Politics

'The Public Has A Right To Know': Maine Mayor Wants To Publicize Names And Addresses Of Welfare Recipients

| by Brendan Kelly
mayor Robert Macdonaldmayor Robert Macdonald

The Republican mayor of a town in Maine said that he would like to publicize the names and addresses of people receiving government assistance.

In a column for the Twin City Times, Mayor Robert Macdonald of Lewiston, Maine, said that during the next legislative season, there will be a bill submitted to create a website "containing the names, addresses, length of time on assistance and the benefits being collected by every individual on the dole."

"After all, the public has a right to know how its money is being spent," Macdonald added.

Macdonald wondered in the column why the information of welfare recipients isn't listed publicly when there is a website listing the amount of pension individuals receive in Maine.

"The answer: our liberal, progressive legislators and their social-service allies have made them a victimized, protected class," he wrote. "It's none of your business how much of your money they get and spend. Who are you to question it? Just shut up and pay!"

Macdonald, first elected in 2011, is up for reelection in November. According to the Washington Post, he is unable to submit a state bill himself, so he needs the bill to be backed by a state lawmaker in legislature.

A Democratic representative questioned the legality of Macdonald's plan. In response, Macdonald told the Bangor Daily News that the intention of the website is not to embarrass recipients because welfare recipients already "flaunt it in public."

Macdonald said he is "not sorry" about the column. He said that posting the information publicly could encourage people to go after welfare recipients who are "gaming the system."

Macdonald's Democratic opponent in the November election, Ben Chin, said that the proposal was just a political stunt.

"Mayor Macdonald has been in office for four years and he's done nothing to lower our poverty rate and make our city better," Chin told the Press Herald. "Instead, he likes to scapegoat and publicly embarrass people."

Sources: Washington Post, Boston.com / Photo credit: Boston.com