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Lawmakers kill casino proposal for Oxford County

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June 3, 2009

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 27-7.

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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