LePage Holds Presser to Address Racism Charges, Blames Media For Bad Drug Coverage

Posted on January 18, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Maine Governor Paul LePage found himself in hot water recently, as his racially-charged comments made regarding Maine’s heroin crisis at a Bridgton town hall event made international news.

    “These are guys with the name D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty… these types of guys… they come from Connecticut and New York, they come up here, they sell their heroin, they go back home. Incidentally, half the time they impregnate a young, white girl before they leave, which is a real sad thing because then we have another issue we have to deal with down the road.”

Some reactions are below.

1. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree: “Governor LePage’s comments were disgraceful and racist. Once again, just a week before Martin Luther King Day, the governor has made a comment that is offensive to the African American community and to all of us. It does not represent the values of Maine people and is embarrassing to our state. And although the governor seems to regret getting caught making those remarks, he also seems unwilling to apologize to the community that he has insulted.”

2. 2CD Democratic candidate Emily Cain (D-Orono): “We need to be talking about real solutions to the serious epidemic of heroin addiction afflicting our state. Governor LePage’s appalling remarks this week embody the very worst of fear-mongering in politics that hold us back as a state and a nation, and they do not reflect Maine values. There is absolutely no place for this in our public discourse – especially in Maine. Unfortunately, Congressman Bruce Poliquin – who in the past has referred to himself and LePage as ‘good friends’ – has still remained silent on LePage’s ugly remarks. Does Bruce Poliquin defend LePage’s comments?”

3. Senate Democratic Minority Leader Justin Alfond (D-Portland): “At best, the governor’s comments were careless or poorly stated. At worst, they were purposeful and deeply offensive. Either way, they were completely unproductive. Maine’s drug addiction crisis is complex, and impacts ever aspect of life for those affected by it. We need to work on solutions, not reduce the problem to racially charged soundbites.”

4. House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan): “Today, at a national summit of rural state leaders, I am being bombarded by questions about Governor LePage’s hateful statements rather than about what Maine is doing right. At a time when Maine needs leaders to move our state forward, the governor is making national headlines for the wrong reasons yet again. He is making it harder for us to work on policies important to Maine people, whether it’s energy, substance abuse or growing the rural economy.”

5. Assistant Majority Leader Sara Gideon (D-Freeport): “The governor keeps saying he wants to address the state’s drug epidemic. Comments like the one he made in Bridgton keep Maine from moving forward on this front. If the governor is serious about tackling this crisis, he should stop standing in the way of the Legislature’s comprehensive plan and help Mainers desperate for treatment get the care they need.”

A few days later, the governor held a press conference in his Cabinet Room in hopes of clarifying his remarks and discussing the state’s heroin epidemic. From a media advisory:

    AUGUSTA- Governor Paul R. LePage will hold a news conference at 10:00 AM in the Cabinet Room to discuss his recent remarks regarding Maine’s drug crisis. All verified media is welcome to attend.

    When: Friday, January 08, 2016, 10:00 AM
    Where: Cabinet Room, State House, Augusta

Here is full video from that press conference.

Here are a few parsed out moments from the press conference.

1. Maine Governor Paul LePage to Media: “You Don’t Like Me, and I Don’t Like You”

2. Governor Paul LePage Describes Drug Bust He Personally Witnessed While in Office

3. LePage Accuses Press of Being in Bloggers’ Backpockets

4. LePage To NECN: “Your comment is inappropriate”; “Never said anything about being black”

5. Maine Governor Paul LePage on Drug Omnibus Bill: “Ecstatic” Legislature Taking Up Issue

6. LePage on Media Role in Solving Maine’s Drug Crisis

7. Maine Governor Paul LePage Tells Stories of Addicts, Narcan Usage

8. LePage Tells Media What They Are Missing in Reporting on Maine’s Drug Crisis

9. LePage to WMTW: “Only time I see you in this building… is when you are criticizing me”

10. LePage Verbally Attacks Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond (D-Portland) At Press Conference

11. Maine Governor Paul LePage Hints at New County Jail Program

12. LePage Takes Followup Question, Re: Drug Busts He Has Witnessed

The governor will conduct another public town hall event tomorrow evening in Windham.

