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Sue Bernard, (R) State Representative of District 149 says a new bill will most likely be passed that will help potato growers.

Published: Feb. 26, 2021 at 6:24 PM EST
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Augusta, Maine (WAGM) - In our continuing series with our representatives in Augusta, Adriana Sanchez speaks with Sue Bernard (R) Sate Representative of District 149.

Bernard talks about how it’s going so far in terms of meeting in person and being virtual this year.

Bernard said, “Normally we would be going down the legislature you know two or three times a week or whatever it takes and in this case of course with everything being so different even you and I doing this interview this way it’s the same way for the legislature that all the meetings are taking place virtually. Even if were in Augusta and that has happened so I’ve been in Augusta five or six times since the beginning of December and we still have to bring our laptops with us and whether were in the house chamber or in a committee we still have to have our laptops in front of us full masking and there may be only one or two people in the room because they decided to stay home so its sort of a hybrid idea and for those of us who are brand new we have nothing to compare it to. The folks who have been there for a while say so much has been lost because we don’t get to have our face to face interactions the same way but there are certainly pros and cons doing it this way, more people around the state who can give testimony in the committees so they don’t have to make the drive, however the length of time they may have to wait to give testimony may be a lot longer because more people want to participate so it’s very interesting.

The days can be long but that’s what we signed up for. So the challenges are there but I think the long in the short of it is you know I have nothing to compare it to it seems to be working out okay, It is more complicated if were there in person and with doing zoom at the same time. I prefer one or the other if only we could be home doing zoom okay fine not ideal but if we could be down in Augusta doing the work we normally use to be able to do and when I say face to face no only face to face with the legislature but face to face with the public who comes to give testimony so lots of work has happened since the beginning of January lets say in the committee where most of the work takes place. So I’m actually on two committees. I’m on the Agriculture committee and the Innovation Development Economic Advancement and Business committee so those are two committees and they happen to be meeting at the exact same time Tuesdays and Thursdays so it is kind of difficult to split your time at home. I have two computers going at once where I have the Agriculture committee going at one side and the I.D.E.A committee on the other so I want to make sure to get those votes in and those sort of how we have been handling it since the beginning of the session.

“Lots of bills are being proposed and they’re going through committees, that’s where the bills are first handled in in committee so as an example I’ve co-sponsored a particular bill that was sponsored by Trey Stewart and is a particular fund that potato growers can use to upgrade their potato facility like storage facility, packing facility so there’s been a bill that has gone through. I’m very happy to say that it allows the interest rates on these loans to be lowered at a time when we really need it when we all recognize and I think because this by the way a unanimous ought to pass piece of legislation which shows me people across the state represented by these other legislatures understand and recognize that the potato industry is going to be among the industries that will bring our state back from the pandemic so I’m really pleased it passed with flying colors and that means that particular bill from the Agriculture committee is going to go to the floor with a unanimous report and normally speaking a unanimous report means that we will have a very good chance passing the full floor the senate and the house.”

Monday night we will continue our series.

Adriana Sanchez NewsSource 8

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