“Mark W. Eves Vs Paul R. LePage” Federal Civil Lawsuit Filed in U.S. District Court

Posted on July 30, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Photos here of the press conference held today on the steps of the courthouse in Portland.

 

 

 

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(UPDATED x3) Governor LePage’s “Notes From The Edge”: A Compilation

Posted on July 27, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE X2: A LePage letter to now House Majority Leader Rep. Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) is being added to this post. Frankly, with the two different pens and more scribbled appearance, it is harder to read than some of the others, but is related to bonds similar to that of the harshly worded one to Senator Patrick.

mccabe lepage letter

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UPDATE: A June 2012 note from the governor to State Senator John Patrick (D-Oxford) is being added to this post. It reads (emphasis mine):IMG_20150727_175457194_HDR

    “John

    You are a bald faced liar and cheat! Character eludes you. It is up to the Governor’s discretion on when bonds are sold, he has up to five years.

    Paul”

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(With apologies to Carrie Fisher et al)

Sometimes it is simply better to let the content tell the story.

1. First is this recent letter from retired librarian Louise Sullivan of Cape Elizabeth to Maine Governor Paul LePage, which read:

    “Dear Gov. LePage, please resign. You will save yourself time and embarrassment. You will save our state time and money. Sincerely, Louise Sullivan”

The governor wasted no time with his reply.

louise

2. For handwriting comparative purposes, there is this 2013 note sent by the governor to Rep. Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor).

hubbell

3. Governor LePage to supporter Victor Lister of Athens, dated July 6.

victorlister

Mr. Lister had sent a copy of a published LTE to the governor:

    “It’s time for the media to take the Constitution seriously. The paper has tyrannically silenced too many voices for too long, and it should watch its language.

    Why is Gov. Paul LePage called “bombastic”? I hear him denounced regularly, and I can’t figure out why.

    I don’t approve of “taking care of” legislators by making them heads of educational institutions.

    I’m a veteran and profit mightily from being one, but I question its cost to our nation.

    Clearly, we’ve entered the “Bread and Circuses” stage of decaying empires, and, though I personally profit from it, I think it is social diabetes. LePage is doing his darndest to put Maine on a diet; the least we can do is recognize the need.

    Victor Lister, Athens”.

4. A rather informative look at the sharp-toned division between Governor LePage and GOP legislative leaders are apparent with this note, sent to Senate President Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo):

5. Lest one think that the governor incapable of being polite to legislators, we have this note directed to Rep. Larry Lockman (R-Amherst). Seems Governor LePage thinks more of Lockman’s potential leadership qualities than those GOP leaders currently serving:

larry

6. Sometimes the meaning of the governor’s words has been lost upon the audience, in this case, Maine principals. From September 2012:

loser cartoon lepage

Jonathan Nass, LePage’s then senior policy adviser, had sent the above image along with a letter to some Maine high school principals, which read:

Governor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine's Congressional desk.

Governor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine’s Congressional desk.

    “Governor LePage was recently given the attached cartoon and asked that I forward it along to all of the state’s high school principals. You will see that the governor added a hand-written note. Thank you for your time and best wishes for the new school year.”

Some reported reactions:

    Deborah Migneault, principal of Portland High School, said her first thought was: What did the governor pay for postage?

    “If he sent that to all principals, it seems like an incredible waste,” she said. “We have enough to think about. I don’t think that cartoon motivates us.”

    Christian Elkington, principal of Massabesic High School in Waterboro, said he understood the governor’s point that vocational and technical education should be encouraged as an option, but disagreed with the assumption that schools don’t do that already.

    “We aren’t forcing kids down one path or another,” he said.

LePage press secretary Adrienne Bennett attempted to clarify that “career and technical education has not been given the recognition it deserves.”

    “The governor is simply saying let’s do better, let’s provide students with the choices that will provide successful outcomes,” she wrote. “Every child learns differently; our teachers recognize this and so does the governor.”