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Maine House Republican Members Outline 2016 Legislative Objectives

Posted on January 4, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

From a press release:

“The Maine Legislature must deal with a number of challenges as legislators return to Augusta this week.

Maine is in the midst of the worst drug crisis in state history. Governor LePage requested funding for 10 new MDEA agents immediately to help fight the supply side of this epidemic. That funding has been found within existing resources and the process of recruiting those agents has already begun.

Now it’s time for legislators to turn their attention toward drug treatment and education. This is an issue that requires a thoughtful and thorough process and whatever plan is ultimately brought forward for a vote must be completely vetted by the committees of jurisdiction. We cannot afford to race through this process.

In addition to the drug epidemic, there are several fiscal issues that demand the immediate attention of legislators.

• Tax Conformity: On the heels of the omnibus spending package passed in Washington last month, whether or not Maine complies with these new tax changes could cost roughly $40 million.

• Voter approved changes made to the Maine Clean Elections Program will cost the state an additional $7-$10 million.

• Indigent Legal Services: This program was not funded for the second year of the biennium. This is a constitutionally mandated program and will require $4 million in funding.

• County Jails Issue: A bill to address the situation with the county jails was carried over to the upcoming session. This also has the potential to cost the state additional money.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D-N. Berwick) responded:

    “Every day, more Maine families struggle to save the lives of their loved ones suffering from crippling addiction. While some members would rather posture in front of a microphone, we are focused on using available resources to mount a serious effort to tackle the drug crisis and give families, law enforcement, and treatment providers the tools they need.”
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Andi’s Weekly Review/ Sneak Peek, Jan 1 (NEW WEEKLY FEATURE) #mepolitics

Posted on January 1, 2016. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

UPDATE: More information regarding the second Wednesday rally has been provided by one of the organizers, via Facebook.

————

“Alliance for the Common Good Rally of Unity

Wednesday, January 6, 2016 (first day of the new legislative session), 1-4 PM

Hall of Flags, State Capitol, Augusta

Bring: signs (but not on sticks so you can get thru security), information to distribute or put on tables, and ideas to add to a speak out that is part of the afternoon events.

What are your concerns about what the state of Maine should be doing and the directions it should be going in?

What do our legislators need to hear from the public?

These were last year’s primary points of unity (which are ones again this year):

Respect for community sovereignty.
An economy that protects our environment.
Reserving Maine money for Maine people.
Keeping money out of politics.

Some issues we will likely address there:

*Paul LePage’s actions against Mark Eves that may be grounds for impeachment
*Renewed attempts to have more people covered by MaineCare
*November referenda on raising the minimum wage, rank choice voting, marijuana use, and more
*State of Maine’s campaign to take away more of the Penobscot Nation’s sovereignty

Please come and be part of the Alliance for the Common Good’s Fourth annual Rally of Unity.”

——————-

1512843_10207415324009372_7853276067766535371_nHappy 2016! As promised, I will be attempting to sit down at the keyboard every Friday to summarize what has transpired in the past week and give a preview of what to expect next week. (The classic AP Stylebook be darned, btw- going to use my own, um, unorthodox “AP” rules of engagement!)

So with that in mind, here goes nothing!

WEEK IN REVIEW: Just a few quick items for this between holidays, look-back edition.

    1. The first one is SUCH a goody and relevant to the Christmas season. Ah, sometimes the Governor is simply the gift that keeps on giving!

    WMTW reported that Governor LePage gave a few dozen legislators, including House leadership, a childrens’ book entitled, “If You’re Riding A Horse And It Dies, Get Off”:

    pigg

      It’s not clear which members of the House of Representatives got stiffed, but we do know that House leaders did receive copies of the book.

      “We only had 80 (copies) — very simple,” LePage said.

