Bruce Poliquin

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Bruce Poliquin
CongressmanPoliquin.jpg
Member of the
United States House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd district
Assumed office
January 3, 2015
Preceded by Mike Michaud
49th Maine State Treasurer
In office
2010–2012
Governor Paul LePage
Preceded by David Lemoine
Succeeded by Neria Douglass
Personal details
Born (1953-11-01) November 1, 1953 (age 63)
Waterville, Maine, U.S.
Political party Republican
Residence Oakland, Maine
Alma mater Harvard University
Website House website

Bruce Lee Poliquin /ˈpɒlˌkwɪn/ (born November 1, 1953) is an American businessman and politician. A Republican, he represents Maine's 2nd congressional district in the United States House of Representatives. Poliquin was elected to his seat in the 2014 general election.[1] From 2010 to 2012, he was the Maine State Treasurer.[2] He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2012, finishing second in the primary election. In January 2017 at the start of the 115th United States Congress, Poliquin is the only Republican representing a House district in New England.

Early life[edit]

Poliquin was born and raised in Waterville, Maine. He grew up in a family of French-Canadian ancestry. His father was a school principal and his mother was a nurse.[3] He attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and later received a scholarship to attend Harvard University, where he studied economics, graduating in 1976.[4] After college, Poliquin worked in the investment management industry in Chicago and New York City.[5] At Avatar Investors Associates Corporation, a fund management company, Poliquin helped manage nearly $5 billion in worker pension funds.[6]

Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In 2010, Poliquin sought the Maine Republican Party's nomination for Governor of Maine. He spent $711,000 of his own money on the campaign, finishing sixth of the seven candidates behind winner Paul LePage. Poliquin ultimately endorsed LePage.[7] Following LePage's election in November 2010, Poliquin was elected by the Maine Legislature to serve as Maine State Treasurer.[7]

State Treasurer[edit]

In 2011, Poliquin expressed concerns about the Maine State Housing Authority's plans to construct a low-income housing complex in Portland. Poliquin cited the proposed $314,000 per unit cost as an example of irresponsible government spending. Dale McCormick, the authority's director and an appointee by Democratic Governor John Baldacci, approved the proposal following a reduction in the per unit price to $265,000.[8]

In 2012, Maine Democrats accused Poliquin of violating the state Constitution by allegedly engaging in commerce while in office. The complaints against Poliquin centered around his involvement with the Popham Beach Club, a private club in Phippsburg, Maine, and Dirigo Holdings LLC, a real estate company. Maine Attorney General William Schneider advised Poliquin to disassociate himself from his business ventures but did not offer an opinion as to whether he had actually violated the Constitution. The Maine House voted unanimously to send the issue to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court in order to settle the matter. The Court declined to offer a ruling, concluding that there were no circumstances in Poliquin’s case requiring immediate attention.[9]

In February 2012, Poliquin faced criticism from Democrats over his use of the Maine Tree Growth Tax Program, a program meant to preserve forestland from development pressures for commercial timber harvesting, with 10 acres of his oceanfront property in Georgetown. The program reduced the value of his property from the originally assessed $1.8 million to $725,500, resulting in Poliquin paying $30 a year in property taxes. A Maine Forest Service report in 2009 discussed Poliquin's property as an example of a property that may not be fully complying with the law, stating that restrictions on timber harvesting in shoreland areas would limit any commercial use of the land. They did state, however, that as long as the property was 10 acres, it could remain in the program.[10][11] Poliquin later transferred the property in question to the Open Space program, a less generous tax abatement program. Poliquin stated that the issue was a distraction for the town and was politically motivated due to Democrats' dissatisfaction with his policies as Treasurer.[10]

At the end of his term, Poliquin wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News with a list of his offices' accomplishments as Treasurer. These included reforms to the state workers' pension plan, efforts to reduce the cost of affordable housing, reduced wasteful spending, and retention of the state's Aa2 bond rating, among other initiatives.[12]

Post-Treasurer career[edit]

In March 2012, Poliquin announced he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.[13] He lost the Republican primary to Charlie Summers, who himself lost the general election to Independent former governor Angus King.