7. Finally is this note from Governor LePage on his 2014 re-election campaign letterhead to then Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook).

As the two share a “history”, no explanation from Bennett or anyone else on the second floor is needed, and unlike the above notes to Ms. Sullivan and Mr. Lister, this was not in response to a letter from Senator Jackson, but rather the governor taking the initiative to write first.

11801939_10204851265063671_1577496542_n

    “Troy,

    Until you’ve walked in my shoes you have no idea what abuse and poverty is. I’ve never attempted to throw your wife and kids or challenge your pension as you did to my family. I know what abuse is and you must realize it doesn’t always come from industrialized landowners. You talk a good game, but I saved the pension fund without you helping. I’m very sorry you felt the need to attack my family and tried to throw us on the street, but I guess actions do speak louder than words.

    P.”

It is being reported that WGME spoke with Ms. Sullivan and that the segment will air later tonight, and that the governor’s staff will not be responding.

————–

UPDATE X3: Portland Press Herald political reporter Steve Mistler linked back to this MPW post with his Aug. 17 story, “LePage’s handwritten notes show failings in Maine’s record retention law”. Some crucial points made regarding the handwritten notes, existing Maine law, and the ongoing Good Will-Hinckley investigation:

    Neither LePage nor his staff apparently makes copies of his letters – even when the topic at hand involves state policy or other matters of public interest connected to his official duties as Maine’s chief executive.

    For example, LePage’s threat to strip Good Will-Hinckley school in Fairfield of $530,000 in state funding if it hired House Speaker Mark Eves as its next president was communicated in a handwritten note from the governor to the school’s board chairman, Jack Moore. Moore has said he may have discarded the note, and a copy was not among the documents the governor’s office released to the Portland Press Herald last week in response to a Freedom of Access Act request for all records related to the Good Will-Hinckley matter.

    The administration has taken the position that LePage’s handwritten notes are not subject to the public records law because they are personal communications, not official business.

    But current and former state archivists disagree, as do experts on the Freedom of Access Act.

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(UPDATED) June 24 AUDIO: House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) Agreed to Extend Legislative Session to July 16

Posted on July 14, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

7/15/15 UPDATE: The 7/9/15 letter from Rep. Fredette has now been added to this post.

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Listen for yourself. These are highlights from audio recorded on June 24, when the House was discussing extending the first regular half of the 127th Maine Legislative session past June 30th. This audio and accompanying transcription of House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport) agreeing to extend the Legislative session to July 16 is, quite simply, the last proof needed regarding the Governor’s erroneous assertions that the legislature had adjourned.

These 70 bills are LAW. There is no questioning the processes in place. As the Governor himself often says, “End of story”.

Here is the House Record for that evening, which serves as a transcription when compared to the audio.

*RELATED: (UPDATED) The Curious Tale Of Governor LePage And The 19- Scratch That- 70 “Pocket Vetoes” LAWS

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Dem Weekly Message by Senator Dawn Hill (D-York): LePage has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise

Posted on July 10, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

DEMOCRATIC RADIO ADDRESS

Hill says, “Gov. LePage has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise.”

    These days, working in Maine politics is a bit like living with Alice – Alice in Wonderland that is. What is up is down and what is down is up. Logic is lost and nonsense rules the day.

    In our Wonderland, the governor tosses the Constitution aside to make up his own rules.

    dawn hillGood Morning. This is Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill of York.

    During his five years in office, Governor LePage has become adept at vetoing legislation. In fact, he holds the record for the Governor who has issued the most number of vetoes. This session alone, he’s vetoed nearly 180 bills.

    Governor LePage has not been shy about exercising his veto authority. And, no one, can begrudge him that authority. But, this authority is not without limits.

    Under the Maine Constitution, during the first year of a legislative session, the governor has ten days to sign or veto a bill. If he takes no action, then the bill becomes law.

