Weekly Message of Governor Paul LePage: Fighting for a government free of fraud and abuse
AUDIO LINK HERE: Fighting for a government free of fraud and abuse
No one in the State of Maine cares more for at-risk kids than I do. I was an at-risk kid. I have been there.
Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.
I know what it’s like to grow up in a dysfunctional household with an abusive parent. I know what it’s like to live on the streets where crudeness and violence are so normal that the rest of the world seems foreign. I also know what it’s like to feel alienated in a public school system that doesn’t understand the needs of the at-risk kids. I care about all Maine kids, and I care about the at-risk youth at Good Will-Hinckley.
When I heard Good Will-Hinckley had hired Speaker of the House Mark Eves to run their charter school for at-risk kids, I thought it was a joke. If Speaker Eves had his way, no charter schools would have ever opened in Maine. He worked his entire political career to oppose and threaten charter schools in Maine. He is the mouthpiece for the Maine Education Association. Giving taxpayers’ money to a person who has fought so hard against charter schools would be unconscionable.
Supporters of Speaker Eves, including his admirers at the Portland Press Herald,, have portrayed him as a nice family man who is being persecuted for simply trying to get a job. That is pure political spin, and the Maine people know it.
Mark Eves enjoys the prestige and the perks that come with his powerful position as Speaker of the House. However, like most professional politicians, he does not like having to defend his voting record. And that record is crystal clear: Eves has been the most visible and most powerful opponent of charter schools in Maine.
Regardless of his efforts to close charter schools, he wanted a cushy job at a charter school that paid $150,000 in salary and benefits. You can’t make this stuff up. The media is bending over backward to defend Eves, but Mainers see it for what it is. It’s a political hack-o-rama at its worst.
Unlike prior presidents at Good Will-Hinckley who hold advance degrees in education administration and have had long careers as educators, Speaker Eves’ only qualification was being a politician in Augusta, where he’s used his position to oppose charter schools and to threaten the existence of the very organization he sought to lead.
I have spoken out against people in powerful positions who have abused the taxpayers’ trust at the expense of the Maine people. Former legislator Paul Violette, the past head of the Maine Turnpike Authority, went to jail for enriching himself and misappropriating public money.
Another former legislator, Dale McCormick, past head of the Maine State Housing Authority, was spending much more public money than was necessary to build housing units for low-income Mainers. She was ousted for her mismanagement of that agency.
These former legislators used their political positions to land cushy, high-paying jobs in which they were trusted to use taxpayer money to improve the lives of Mainers. They abused that trust and had to face the consequences of their actions. The same is true of Mark Eves.
Speaker Eves most recently broke the public trust when he orchestrated closed-door budget negotiations with three other legislative leaders, then forced the 183 other legislators to vote on a budget they did not have time to read. Thankfully, 47 legislators saw through this and voted against it.
I’m sure Mark Eves is a nice family man. He is free to speak his mind personally and politically. But so am I. When I disagree with Speaker Eves or any other politician and when I see that their actions are not in the best interest of the State of Maine, I will speak up. If Speaker Eves or anyone else wants to sue me in hopes of a big pay day, that’s their right. But I will always fight for the right of the Maine people to have a government that is free from waste, fraud and abuse.
I will not get a big pay day for my efforts. But I will sleep well at night, knowing I did the right thing for the Maine people.