In his Oct. 25 column, Speaker of the Maine House Mark Eves tried to answer Rep. Alex Willette’s question, which was, “Is there a welfare reform that Democrats will support?”

Eves could only come up with one: his vague “Ticket to Work” bill that requires the Department of Health and Human Services to do an assessment of welfare recipients to help them find work.

What he omits is the fact that the department, since Gov. Paul LePage took office, had finally begun doing just that after Democrats for 40 years allowed Maine’s welfare system to spiral out of control. In testimony to the Legislature regarding Eves’s bill, department officials stated essentially two things: One, we’re already doing this, and two, the bill actually would prevent us from holding welfare recipients who refuse to participate accountable.

Eves calls Republican welfare reform proposals an attempt to “score political points.” What, then, was his attempt to take credit for something the LePage administration was already doing? Do Democrats have any welfare reform ideas of their own? If not, will they stop blocking commonsense measures such as the Republican bill to require able-bodied welfare applicants to apply for jobs before getting benefits?

LePage and the Republican-controlled Legislature of 2011-2012 finally cracked down on welfare abuse, saving taxpayers millions of dollars and changing the culture at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Democrats are now standing in the way of reform.

Kim Pettengill Farmingdale

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