The First 100 Days of Governor Paul LePage: A Review

Posted on April 13, 2011. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

 

To quote the Grateful Dead: What a long, strange trip it’s been!!! Okay, let’s start from the beginning and work our way through it. 

Day 1 (January 5, 2011): Paul R. LePage Sr, Mayor of Waterville, is sworn in as the 74th Governor of Maine. Among those who send messages of goodwill are Americans for Taxpayer Reform and Maine Senator Susan Collins congratulates LePage:

“I look forward to working with Governor LePage, from the federal level, to help create a climate in which our small businesses can thrive, giving a much-needed boost to our state’s economy, and restoring Mainers’ trust in government.”

Day 10 (January 14): Regarding his refusal to meet with NAACP leaders, LePage is quoted as saying: “Tell ‘em they can kiss my butt”.

“Tell them to kiss my butt. If they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it.”

Day 13, January 17: LePage attends a Martin Luther King Jr breakfast in Waterville, much to the surprise of those in attendance. While the breakfast starts at 7:30, the governor’s spokes team do not release a press statement until the event is well underway.

Day 14, January 18: Attention is focused upon Devon Raymond, who is found not to be LePage’s son, despite the governor’s previous statement to the contrary.

Day 15, January 19: LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt is grilled on-air by Ken Altshuler of WGAN over the governor’s claim that he has an adopted black son.

Day 20, January 24: LePage sends legislators an extensive list of proposed environmental protection roll-backs.

Included in this list of recommendations, labeled “Phase One,” are provisions which would essentially overturn the Kid-Safe Products Act, passed in 2008, which prevents manufacturers from using some of the most dangerous toxic chemicals in products that come into contact with children.Also targeted is Maine’s recently passed product stewardship law, which is designed to make manufacturers repsonsible for the cost of the disposal of hazardous substances found electronic waste, rather than Maine taxpayers.

Maine’s law banning the use of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol-A in baby bottles, water bottles, and sippy cups is also slated for elimination.

Day 23, January 27: LePage signs a proclamation recognizing “School Choice Week” in Maine.


When LePage hesitated to submit his budget to the Maine legislature, the MDP on Day 37 (February 10) challenged him to do so


Chairman Ben Grant’s Statement on Governor LePage’s Budget Address:

Governor LePage needs to realize that the campaign is over, and that Maine people need a governor who will give them a clear picture of how the state will move forward. Instead, the governor offered more overheated rhetoric to his 38% of the state, but nothing to the 62% of Maine that doesn’t want an extreme approach to governing.

LePage is not a candidate anymore, he’s the governor – so it’s time for him to start presenting a positive outlook. Our economy will be helped by smart investments, not by doom and gloom headlines. Maine won’t make any progress if we govern based on Tea Party stereotypes.

When the proposed budget is released, the Governor will have to come clean with the people of Maine about exactly what essential services will be decimated. Governor LePage made some expensive promises today, without leveling with Mainers about how he plans to pay for them.

On Day 38 (February 11), it was reported that Governor LePage finally had submitted his budget.

Reaction was quick, as lawmakers began wading into the budget and public hearings started to be scheduled.

To defend his cuts, the Governor stated that there were Maine communities about to default. To the best of our knowledge, this charge by LePage has yet to come true- and he has yet to identify these municipalities.

Along with the public hearings came numerous and extraordinarily well-attended rallies. Unions. Teachers. State workers. Civil rights groups. Clean Elections supporters. Senior citizens. Others, too many to count or remember, frankly.

Thousands of Mainers across the political spectrum bonded together to stand firm and protest Governor LePage’s proposals, time and time again.

The biggest rally was on Day 59 (March 4), as about a thousand hardy souls rallied outside in 30 below wind chills. Here is a clip of Senator Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) addressing those assembled.

And then came, on Day 50, February 23, news that Governor LePage was caught on camera at a press conference as saying (regarding BPA’s usage and estrogen) that “the worst case is some women may have little beards”.

To quote Rob Shetterly, President of the Maine Union of Visual Artists:

I am reminded by these events of the great Civil Rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer who said, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” I am sick and tired of the crude disrespectful remarks of this governor. I don’t like him telling any president to go to hell. I am outraged that he would call the NAACP an “interest group” and tell them to “kiss his butt.” I am sick and tired of his sexist remarks like those about the dangerous chemical additive BPA, that it might cause a few women to grow beards — so what’s the big deal? He said he hadn’t seen the science on BPA — he hadn’t seen it because he’s incapable of understanding it — except as it effects the bottom line of its manufacturer. And he obviously has no idea of the difference between estrogen and testosterone. Poor man.

On Day 69 (March 14) LePage sent out a press release, threatening a veto if his budget was not passed by the Legislature intact. The following day, the Maine Democratic Party issued a press release of their own, blasting the Governor and quoting Republicans that now were finding themselves in an awkward spot:

“We are now in the position that we are going to need a two-thirds budget so we are going to do our best to negotiate a budget that takes his concerns into account…but we are not drawing any lines in the sand,” said Senate Majority Leader Jonathan Courtney, R-Springvale.

