Robert Macdonald, mayor of Lewiston, Maine, is making headlines once again for his tough stance against welfare recipients.
This week, the mayor wrote a column for the The Twin City Times in which he asked Maine’s legislative body to consider creating a website which features the names and addresses of welfare recipients as well as the types and amounts of benefits they receive from the state.
According to a report by The Washington Post, Macdonald believes “taxpayers have a right to know” where their money is going, who is using it and what they are using it for.
Macdonald was quoted as writing that “liberal, progressive legislators” have convinced constituents to remain in the dark about welfare payments and have made the poor “a victimized, protected class.”
This isn’t the first time Macdonald has landed himself in hot water. In 2011, he was quoted as saying he thought immigrants should “leave your culture at the door,” a particularly abrasive quote in light of the large Somalian refugee population in Lewiston.
Two years later, he spearheaded a citywide campaign to smoke out “welfare cheats”.
In 2013, he launched a citywide effort aimed at “welfare cheats” and kicked 80 people off assistance; criminal charges were pressed against a handful for fraud.
According to a report from USA Today, Macdonald he said he wasn’t sorry about the column and that he hoped it would make people “think twice about applying for welfare.”
The responses to the pair of stories about Macdonald drew spirited debate and criticism.
One commenter named Boozer Schmidt wrote, “Beside each name should be listed whether the recipient is able-bodied or disabled. It’s time to stop supporting dead end dead beat leeches.”
Another commenter named Roxanne Harmon wrote, “This is another idiot. This is so convoluted. I hope people think twice before considering their vote.”