The Maine House and Senate killed a bill to authorize a gambling resort in
Oxford County. The House rejected the bill 90-55, and the Senate defeated it
State Sen. Kevin Raye said it would be presumptuous of lawmakers to unilaterally
approve the same casino proposal that Mainers defeated a statewide referendum
last fall. "For the Legislature now to circumvent the referendum that was
defeated by the people, and to not afford the same consideration to our Native
American neighbors and to my county of Washington would be patently unfair,"
Raye said. The Passamaquoddy Tribe in Washington County lost their attempt to
build a gambling enterprise in an election two years ago.
"That's a big opportunity for economic development and also a lot of resources
to come into Oxford County when they so desperately need that,"
says state Sen. Bruce Bryant, of Oxford County. "And so I think with the vote
last year of the people denying Oxford County to get the casino to actually push
hard to try to put it through the Legislature doesn't make really a lot of
sense. But I think that there are ways that we can build coalitions to maybe be
more successful in the future."
Although the proposal is defeated for this year, members of the Legislature's
Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee have agreed to review the casino issue and
other gambling plans next January.
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