Day 71 (March 16): It was reported that Maine author Stephen King lambasted Govs LePage, Walker and Scott, referring to the trio as ”The Three Stooges” in Florida.

Then we have that which can only be described best as “Mural-Gate”:

Day 78 (March 23): Maine AFL-CIO ACTION ALERT: Tell LePage, “Honor Maine’s Working Class History”

Day 79 (March 24): Press Release: Maine Artists and Labor Historians Protest Mural Removal

Day 80 (March 25): Maine Women’s Lobby Asks: What Would Frances Perkins Say?

Day 80 (March 25): Playing Musical Chairs With the Maine Dept of Labor Mural?

Day 81 (March 26): Gov. LePage’s Weekly Radio Address: ‘Today, There is a New Mentality in Augusta’

Day 83 (March 28): BREAKING: Governor LePage Releases Statement About Mural Removal

It was reported on Day 84 (March 29) that despite being on the job for less than 3 months, Governor Paul LePage was taking a full week off for a vacation in Jamaica with wife Ann.

But even the Governor’s absence did not stop “Mural_Gate”, which evolved into a lawsuit and a temporary restraining order being filed against LePage.

As well as an outcry for a citizen’s recall process.

And news of a death threat against the Governor.

And “Mural-Gate” rolled on:

Day 87 (April 1): Rep. Cynthia Dill Asks: Citizen’s Recall- What Now?Day 87 (April 1): BREAKING: Lawsuit Filed Against Gov LePage, Others Regarding Missing MDOL Mural

Day 88 (April 2): Governor LePage’s Weekly Address (2 Apr 2011)

Day 89 (April 3): Did Dirigo Blue Scoop Maine Media with GOP Senate Letter Post?

Day 90 (April 4): The 8 Senators’ Letter is Published- All Tone Issues, No Problems With LePage Agenda

Day 91 (April 5): Maine GOP/ Tea Party Antics: Attacking Art and Ripping Each Other Apart

Day 91 (April 5): Statement of ME Union of Visual Artists President Robert Shetterly

Day 91 (April 5): The Maine Labor Mural Projection Bombing On The Capital

Day 93 (April 7):Statement of MDOL Mural Artist Judy Taylor

Day 93 (April 7): Video: Portland Attorney Jonathan Beal Discusses MDOL Mural Lawsuit

Day 93 (April 7): Press Release: Congresswoman Pingree statement on Department of Labor mural

Day 93 (April 7): New MDOL Mural Video: “Paul LePage’s Dream”

Day 94 (April 8): REQUEST for Temporary Restraining Order Filed Against Maine Governor Paul LePage

Day 94 (April 8): “Maine Labor Mural Projection Bombing: PORTLAND

Day 97 (April 11): Video: “Welcome Back, Governor LePage!

Day 98 (April 12): HuffPo Scores Exclusive Interview with ME Labor Mural Projection Bombers

WHEW! And we still have to wait until April 19 to find out what happens in Bangor with the lawsuit.

Sidenote: What the heck is “Government Speech”, anyways?

A few days ago, the Maine Legislature dismissed Governor LePage’s BPA ban handily:

Day 98 (April 12):  Maine Senate Unanimously Approves BPA Ban

The Maine Senate today voted unanimously to begin phasing out the chemical bidphenol-A, or BPA, from children’s products such as baby bottles and sippy cups, the Lewiston Sun Journal reports. The vote follows a strong endorsement for the bill in the Maine House, which approved it last week by a vote of 145-3.The ban, proposed under Maine’s Kid-Safe Products Act, was initially opposed by Gov. Paul LePage, who made national headlines when he joked that the worst effect of the chemical would be to cause women to grow “little beards.” LePage later dropped his opposition.

WOW. Talk about a “no confidence” vote against Governor LePage! And that leads us to our last entry:

Day 99 (April 13): Maine Democrats say “Enough Already”.

 

MDP Chair Ben Grant, who was in attendance at today’s event, released the following statement:

     
Statement from Chairman Ben Grant on Governor LePage’s First 100 Days:

“Mainers are looking for leaders who solve problems, not ones who needlessly create them”

Maine voters sent a message to Augusta last fall to fix our ailing economy and create good paying jobs. After 100 days in office, it is clear that the LePage administration did not receive the message. For 100 days, Maine has been subjected to a nonsense agenda full of distractions and embarrassments that has left Mainers from Caribou to Kittery outraged. From rolling back child labor laws to putting chemicals back into baby bottles to confiscating a historical Labor mural, Governor LePage has embarrassed the state and even caused Republicans to issue a public rebuke.

61% of Maine people voted for a common sense, responsible government last fall, but Governor LePage insists on governing only for the 39% who demand an extreme, conservative and divisive approach. 100 days of distractions and pointless legislation are 100 days too many. Mainers are looking for leaders who solve problems, not ones who needlessly create them.”

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