Lawmakers optimistic on first full day of legislative session

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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - The Legislature was back in session for its first full day Wednesday.

"It's 2019: We have a new governor, new legislative bodies," said Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, D-Freeport. "I think that there is really a feeling of optimism in the air and people who are ready to get to work and ready to identify the ways in which we can collaborate, work together, and really move Maine forward."

Lawmakers in the 129th Legislature are back to work in Augusta.

"It's always interesting to see the legislature sort of take shape after an election," said Assistant House Republican Leader Trey Stewart, R-Presque Isle. "I feel optimistic. We have a lot of new faces, a lot of new ideas running around."

Entering her second term as Speaker, Gideon said that having the experience of last session will allow them to hit the ground running even faster, without her having to learn the ins and outs of the position.

"Being able to come in this session, and not have to worry about those things, and really be ready to work and be ready to lead and ready to help people -- all people -- do their jobs well I think is a tremendous advantage we have," said Gideon. "And it allows us to focus on policy and things that will have a difference on every day Mainers' lives."

Even with Democrats controlling the House, Senate, and Governor's mansion, Democrats and Republicans both said there's going to be a lot of room for bipartisanship.

"I think overall we're optimistic that they're going to have good government policies that hopefully we can all agree on, but at the same time, we're not going to be opposed to standing up for what's right to do by all Mainers, certainly in regards to the economy," said Stewart. "I think that's got to be the priority. is not losing any of that traction that we gained."

"I think the property tax issue is one that Republicans and Democrats really recognize and hear from our constituents that we simply have to address," said Gideon. "I think that's going to be an easy one for us to try to work on together and figure out a solution for."

Only time will tell how long this bipartisan fervor will last.