The Coastal Packet: Meet Mary Mayhew

Thursday, June 8

Meet Mary Mayhew

Grady Burns, Maine Beacon - Mary Mayhew, who served as Gov. LePage’s director at DHHS since 2011 until she resigned late last month in anticipation of the announcement for her candidacy, oversaw a health and human services agency whose mismanagement and propensity for scandal was matched only by its callousness as it diverted, rejected, or withheld federal funds aimed at reducing poverty and childhood hunger.

Her greatest hits at the agency include mismanaging the Riverview Psychiatric Center so spectacularly that it lost—and has yet to regain— its federal certification, fighting tooth and nail against a federally-funded expansion of Medicaid that would have covered over 70,000 uninsured people, and illegally redirecting $13 million in TANF funds to other programs while amassing over $150 million in unspent funds that could have provided immediate relief to struggling Maine families. In short, Mayhew has used her six years in charge of the state’s largest agency to make the lives tens of thousands of Mainers demonstrably worse while on a crusade to make government work as badly as conservatives imagine it does.

For her part, Mayhew seems to be signalling that these atrocities are going to form the backbone of her pitch to Republicans and the Maine people at large, launching a preemptive attack on oft-rumored potential gubernatorial candidate and patron saint of half-hearted political gestures, Republican Sen. Susan Collins, on the grounds that this week Collins came out in characteristically tepid support of a watered-down version of Medicaid expansion. In posturing toward the far right of the Republican base, Mayhew is not only leaning into the legacy of the LePage administration, she is reiterating that she was a key figure in the creation and execution of LePage’s cold-hearted economic agenda. Her careless disdain for the vulnerable families that she was charged with helping for the last six years is a feature, not a bug, in her pitch to voters.

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