    During the second year of a legislative session, an additional method of veto, called a “pocket veto,” is available to the Governor. According to the Constitution, this is the only time a pocket veto can be used.

    And since we’re only at the end of the first year of the legislative session, the law is pretty clear on how he can veto.

    Whether Governor LePage was misusing a pocket-veto of a bill or, he lost track of the 10 day time limit for a veto, the Constitution is straightforward–those 19 bills ARE now law.

    The governor has threatened to take this all the way to the Maine Supreme Court. Why? There is no good reason–other than to point to more political gamesmanship. He often relishes in the idea of wasting lawmakers’ time–but what he’s forgetting by this latest round of threats–is that he is also wasting taxpayer dollars. He has become the monkey wrench in government that he purports to despise.

    The governor took an oath of office to uphold state law and the Constitution. Even as governor, he can’t pick and choose which laws to follow and which ones he can ignore. In this country, and in this state, no one is above the law.

    Governor LePage has overstepped and overreached; abusing the power that comes with the office of governor–again. Even his long-time political allies are unable to defend him. From Republican political pundits to lawmakers, one after another is stepping forward and condemning his actions. One Republican lawmaker publicly said that this was the straw that broke the camel’s back–adding, lawmakers must express “no confidence” in Governor LePage.

    What’s next? Well, hopefully nothing.

    Most of us want to return to the legislative session next week and do our job. We want to continue finding pathways of success–continue passing bills that will make our communities stronger, our citizens more successful, and our state more competitive.

    We’re not in Wonderland–we’re in Maine. So the Governor can either get out of the way of the Legislature or join the team of Democratic and Republican lawmakers who are getting things done.

    Thank you for listening. This is Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill of York. Have a very good weekend.

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Weekly Message of Governor Paul LePage: Fighting for a government free of fraud and abuse

Posted on July 7, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

AUDIO LINK HERE: Fighting for a government free of fraud and abuse

image001Fighting 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.

governor_lepage_350When 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.

image002

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Weekly Radio Address by House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): LePage must cooperate with investigation

Posted on July 4, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

      Rep. McCabe: LePage must cooperate with investigation
      As the representatives of Maine people, lawmakers demand accountability and transparency

        The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee this week launched an investigation into whether Governor Paul LePage misused state funds and abused his power to exact retribution on a political rival. It was a remarkable vote. The six Republicans and six Democrats on this watchdog panel were unanimous in their understanding that Maine people deserve answers and expect transparency from their governor.

        Good morning. I’m Representative Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan, the House majority leader. Thank you for tuning in.

        The people of Maine need to know whether their governor did, in fact, threaten to withhold state funds from a historic private non-profit school that serves at-risk youths if they followed through with their plans to hire Speaker Mark Eves, forcing Good Will-Hinckley to rescind its employment offer.

        House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe speaks with press at the Blaine House, 5/29/15.

        House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe speaks with press at the Blaine House, 5/29/15.

        This kind of political retribution is unacceptable.

        Every elected official in Maine must feel free to vote their conscience without fear of ending up on the governor’s enemies list.

        No Maine citizen should have to look over their shoulder, worried about being the target of the governor’s vendetta politics simply because they disagree with him.

        No Maine school, town organization or institution should have to worry about becoming collateral damage because of the governor’s agenda of retribution.

        The governor – just like any other public official – is accountable to the Maine people.

        That’s why I applaud the Government Oversight Committee’s unanimous bipartisan decision to authorize the investigation.

        That’s also why I’m concerned that the governor is trying to dodge serious questions about how he has conducted himself in office.

        Governor LePage is not above the law or exempt from the Constitution.

        Governor LePage promised transparency to the Maine people, but now he is trying to avoid questions about the misuse of public funds and other outrageous abuses of power that reek of Nixonian politics.

        I’m calling on Governor LePage to fully cooperate with this investigation.

        Let me be clear: this investigation is just one of the options on the table. If the governor wants to push us toward other avenues, we will go there.

