Maine again down to just 1 tribal representative

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Only one of Maine's tribes plans to send a representative to the Legislature next year, down from two this year.

The decision comes as Democratic officials are promising to take steps to improve tribal-state relations by meeting with tribal leaders.

Tribal leaders said they hoped Democratic Gov.-elect Janet Mills and incoming Democratic Attorney General Aaron Frey fulfilled such promises following strained tribal-state relations over tribal sovereignty.

The Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians has declined to send a tribal representative, joining the Penobscot Nation, which pulled its tribal representative in 2015.

Maine's sole tribal representative next year will be Rep. Rena Newell of the Passamaquoddy Nation.

The controversy dates to the wording of a 1980 settlement of tribes' claim to perhaps two-thirds of Maine's lands.