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Political Brew: March 25th, 2018

On this week's "Political Brew," NEWS CENTER Maine political analysts, former Speaker of the House John Richardson, a Democrat, and former state senator Phil Harriman, a Republican, find common ground on the $1.3 trillion budget signed into law by President Trump on Friday.

PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER Maine)-- On this week's "Political Brew," NEWS CENTER Maine political analysts, former Speaker of the House John Richardson, a Democrat, and former state senator Phil Harriman, a Republican, find common ground on the $1.3 trillion budget signed into law by President Trump on Friday.

Harriman says "When Republicans are out of office, it's all about debts and deficits, and when they're in office, you can't tell the Democrats from the Republicans on spending."

And Richardson says it is disingenuous for President Trump to try to distance himself from the budget package when he had a lot to do with crafting it. He says "Republicans have lost the high ground on fiscal responsibility."

Richardson and Harriman also talk about the ongoing efforts to keep the Downeast Correctional Facility in Washington County open beyond this fiscal year.

Despite the fact that House Republican leader and candidate for governor Ken Fredette went to Machiasport to meet with laid off workers, Harriman thinks Gov. Paul LePage will have his way and the facility will close.

In the race for governor, Republican candidate Garrett Mason announced he has the support of a coalition of pastors. Harriman believes that could prove valuable for the candidate, and Richardson says "I think Mason becomes the 'dark horse' in the primary race."

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine) has been touting his success in getting legislation passed, saying a bill designed to spur economic growth and job creation in Old Town is his sixth bill in less than four years.

John Richardson says that's 'political theater,' and that quality matters more than quantity when it comes to legislation.

But Phil Harriman believes it gives Poliquin some gravitas to say he has accomplished more in a short period than his predecessors did. "I do think it gives him some sway."

Harriman and Richardson discuss the proposed pay raise for Maine governors, and the troubles with the new online system for unemployment benefits.

"Political Brew" airs Sundays on the Morning Report.