Governor Janet Mills and Senate President Troy Jackson announced today that the Maine Veterans’ Home Board of Trustees voted on Friday to keep open the Maine Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias.
The vote came one day after Governor Mills signed into law LD 2001, legislation sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson to help keep the Maine Veterans’ Homes in Machias and Caribou open. The new law makes clear the intent of the Legislature in the creation of the Maine Veterans’ Homes; lays out a public and transparent closure process; and puts back into statute the six municipalities where Maine Veterans’ Homes must be located. Governor Mills has dedicated $3.5 million to keep the homes open.
“This vote is a much-deserved victory for our veterans, their families, and the staff at the Homes in Caribou and Machias. Our veterans have earned the right to receive care near their families in the communities they love,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With the work of Senate President Jackson, the unanimous support of the Legislature, and now a vote from the MVH Board of Trustees, we will keep these two homes open, keep these veterans where they are, keep the staff employed, and work together to ensure that we serve the needs of veterans, particularly those in rural Maine, in the long-term. I thank the MVH Board of Trustees for their vote.”
“For weeks, the veterans, their family members and the staff at the Maine Veteran’s Homes in Caribou and Machias have had to grapple with enormous uncertainty and mixed messages as the Legislature worked to pass legislation to save the two facilities. Today, folks can finally breathe a sigh of relief now that Governor Mills has signed LD 2001 into law and that the Board has reconsidered its closure vote,” said Senate President Troy Jackson. “As we look to the future, we must continue working to ensure that the Maine Veterans’ Homes can continue serving veterans and their families in rural Maine, fulfilling the promise made by the Legislature more than 30 years ago.”
Upon learning of the Board’s initial vote to close, Governor Mills and Senate President Jackson fought to keep the Veterans’ Homes in Caribou and Machias open. Governor Mills wrote to the Board of Trustees (PDF) to express her concerns, asking them to reconsider their decision and informing them that she had instructed her Administration to be prepared to help them consider potential options other than closure. Maine’s Congressional Delegation also supports the Governor’s work with Maine Veterans’ Homes to keep these sites open.
The Maine Veterans’ Homes were established by the Maine Legislature in 1977 as a state-chartered nonprofit to provide long-term care to veterans and eligible military spouses. The Maine Veterans’ Homes now operates six facilities throughout the state located in Augusta, Caribou, Bangor, Machias, Scarborough, and South Paris.