To the Editor:

To her credit, Senator Susan Collins coauthored the CARES Act and Payment Protection Program that has provided $2 billion in Covid-19 crisis relief to Maine small businesses and 100,000 Maine employees. What Senator Collins is not getting credit for is the disbursement to our state of $1.25 billion in much needed second wave federal funding allocated under her cosponsored SMART Act.

According to Auburn Mayor Jason Levesque, these funds, vital to funding ongoing operations of Maine towns and communities, are sitting in limbo in the bank because neither Governor Mills nor Representative Gideon have decided on ow they should be spent.

New Hampshire did not have such a problem and managed to get the funds out quickly and effectively  Maine burns while Governor Mills and House Leader Sara Gideon fiddle.  On May 4, State Senator Jeff Timberlake and three other Republican legislators requested that Speaker Gideon reconvene the Legislature, to no avail.

Furthermore, Governor Mills prohibited his May 27 request for a formal meeting of the Labor and Housing Committee with Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman to address the disbursement deadlock.

Could this be foot-dragging by the Mills Administration to bloody up the Trump Administration’s efforts to alleviate the hardships of this pandemic, in effect making Mainers pawns in some partisan power struggle with Washington?  For the party that celebrates a crisis as an opportunity, wouldn’t making the crisis worse make it an even bigger opportunity?

Certainly, we see no urgency by the Governor to meet with the Legislative Council, nor is Speaker Gideon pressing to call the Maine State Legislature into emergency session. So where are you anyway, Sara Gideon?

David G. Reed
West Rockport

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