      Many of the people contacted by WMTW News 8 about this story did not want their names attached to this story out of fear of retribution from the Governor’s Office.

    Interesting, in light of the ongoing Eves/ Good Will-Hinckley situation, that simply reporting “a fear of retribution from LePage” is taken as a given.

    Later, the chief executive took to Twitter to scold Maine media:

    Maybe the governor should have dragged the “Piggy Christmas Tree” out of the mothballs? That one was such a crowd pleaser!

    2. 128th Legislative candidate filings are coming in and being posted online. Link here.

NEXT WEEK’S SNEAK PEEK:

    1. Monday, 1/4/16: Maine youngsters go back to school after winter break as parents across the state rejoice (“… and Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again”).

    2. Tuesday, 1/5/16 (10a-5p): While the Legislature doesn’t officially come back until Wednesday the 6th, the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee (AFA) will be conducting a public hearing the day before regarding LR 2599, “An Act To Combat Drug Addiction Throught Enforcement, Treatment and Recovery” (AUDIO LINK HERE).

    3. Wednesday, 1/6/16: The House and Senate come back into the second half of the 127th Legislative Session at 10 am (which anyone with experience in Augusta will know that while many ringing bells will echo in the hallways, they won’t actually start for at least a half hour later than that).

    But one event that WILL happen as scheduled will be an 11am “State House Rally To Impeach Paul LePage” outside the State House, just under the governor’s second floor windows. The same group rallied in June 2015.

    Since June, the group has garnered over 20k signatures on a petition calling for the governor to resign.

    Later the same day, a group called “Alliance For The Common Good Unity” plan to rally as well. On Facebook, the organizers state they are gathering at 1pm, but they are listed as meeting at 2pm in the Hall of Flags.

    4. Thursday, 1/7/16: The legislature is in session and the Environmental Priorities Coalition will meet from 11:30-12:30 in State House (SH) Room 334 to issue a briefing on land conservation.

    5. Friday, 1/8/16 (9a- ?): Government Oversight Committee (GOC) meets. Among the “Unfinished Business” agenda items is this one of note:

      OPEGA Information Brief on State Funding for Good Will-Hinckley
      – Review and Approval of GOC Addendum to OPEGA Report

So, there you have it- the first of what will hopefully be a weekly column of useful info or what have you. Have a great weekend, folks!

~Andi

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ME Legislators Roll Out Comprehensive Bipartisan Drug Crisis Plan (VIDEO)

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

Recorded 12/9/15 at Maine State House’s Welcome Center. The accompanying press release via Maine Senate and House Democrats reads:

Legislative Leaders Announce Bipartisan $4.8m Plan to Fight Drug Crisis in Maine

The plan provides equal funding for treatment as well as law enforcement

AUGUSTA | December 9, 2015 | Today, Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Senate President Mike Thibodeau joined other legislative leaders, including Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland, to present a $4.8 million dollar legislative package to fight the drug crisis in Maine.

The plan, a result of a bipartisan collaboration between legislative leaders, includes prevention, treatment and law enforcement efforts.

“This plan is a first step toward a healthier Maine,” said Speaker Eves. “For too long, families and communities have continued to fight addiction alone. After working hard to come together we’ve crafted a targeted, comprehensive plan that addresses the reality of drug addiction in Maine “

The plan invests $2.4 million in treatment efforts over 18 months, including $1 million in funding for a new 10-bed detox unit. The plan increases access to inpatient and outpatient treatment for the uninsured and doubles the number of peer to peer support recovery centers across the state.

In addition to treatment, the plan provides $2.4 million to strengthen law enforcement efforts, including funding 10 new MDEA agents and a statewide coordinator to connect law enforcement to treatment providers. The plan also includes funding to launch programs at five police departments around the state modeled after the successful Operation Hope in Scarborough or the Law Enforcement Addiction Advocacy Program in Portland.