Poliquin stated on July 10, 2013, that he was not interested in becoming the Chairman of the Maine Republican Party, despite encouragement to do so from many Republicans, including Governor Paul LePage.[14]

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

2014 election[edit]

In August 2013, Poliquin announced that he would seek the Maine Republican Party's nomination for the Second Congressional District.[15][16]

Poliquin won the primary election against former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye and faced Democratic State Senator Emily Cain and Independent retired Navy captain Blaine Richardson in the general election.[1] Poliquin won with 47% of the vote.[17][18]

2016 election[edit]

Poliquin ran for re-election in 2016. He was a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee's Patriot Program, which was designed to help protect vulnerable Republican incumbents heading into the 2016 election. Poliquin ran unopposed in the primary election. He faced Democrat Emily Cain, whom he beat in 2014, in the November 8, 2016, general election.[19] Poliquin defeated Cain with 55% of the vote.[20]

Tenure[edit]

In January 2015, Poliquin voted for the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act.[21]

On February 3, 2015, Poliquin was one of three House Republicans to vote against repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare.[22] His spokesman stated that while Poliquin supports repeal, the proposed bill did not offer a "free market alternative" to immediately take its place, which he feels is needed.[23] Poliquin was subsequently criticized by conservative groups seeking immediate repeal of the law, including the Republican Liberty Caucus which voted on February 5, 2015, to rescind their election endorsement of him. Poliquin responded by noting the House has voted numerous times to repeal the law without effect, and that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result."[24]

On May 4, 2017, he voted in favor of repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and pass the American Health Care Act.[25][26]

Poliquin introduced his first bill on April 29, 2015, the Child Support Assistance Act of 2015. Co-sponsored with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), it is intended to help single parents secure child support payments by making it harder for the other parent to hide property or funds.[27] The bill was rolled into a transportation bill which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama on December 4, 2015.[28]

Poliquin voted against granting the President fast track authority in negotiating trade agreements on June 12, 2015, stating that Congress should be able to help shape such agreements.[29]

In September 2015, Poliquin was one of ten Republican U.S. House freshmen who composed a letter urging Republicans to avoid a government shutdown by passing a short-term spending bill a week before federal agencies were slated to run out of money.[30]

In 2016, Poliquin drafted a bill that would prohibit the federal government from giving food stamps to individuals convicted of terrorism-related crimes. Poliquin said the legislation would close a loophole that allows convicted terrorists to apply for aid.[31]

In April 2016, Poliquin and Democrat Chellie Pingree proposed legislation that would allow Cuban-bound flights to make technical stops at American airports for refueling and restocking. The purpose of the bill is to prevent American airports from losing business to Canada.[32]

In May 2016, Poliquin voted against a measure intended to uphold an executive order that barred discrimination against LGBT employees by religious organizations that contract with the federal government. He was one of seven House Republicans to switch their vote at the last minute, under pressure from Republican House Leadership. After criticism from Democrats, he issued a statement saying "I am outraged that political opponents or members of the press would claim or insinuate that I cast a vote due to pressure or party politics. No one controls my vote" and that he abhorred discrimination in any form.[33]

Poliquin and Niki Tsongas, a Democrat from Massachusetts, have pushed legislative efforts begun during the tenure of his Democratic predecessor Mike Michaud to require the U.S. Department of Defense to purchase U.S.-made sneakers.[34]

Poliquin opposed the creation of a National Park or National Monument in the Maine North Woods. He called for congressional hearings in the region where the proposed park is now located, and stated that federal officials and non-local supporters ignored the concerns of local residents who opposed. He proposed a bill to limit the Antiquities Act power of the President to declare national monuments.[35]

Committee assignments[edit]

Personal life[edit]