        I speak as a representative of the Maine people. I also speak on behalf of the entire House Democratic caucus when I say we owe it to the people of Maine to do everything we can to restore their trust in our political system.

        The demand for an investigation has been intensifying – and for good reason. We are talking about some of the most cherished values we hold as Mainers and Americans.

        Skowhegan’s own Margaret Chase Smith may have described those basic principles best when she laid out her Declaration of Conscience.“The right to criticize; The right to hold unpopular beliefs; The right to protest; The right of independent thought.”

        Margaret Chase Smith went on to say, “The exercise of these rights should not cost one single American citizen his reputation or his right to a livelihood nor should he be in danger of losing his reputation or livelihood merely because he happens to know someone who holds unpopular beliefs. Who of us doesn’t? Otherwise none of us could call our souls our own. Otherwise thought control would have set in.”

        DSC_0071She’s absolutely right.

        No Maine woman or man should have to fear losing their job because a powerful politician has put them on their enemies list.

        That’s not the government Mainers want or deserve. They want honest elected officials who are not only fighting every day to improve the lives of Maine people but also protecting our Constitution and the rights we hold dear.

        It’s our responsibility in the Legislature to stand together to preserve the integrity of our government and the offices we hold.

        Thank you for listening. I’m House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe of Skowhegan. I wish you and your families a safe and happy Fourth of July.

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Maine Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee Unanimously Votes to Investigate Governor Paul LePage

Posted on July 1, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

On the heels of yesterday’s citizen rally at the State House (LePage Admits To Threatening Good Will-Hinckley Re: Eves Hiring, Denies Actions Were “Blackmail”) came news late in the afternoon that the Maine Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee (GOC) would be meeting today to take up the investigation requests by Republican State Senator Tom Saviello of Wilton and a trio of Representatives, Independents Jeff Evangelos of Friendship, Ben Chipman of Portland and Democrat Charlotte Warren of Hallowell.

DSC_0019Committee Members

Senate: Roger J. Katz, Chair (R-Kennebec)
David C. Burns (R-Washington)
Paul T. Davis, Sr. (R-Piscataquis)
Christopher K. Johnson (D-Lincoln)
Stan Gerzofsky (D-Cumberland)
G. William Diamond (D-Cumberland)

House: Chuck Kruger, Chair (D-Thomaston)
Robert S. Duchesne (D-Hudson)
Anne-Marie Mastraccio (D-Sanford)
Michael D. McClellan (R-Raymond)
Richard H. Campbell (R-Orrington)
Deborah J. Sanderson (R-Chelsea)

Governor LePage through his legal counsel Cynthia Montgomery sent a letter to the committee, questioning their authority to conduct any sort of investigation into the chief executive officer.

The 12 GOC members met with Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA) Director Bath Ashcroft for almost an hour, decided that they did indeed have sufficient authority to look into the serious allegations, and proceeded to discuss the scope of the investigations to be conducted by OPEGA.

Here is video of the meeting, with the sole agenda item for GOC being “NEW BUSINESS- Requests for an OPEGA Review of Matters Relating to Funding for the Goodwill- Hinckley School”.

After almost an hour of discussion, the committee agreed by an unanimous 12-0 vote to have OPEGA look into the concerns. Specific goals and parameters were set by the committee as to the scope.

Afterwards, some of those involved were willing to issue quick statements.

The committee will meet again at 9 am on Friday, July 17.

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(UPDATE) LePage Admits to Threatening Good Will-Hinckley Re: Eves Hiring, Denies Actions Were “Blackmail”

Posted on June 29, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

6/30/15 UPDATES: Rallies were held at the State House today, both in support of the governor and his budget veto (within the Hall of Flags; 75 participants including Governor LePage) and another opposing LePage, demanding a full investigation into the allegations against him (about 300 participants, outside the State House and under LePage’s office windows)

SUPPORTERS (photos available here):

OPPONENTS (photos available here):

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Maine Governor Paul LePage being interviewed 6/29/15 by WMTW reporter Paul Merrill and Mal Leary of MPBN.

