On vetoes, Excel spreadsheets and cupcakes

Two weeks after she joined us, the Center’s new reporter Nell Gluckman offered this reporter’s notebook, sharing her impressions of the job, the statehouse and an upcoming assignment as a cupcake judge in Hallowell (that’s outside the scope of her work for the Center!):

“My first two weeks working at the Maine Center have exposed me to a whirlwind of new information and flurries of activity at the statehouse, paired with a gradual march into the depths of an idea that will soon be a story.

Nell Gluckman, the Center's new reporter, wrangling an Excel file

Nell Gluckman, the Center's new reporter, wrangling an Excel file

Naomi and John have assigned me two stories that have allowed me to explore the world of Maine politics. On my second day they had me filing a Freedom of Access Act request and by my sixth I was talking to politicians all over the country about campaign finance reform. I’ve been poring over FEC records and creating my own Excel spreadsheets, but whenever I look up there is no shortage of happenings at the statehouse to distract me.

During my first week, the House and the Senate were still in session and the statehouse was bustling with lobbyists. We saw Gov. LePage veto a bill to extend Medicaid and then veto a bipartisan budget. Naomi waited hours and then days for the Senate to vote on a bill extending the rights of Mainers in the Unorganized Territory.

After the House had surprised everyone by voting in favor of the bill, the Senate eventually killed it by sending it back to committee. There were a few quiet days, but when the legislature returned, I watched the House vote to overturn LePage’s veto of their budget, followed by the Senate.

I’ve eaten lobster, mussels, homemade pesto and jam, among many other delicious Maine fixtures. I’ve biked along the Kennebec River Rail Trail and most importantly, am brushing up on my cupcake knowledge in preparation for judging in the cupcake contest on Old Hallowell Day!”

Nell also found out this past week that a video she produced while a student at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism has been featured on the website run by ABC News and Univision. The video’s about a New York City salsa dancing class for same-sex couples and you can see it here.

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