On February 11, 1992, Poliquin's wife, Jane, drowned in a swimming accident at the Palmas Del Mar Beach Resort in Humacao, Puerto Rico.[36] Poliquin's father-in-law, James Carpenter, was also killed in the accident.[37] Jane's death made Poliquin a single parent to his 16-month-old son.[38]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "GOP’s Bruce Poliquin wins 2nd Congressional District primary". Bangor Daily News. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  2. ^ "Bruce Poliquin's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  3. ^ Shepherd, Michael (October 6, 2014). "Poliquin’s energy pushes his 2nd Congressional District run". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Robinson, Steve (April 17, 2014). "Well-funded Poliquin campaign releases first ad". Maine Wire. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  5. ^ Pathe, Simone (May 20, 2015). "At the Races — Roll Call's Politics Blog Why This Vulnerable Freshman Is Surprising People". Roll Call. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  6. ^ Robinson, Steve (October 7, 2013). "On the Record: Republican candidate for Congress Bruce Poliquin". Maine Wire. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 
  7. ^ a b Miller, Kevin (November 21, 2010). "As legislators pick state officers, LePage endorsement for treasurer irks some". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Miller, Kevin (December 11, 2011). "Controversial Elm Terrace development gets OK at $265K per uni". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  9. ^ Russell, Eric (March 29, 2012). "Maine Supreme Court says it won’t rule in Poliquin complaint". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  10. ^ a b Mistler, Steve (June 27, 2012). "Poliquin to transfer land to different tax-break program". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Cover, Susan (February 2, 2012). "Poliquin property tax relief questioned". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  12. ^ Poliquin, Bruce (January 5, 2013). "Thanks from Maine Treasurer". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Russell, Eric (March 2, 2012). "Five Republicans join Senate race; Michaud, Raye stick to House race". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  14. ^ Cousins, Christopher (July 10, 2013). "Bruce Poliquin rebuffs efforts to recruit him as Maine Republican Party chairman". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Poliquin to enter race for Congress on Monday". Bangor Daily News. 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  16. ^ Cousins, Christopher (2013-12-03). "Thibodeau considering run for 2nd Congressional District seat". Bangordailynews.com. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  17. ^ "Maine Election Results". New York Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  18. ^ Shepherd, Michael (November 4, 2014). "Poliquin, winner of 2nd District race, says he’ll ‘work with anybody’". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "Democrat Baldacci drops out of 2nd District race". Kennebec Journal. February 5, 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  20. ^ Shepherd, Michael (November 9, 2016). "Poliquin wins re-election over Cain in Maine’s 2nd District". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 15 November 2016. 
  21. ^ "Poliquin’s vote for anti-abortion measure prompts disagreement over Maine values". Bangor Daily News. 2015-01-22. Retrieved 2015-01-29. 
  22. ^ "House GOP Approve Full Repeal of Obamacare (Again)". NBC News. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  23. ^ "Poliquin to vote against repeal of Obamacare". Bangor Daily News. 2015-02-03. Retrieved 2015-02-03. 
  24. ^ "U.S. GOP Congressman Brushes off Criticism for Health Care Vote". ABC News. 2015-02-05. Archived from the original on February 7, 2015. Retrieved 2015-02-06. 
  25. ^ "How the House voted to pass the GOP health-care bill". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  26. ^ "Health care vote puts pressure on dozens of vulnerable GOP reps". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2017-05-04. 
  27. ^ "Poliquin introduces child support bill, his first in Congress". Kennebec Journal. 2015-04-30. Retrieved 2015-05-06. 
  28. ^ "Poliquin’s child support bill approved". Bangor Daily News. December 9, 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  29. ^ "Pingree, Poliquin block Obama’s desired fast-track on trade deal". Bangor Daily News. 2015-06-12. Retrieved 2015-06-12. 
  30. ^ Bresnahan, John; Bade, Rachael (September 23, 2015). "GOP freshmen urge party to avoid shutdown". Politico. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  31. ^ Blake, Andrew (February 1, 2016). "Bruce Poliquin proposes ‘No Welfare for Terrorists Act,’ looks to close food stamps loophole". Washington Times. Retrieved 24 February 2016. 
  32. ^ "Pingree, Poliquin want new rules for Cuban-bound flights". Washington Times. Associated Press. April 28, 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  33. ^ http://www.pressherald.com/2016/05/19/poliquin-among-7-house-republicans-who-switch-votes-defeating-gay-rights-protection/
  34. ^ "Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine and Democratic Rep. Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts are making progress in their effort to make the Defense Department buy U.S.-made sneakers". Daily Journal. Associated Press. April 28, 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016. 
  35. ^ "Poliquin seeks hearing in Maine on North Woods monument". Bangor Daily News. 13 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016. 
  36. ^ "Colby honors art professor, daughter, drowning victims". Bangor Daily News. February 13, 1992. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  37. ^ Lambert, Bruce (February 15, 1992). "James Carpenter, 77, Ex-Leader Of Colby College Art Department". New York Times. Retrieved 14 September 2016. 
  38. ^ Mistler, Steve (May 4, 2012). "In wake of tragedies, an imprint emerges on Poliquin’s politics". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
David Lemoine
Treasurer of Maine
2011–2012
Succeeded by
Neria Douglass
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Mike Michaud
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maine's 2nd congressional district

January 3, 2015 – present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Gary Palmer
R-Alabama
United States Representatives by seniority
360th
Succeeded by
John Ratcliffe
R-Texas