, Minot, Poland, Sabattus, Greene, Augusta and Livermore Falls.

Guest speaker was Ed McLaughlin, president and CEO of MERI (Maine Economic Research Institute). He stressed that MERI is a nonpartisan research organization created by Maine business leaders to provide a performance-based measure of legislators’ voting records on major issues. It provides an accountability tool for the business community to improve communication between legislators and business leaders. MERI is not a state or federal agency and is supported wholly by the business community.

The growing frustration over the economy in Maine is making MERI’s research and analysis more critical than ever, according to McLaughlin. Maine’s history shows there are long standing problems in the high rate of jobs lost, young Mainers leaving the state to seek employment, high taxes on businesses and public policy which is detrimental to economic growth in Maine. McLaughlin encouraged everyone to check MERI’s Website ( to keep abreast of current research.

A special tribute was paid to Irma Bowles, a longtime resident of Livermore and an active Republican at the local and state level for many years. Clint Boothby introduced Bowles and said she was an independent woman long before it was cool for women to be independent. He gave a brief history of Bowles’ political activities and then presented her with notes from area well-wishers.

The Androscoggin County Republican Committee presented Bowles with a bouquet of roses and a plaque recognizing her many years of service to the party. Rep. Tom Shields presented her with a flag that had flown over the State House in Augusta. Diane Jackson, from Sen. Olympia Snowe’s office, presented her with letters from President George Bush and Snowe. Sarah McCarthy, from Sen. Susan Collins’ office, presented her with a letter from Collins.

The attendees heard reports from town committees on their current and upcoming activities. Representatives for Snowe and Collins spoke on activities the senators are involved in and encouraged the public to contact their offices with questions or concerns. State Legislative reports were given by Shields of Auburn and Rep. Bob Berube of Lisbon updating the group on the recent actions taken in Augusta.

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