Officer John Gill of the Scarborough Police Department, site of Operation Hope, also spoke at the press conference in support of the plan. Operation Hope (the Heroin- Opiate Prevention Effort) consists of specialized law enforcement training, public education and outreach, and treatment and assistance among other services. The program served over 50 people in its first 50 days.

“This plan will provide critical support to law enforcement on the front lines and enable us to better serve members of our communities who need help,“ said Officer Gill.

Portland parent Julie Lawson, who is currently in recovery, recounted her experience with addiction and treatment services. Julie attended Mercy Hospital’s treatment program prior to its closure.

“Because of treatment I’m going to be there to watch my son grow up. I’m living proof that treatment works and that it can save families like mine,” Lawson said.

“Drug addiction has created a public health and safety catastrophe that is complex and multifaceted,” said Sen. Alfond. “So our response must be equally robust. We have to use every tool at our disposal to fight this battle on multiple fronts. This package, along with our existing efforts, will help Mainers trying to kick addiction as well as law enforcement trying to clean up our streets.”

Speaker Eves closed out the press conference by saying:

“Maine can and must do better by our families and communities, “ said Speaker Eves. “We stand with law enforcement, treatment providers, and parents in saying enough is enough. Over the next legislative session, we will work to implement these and other efforts to help keep our families and communities healthy and safe.”

The plan announced today joins five bills approved by Legislative Council last month that are also focused on addressing the drug crisis.

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Weekly Message of Governor Paul LePage: We cannot wait any longer to fight drug dealers

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

AUDIO: We cannot wait any longer to fight drug dealers

Governor LePage addressing attendees at UMF town hall, 9/22/15

Governor LePage addressing attendees at UMF town hall, 9/22/15

    We cannot wait any longer to fight drug dealers

Heroin is raging in our state, and it is killing Mainers every week. We need less talk on this deadly pandemic and more action.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Everyone agrees Maine’s heroin problem has escalated into a public health crisis. But politicians differ on how to handle it.

My administration is focused right now on attacking the supply side of the problem. We need more law enforcement officials on the streets, hunting down drug dealers and stopping them from selling poison in our state. However, as we have said repeatedly, we are not looking to arrest drug addicts. We are going after the organized drug dealers who run these illegal operations like a very profitable business. We need to shut them down wherever we can.

We absolutely agree that more treatment, education and recovery efforts are needed. If the Legislature wants to create a comprehensive plan to increase both law enforcement and treatment, we welcome it. The Legislature has the ability to prioritize funding for this comprehensive plan when they go through the budget. Unfortunately, like everything else the Legislature does, it will take a long time to come up with the plan—and even longer to implement it.

We can’t stand by and watch Mainer after Mainer die from heroin or other lethal opiates while the Legislature is mulling over their plan.

As Maine is plagued with the worst drug epidemic in history, MDEA is shortest staff than ever. We first proposed 14 new agents in March 2014, but the Legislature only approved 4 new drug enforcement agents in July. That’s not enough.

We need to build a pipeline for hiring and training new agents so as some are hitting the streets, more are coming in for training. But the Legislature has delayed these law enforcement efforts for a year-and-a-half. As the drug crisis is rapidly accelerating, we are falling behind in resources to stop the supply. The Legislature can determine the timeline for funding the new agents. I just need to know they are serious about creating these positions no later than Jan. 2016. But if they continue to stall and wait around for an unspecified plan to increase treatment, I will move ahead without them. As they contemplate how to create a plan, Mainers are literally dropping dead.

If they have not informed me by December 10 that they are planning to fund these new agents, I will take action.

That’s why I will use every resource available to me to fight these drug traffickers, including temporary support from the National Guard.

Every life is worth saving, and we will do whatever is necessary to prevent the death of one more Mainer.

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(UPDATED) LePage: “Gloves Are Off”, “Disgusted” by Legislators, Claims Lawmakers “Weak on Drugs”

Posted on March 31, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

UPDATE: The video is now posted online. As the man himself says, “Here we are again.”