Maine Governor Paul LePage being interviewed 6/29/15 by WMTW reporter Paul Merrill and Mal Leary of MPBN.

Maine Governor Paul LePage was interviewed outside his office at the State House briefly today; audio was recorded by WMTW’s Paul Merrill via his cell phone and shared with this reporter. Also interviewing the governor was MPBN’s Mal Leary.

    PAUL MERRILL: Wondering about your reaction to the talk of impeachment…

    GOV. LEPAGE: It is what it is; it’s a free country. They can do whatever they want. If they impeach me, I won’t have to retire.

    PAUL MERRILL: Regarding Speaker Eves… was there any explicit threat about his employment?

    GOV. LEPAGE: First of all- I don’t understand about a “threat”. Here is a person who for five years has been going against charter schools. HE voted against them; he spoke harshly against them. And NOW he’s concerned? I dunno what he’s talking about. I’m a pro charter school advocate; he’s an opponent. Would I stand up against him? And incidentally, about monies you are talking about? The money you’re talking about is out of the budget. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the legislature took that money out of the budget. So…

    PAUL MERRILL: So you never threatened to withhold money.

    GOV. LEPAGE: Yeah, I did! If I could, I would! Absolutely; why wouldn’t I? Tell me why I wouldn’t take the taxpayer money, to prevent somebody to go into a school and destroy it. Because his heart’s not into doing the right thing for Maine people.

    PAUL MERRILL: But they would say that- if you said, “If you hire him, then I don’t get the money”, that’s blackmail.

    GOV. LEPAGE: No, it’s not. Go, go read the definition. Please go read the definition of “blackmail”. I don’t gain anything out of it and neither does he. So there’s nobody gaining anything. So I think you are misusing the word. And that’s coming from a Frenchman.

    MAL LEARY: The ‘New York Times’ yesterday portrayed you as “a party of one”. How do you feel when you read that you’re “a party of one”?

    GOV. LEPAGE: Let me tell you something. This is how- my only comment about that is I was elected by 1.3 million people, with the most votes in the history of Maine governors, to come to Maine and to get rid of the status quo and the corruption. And I will continue do that, with every ounce of blood until my last day. Whichever, whichever comes first- the impeachment or my- the term of office.

    PAUL MERRILL: You expect to veto the budget this afternoon?

    GOV. LEPAGE: Absolutely.

    PAUL MERRILL: Do you know about what time? What’s time frame?

    GOV. LEPAGE: It will before I leave at 5 o’clock. (giggles)

    PAUL MERRILL: Any comments about the veto, the impending veto?

    GOV. LEPAGE: Uh, it’s gonna be different. Than you’ve ever seen. (giggles)

    PAUL MERRILL: How so?

    GOV. LEPAGE: That’s all I’m gonna say. (giggles)

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Rep. Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop) Gives Powerful Floor Speech on GA/ FY ’16/17 Budget

Posted on June 19, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

    I believe every person in this Chamber is a proud American. Our ancestors come from different places; practice different faiths; eat different meals. But we share one nation and one set of ideals. We share a belief in the greatness of our country. A belief that what makes us a great nation isn’t our sameness, but our diversity. Today in the hallways of this magnificent building we saw some of Maine’s diversity. There were people here who came from Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Congo Brazza-ville, Djibouti, Mauritania, Rwanda, Somalia.

    They hail from the continent of my ancestors, who did not come to these shores by choice. Ancestors who did not come to these shores fleeing anything. Still, I love America more than any other country on earth, and I wish to be nowhere else.

    It has already been quoted, but I am going to quote it again:

      Give me your tired, your poor,

      Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

      The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

      Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:

      I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

    I am certain, Mr. Speaker, that every person here, every person listening or watching online, knows that those closing lines from Emma Lazarus’ 1883 sonnet “The New Colossus” are emblazoned on a bronze plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, placed there in 1903.

