AUGUSTA, Maine — When Governor Mills rolled out her four-phase plan for the reopening of Maine, republican legislatures found out the same time the general public did.
“When we reach out to the governor’s office, they certainly do respond to us," House Leader Rep. Kathleen Dillingham said. "But as far as creating the plan and learning about the executive orders, we’re learning about them as everyone else does.”
The lack of being in the know was one of the reasons Dillingham, Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow, Assitant Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake, and Assitant Senate Republican Leader Harold “Trey” Stewart sent a letter to the governor and Senate President Troy Jackson to demand the removal of her civil emergency powers.
“We needed to put the call out there to try to make sure that the legislative body was going to be included in these plans going forward," Rep. Dillingham added. "I think that we could offer, we have a lot of members that could offer a wonderful perspective.”
The governor's plan is a month by month process of reopening up the state's economy. The first phase was May 1, which included the reopening of hair salons, barbershops, golf, and disc golf courses, and some of Maine's parks, if proper CDC guidelines are followed.
Rep. Dillingham said the governor's office acted alone in making these phases for the reopening of the state.
“It’s not a patrician issue, I know people have tried to portray this is a partisan issue, it is not. I know I’ve talked to my counterparts as well and they feel the same frustration," Rep. Dillingham said.
As Maine's tourism season quickly approaches many business owners are concerned or have been for weeks, about losing massive percentages of their annual income. The state has seen dozens of businesses forced to close for good.
Rep. Dillingham added that businesses reopening, and customers shopping or spending should be up to their direction if the business operates under CDC guidelines.
“If they can implement the safeguards from the CDC then we should give those business owners the opportunity to make that decision," she added. "Then we should allow the Maine citizens the opportunity to make the decision if they want to go visit the business.”
Rep.Dillingham understood the amount of pressure the governor and her office is under right now. Her hope is the governor will listen to legislatures to make the best plan for the people of Maine.
"We're here to help," Rep. Dillingham said.
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