————–

A fiery Governor Paul LePage held a press conference this morning to blast lawmakers over the course of the past 5 years for the current drug epidemic within the state, as his administration attempts to sway public opinion to support his FY 2016-17 biennial budget.

From an earlier media advisory:

    In the biennial budget now being considered by legislators, Governor Paul R. LePage has included funding for four new District Court Judges within the Judicial Branch, seven Investigative Agents in the Department of Public Safety and four Assistant Attorney General positions within the Office of the Attorney General.

    The budget initiative provides Maine with additional resources to combat the State’s growing drug problem. Combined with treatment and recovery, funding for these critical positions is also needed to stem the increased threat to public safety and to the health of Mainers.

Audio here (video being uploaded) of the press conference.

The following data was handed out by Maine Public Safety Commissioner John Morris to media.

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AFA/ HHS Public Hearing LePage FY 2016/17 Biennial Budget, Day 3 (VIDEOS)- Methadone, Mental Health

Posted on March 8, 2015. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Democrats responded via press release:

    The governor’s plan to make deep cuts in mental health services puts at-risk vulnerable Mainers by reducing the availability of vital services, increasing wait lists and pushing them toward crisis, according to testimony at public hearings before the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee.

    The governor’s proposed state budget would impose 10 percent across-the-board cuts in Medicaid behavioral and mental health services. The governor’s budget would also deal cuts of about 60 percent to some providers in the area of medication management, services now provided by psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses to ensure that patients are complying with their regimens and not in danger of potentially dangerous drug complications.

    In his testimony, Tom McAdam, chief executive of Kennebec Behavioral Health, referred to a 1996 tragedy in Waterville in which a severely mentally ill man bludgeoned to death two elderly nuns and left two others severely injured. He described how the case galvanized mental health services in Maine.

    “I think it had a fairly major impact on the entire system. I think that it helped to bring resources into the community-based side. And frankly, many of us that are in the provider community are confused by some of the initiatives in this budget because they kind of run counter to what we thought our role and responsibility (were) as community providers,” McAdam said. “Really, next to housing, for people to be successful med management – access to med management – is important. And we already have an access issue, and that really is especially true for the kids.”

    Democrats reaffirmed their commitment to a budget that protects the most vulnerable Mainers.

    “The governor’s cuts would shred our safety net. They would have devastating effects on some of our most vulnerable Mainers – those grappling with severe mental illness – as well as their families and communities. Slashing mental health services to this extent has grave implications for public health and public safety in Maine. It’s beyond irresponsible to play games with people’s lives and public safety like this. The governor has presented us with a series of false choices. We do not need to pit one group against another,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, House chair of the budget-writing committee.

    “The facts presented today over hours of testimony show that we must protect mental health services. These drastic cuts would prevent Mainers with mental illness from getting needed care and push them toward crisis. Providing sufficient services is not only compassionate, it makes economic sense. Severely mentally ill people who cannot access the services they need often wind up in emergency rooms or in jail, much more expensive and traumatic experiences that can be avoided,” said Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, a member of the budget-writing committee.

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MPW’s Top 14 of 2014

Posted on December 31, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Well, it’s that time again- the annual review! MPW had 9000 page views in 2014, with almost 3000 in July alone and 2100 visitors that month. January was the quietest month with 480 visitors clicking 760 times. Easily the most popular video was this one dubbed “The Speech” of now former Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) at the Maine Democratic Convention, which has had almost 20k views:

“I’m running because of income inequality, poverty, unfairness, corporate greed and political cowardice. I’ve known these things my entire life. And I have watched them wreck communities and tear people’s lives and their families apart. And during those cold nights in that small shack along the river, I never would’ve thought that one day I’d have the opportunity to do something about it. And if I am lucky enough to pull this off, I damn sure intend to.”