    We are a nation of immigrants.

    Let us never forget.

    DSC_0093As Thomas Jefferson challenges us, “Shall we refuse the unhappy fugitives from distress that hospitality which the savages of the wilderness extended to our fathers arriving in this land? Shall oppressed humanity find no asylum on this globe?”

    We are a nation of immigrants.

    Let us be reminded by the international community through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for which the United States voted, that “[e]veryone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.”

    We are a nation of immigrants.

    Let us never forget.

    Throughout this conversation, we have heard arguments such as: “We can’t even afford to take care of our own; we can’t help our disadvantaged, our elderly, and our infirm, so we can’t help them.” I say, Why not? Why can’t we? From the long perspective of human history, from before the times of the Pharaohs to now, in the wealthiest nation ever to exist on the earth, can we really cry poverty in good faith?

    Throughout this conversation, we have heard fears like this: “They don’t look like us. They don’t speak our language. They worship differently than we do. They have strange ways. They can’t be trusted. They just come here to take from us, to pick our pockets, and live off the dole.”

    If we haven’t walked in their shoes, then who are we to judge them?

    Mr. Speaker, women and men of the house, have we forgotten what makes us human? How have we forgotten what makes us humane? Have we forgotten the purpose of our government?

    DSC_0100Our purpose for existing, the principles that guide our work in this Chamber, are laid out in our State Constitution. We have formed the government of the State of Maine “to establish justice, insure tranquility … promote our common welfare, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of liberty.” Is not the welfare of all God’s children our “common welfare”? Isn’t treating all of our residents with fairness and equality indeed “justice”? Isn’t our responsibility to truly secure the blessings of liberty for those who have sought refuge among us, fleeing tyranny and civil war?

    It breaks my heart that we are even having this debate.

    I will quote a passage from “The Fire Next Time,” by James Baldwin:

      “Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death – ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life.”

    And so in facing the conundrum of life in this debate, I am going to flip the script. I am not going to call them immigrants, or asylum seekers, or legal non-citizens. I am going to call them exactly what they are: human beings seeking a better life in the greatest country on earth.

    How can we in good conscience vote to throw decent human beings out onto the streets because our sometimes cold and insensitive language around “welfare cheats and illegals” has been repeated so often we have lost our ability to see the human beings behind the labels?

    As Martin Luther King said, “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience.”

    In order to live with my conscience, I cannot, ought not, will not vote against human beings who need our help. I cannot, ought not, will not pit them against other human beings who need our help. And I cannot, ought not, will not fear what happens at the ballot box in the next election.

    Mr. Speaker, women and men of the House, no matter the outcome on this conundrum, this amendment, this vote that we are about to take here this afternoon, I pledge to work with anyone in this Chamber to make sure that our state is more welcoming to young families; more welcoming to people who don’t look like most of us; more welcoming to people from different lands and other countries. And, yes, more welcoming to human beings fleeing the terrible places where life can be found, human beings whose toughness and resilience and ambition will make us a better state now and in the future.

    Brilliantly blessed are those who create Unity out of vast Diversity, for they will experience Heaven on Earth.

    Mr. Speaker, women and men of the House, let us remember who we are. Let us follow the light of the golden lamp of Lady Liberty and vote to pass this amendment.

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FULL VIDEO: Maine Governor Paul LePage Blaine House Press Conference (5/29/15)

Posted on June 11, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Shared without comment.

    (media advisory)

    Maine Governor Paul LePage News Conference on PUC, Income Tax Removal & Budget

    Governor Paul R. LePage will hold a news conference today to discuss several issues, including tax reform and the biennial budget, which the 127th Maine Legislature currently is considering.

    When: 1:00 p.m., Friday, May 29, 2015

    Where: Blaine House, Augusta

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