Press Release For Immediate Release: March 17, 2023 Contact: Jason Savage, email@example.com Maine GOP Chair Applauds Reps. Sampson, Drinkwater & GOP Legislators For Principled Stand on University of Maine Covid Mandate AUGUSTA – Maine Republican Party Chair Joel Stetkis today offered praise for Republican Legislators who were willing to stand and fight to end the University of Maine covid vaccine mandate. The mandate was still in effect well after the Maine Community College System and most other Maine employers and institutions had dropped mandates. "It has come to my attention that a group of Republican lawmakers forcefully demanded the end of this mandate," said Chairman Stetkis. "They deserve our praise and support." At issue was the University of Maine System seeking continued financial support through the Legislature and changes in state statute while ignoring pleas from Legislators on the continued enforcement of the vaccine mandate. Only when Republicans made very clear they would not advance Legislation until the University System lifted the mandate did the mandate finally end. "Thanks to Rep Sampson, the Education Committee Republicans refused to support the University of Maine's budget until they removed the Covid mandate. Labor Committee Republicans followed and refused to support three initiatives until the mandate was removed" said Rep. Gary Drinkwater. "I’m pleased to say that our work paid dividends and the mandate was lifted." "With the many line items to consider for the education budget, my Republican colleagues and I were determined to leverage the University funds with the removal of the COVID vaccine mandate. No funds unless mandate was removed," said Rep. Heidi Sampson, who led the fight on the Legislature’s Education Committee. "The work of these legislators is proof positive that standing your ground and demanding people do what is right will work," said Chair Stetkis. "I applaud their efforts and encourage all Republicans to follow the example they set here."
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