And now “The List”:

1. JUNE: (UPDATED) Breaking: LePage Met “Multiple Times” with FBI Known Domestic Terrorist Group, Discussed Executing Democratic Leaders 

paul janetBefore even hitting “send” on this draft write-up, there have been new developments of note (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”), as LePage has this evening called the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News- twice– and has either claimed:

  • That this all didn’t happen/ portions of it happened.
  • There was no five page memo/ well, maybe there was/ well, okay, there WAS a five page memo regarding the legality of arresting and executing members of Democratic leadership.
  • He was going to sue both the BDN and Mike Tipping for the story.

2. (MAY) Paul LePage and Gary Alexander: A Timeline

 A bit of quick bGary Alexander and associate Erik Randolph exit Maine HHS Committee hearing, 1/14/14.ackground on this post. While Mainers knew that Tea Party Maine Governor Paul LePage, who won election in 2010 with 38% of the vote, was virulently anti-ACA and fought hard against multiple attempts to expand Medicaid in our state (to date, five bills have been vetoed and then sustained by the GOP in the Legislature), many did not know to what extent the LePage Administration worked or what steps lead to where we found ourselves last week as news of the #LePlagiarism scandal first broke. Thus it became necessary to piece together all of the to the administration (LePage in 2011 first offered him the DHHS posit various known elements and create this timeline, illustrating who Gary Alexander is and how he became knownion that eventually went to Mary Mayhew), as well as the various actions taken by the Governor and his staff.

A year ago, most in Maine had no idea never heard of Gary Alexander. That is no longer the case, as now federal authorities are now looking into the matter.

3. AUGUST: (UPDATED) Maine Sovereign Citizens, er, “Constitutional Coalition” Send “Courtesy Notice” to ALL Maine Lobbyists

Oh my- looks like Paul LePage’s buddies have “GONE ROGUE”.

Check it out all you lobbying kiddos; you have ALL. BEEN SERVED.

First the blast email (thankfully their CAPLOCK ISSUE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT FIXED) that Aroostook Watchmen radio host Jack McCarthy [or whomever posted, using the name “Jack McCarthy”] mailed out, late this afternoon- to every single registered Maine lobbyist.

Protip: Someone wanna tell Ole Jack [or whomever posted, using the name “Jack McCarthy”] what a “bcc” is? Thanks awfully!

100_0295

    Attention Kind Maine Lobbyists:

Be it known by these presents, the attached pdf file, titled “COURTESY NOTICE”, which details are self explanatory but specifically …

Government Charters Cancelled: (Refer: DECLARATION OF FACTS: UCC Doc # 2012127914 Nov 28 2012)

“…That any and all CHARTERS, inclusive of The United States Federal Government, UNITED STATES, “STATE of …”,

Inclusive of any and all abbreviations, idem sonans, or other legal, financial or managerial forms, any and all international equivalents, inclusive of any and all OFFICES, inclusive of any and all OFFICERS, PUBLIC SERVANTS, EXECUTIVE ORDERS, TREATIES, CONSTITUTIONS, MEMBERSHIP, ACTS, and any and all other contracts and agreements made thereunder and thereby, are now, void, worthless, or otherwise cancelled, unrebutted; …”

You have been served,

All Persons Foreign and Domestic

4. JULY: (UPDATED) “Arrest for Treason/ Execution” Docs Released, Proving LePage Lied to BDN, Re: Sovereign Citizens Talks

A review of last night’s two phone calls by Maine Republican Governor Paul LePage to the managing editor of the Bangor Daily News (“LePage denies he discussed ‘executing’ Maine Democratic leaders”).

The first call:

lepage sots angry self

“I was never in the room where ‘execute’ was used,” the governor said in a phone call to the BDN managing editor.

“It never happened,” he said later in the call. “We did not discuss execution, arrest or hanging.”

When told that the audio of the show was included on Tipping’s blog, LePage said he wanted to see the tapes.

“None of this stuff ever happened,” he said again. He said he talked with the group about the U.S. and Maine constitutions. Further, he said, he disagreed with much of what the men said.

