AUGUSTA – After more than a month of consideration, Senate President Justin L. Alfond (D-Cumberland) has refused to allow any Senate Republicans to sit on the Marine Resources Committee — an act Republicans say is part of a worrisome pattern.
Senate Republican Leader Michael Thibodeau (R-Waldo) said Monday that Alfond has decided to put party politics over the best interests of the people of Maine by refusing to allow a Republican to take a committee seat that Sen. Richard G. Woodbury (UD-Cumberland) would rather not have.
Said Thibodeau, “In mid-February, [Senator Woodbury], who serves on the Marine Resources Committee, told me his workload on the Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and Financial Services and Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future left him unable to devote enough time to Marine Resources.”
“Senator Woodbury recognized the time constraints presented a problem and indicated he would like to step aside from the work on this important committee, and allow Senate Republicans to have a seat at the table. Senator Woodbury also advised President Alfond of his willingness to do this,” he said.
The Marine Resources Committee, which is chaired by Sen. Christopher K. Johnson (D-Lincoln) and Rep. Walter A. Kumiega II (D-Deer Isle), is currently comprised of eight House and Senate Democrats, four House Republicans, and Woodbury.
According to a statement from the Senate GOP, Thibodeau made repeated attempts to follow up with Alfond, but to no avail.
“Senator Alfond finally reached a decision today in which he indicated he was unwilling to allow a Republican Senator to have a voice on this important committee,” said Thibodeau.
“This is the latest example of what has become an alarming trend of the Senate President being dismissive of Republican input and ideas,” he said.