“I listened and listened and listened,” LePage said. “Some points they were making were reasonable and some were off-the-wall.”

The second call by LePage:

In a second phone call to the BDN, LePage said he didn’t know about a Freedom of Access Act request that Tipping had filed to secure details of his meetings because “no one told me about it.”

He said he didn’t stop meeting with the Sovereign Citizens after the FOAA request was filed, as Tipping contends, but stopped meeting with them “because they were not listening.”

“They got mad and called me all kinds of names,” he said.

LePage said the group called again Monday to meet with him after Tipping’s blog post, but he said “no way.”

5. (AUGUST): Governor LePage, er, “Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald” on “Elusive Central American Children” Goes Off On Both Dems & The Rails

OccGovernor Paul LePage sits at Governor James G. Blaine's Congressional desk (10/12/13).asionally it is always nice to read some of the smaller and more locally focused publications around the state, such as the Auburn based Twin City Times, to see what folks are supposedly saying.

“Twin City Times” just happens to be edited and published by Maine Governor Paul LePage’s communications director Peter Steele. Make note of that fact, because it’s kinda important.

One can get a real feel for the sentiments locally of what is happening in Augusta by checking these papers out, especially if that region’s elected officials take to their keyboards and submit opinion pieces of note for their constituents’ consideration.

But when the governor’s own head press guy is editing, then publishing the articles himself, there is the nagging feeling that possibly Paul LePage said it himself.

This rings especially true in light of recent revelations that according to Mike Tipping’s “As Maine Went”, LePage in January 2010 created the pseudonym “ForThePeople” as to be able to post anonymously and write a series of posts to sway voters and help himself in that year’s Republican primary.

So there is a very VERY strong perception here that “Lewiston Mayor Bob Macdonald” is in reality a really badly hidden sockpuppet version of Maine Governor Paul LePage. While it makes sense, it is also a rather strange twist, considering in the past it was LePage who was reported to be the “puppet”.

6. JUNE: UPDATED: #MEGOV LePage Skips NE Governors’ Regional Opioid Abuse Summit; Dismisses as “Chit Chat”

Earlier this month, Governor LePage issued a statement on the then newly released 2013 drug-induced Governor Paul LePage takes a question from NBC national correspondent Kate Snow during "war on drugs" press conference.death statistics in Maine, which read in part:

“Our Administration is focusing on the fact that Maine is subject to ever-increasing numbers of out-of-state drug trafficking organizations establishing drug markets in the state. This disturbing trend tears at the very fabric of our communities and puts our children at risk.

As I have said in the past, we must be proactive in combating drug dealers and target our limited resources to better protect our communities.

I think we all agree we also need to find more effective and efficient ways to treat addicts and provide them options that lead to successful long-term outcomes. In fact, the State has increased substance abuse funding in recent years from $7 million to more than $9 million. However, until we are able to curb the amount of drugs coming into our state, we will likely see the number of drug-induced deaths continue to rise.”

So with that in mind, it was quite startling to learn that LePage intended to skip a private meeting of all New England governors held at Waltham MA’s Brandeis University today with the goal of regionally addressing opiate abuse, sharing information and developing strategies.

7. (FEBRUARY): BREAKING: Feds Find LePage, MDOL Officials Intervened in Unemployment Hearings (UPDATED X 9, W/ Timeline)

Reaction from Maine AFL-CIO President Don Berry:

“The federal government has confirmed what we knew to be true, that the Governor was wrong to interfere in the unemployment insurance process by asking hearing officers to rule more often in favor of employers. This is another message from Governor LePage to struggling Maine workers that he is not on their side. When you lose your job, times are very tough. Workers need to know they have a fair process to seek the support that they deserve. Instead of kicking them when they are down, we need a Governor who will support laid-off workers getting back on their feet.”

Legislative Democrats and their allies were quick to condemn the LePage administration, with Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash, a longtime LePage rival and Democratic candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District seat, calling for his impeachment.

Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, who chairs the Legislature’s Labor Committee, said the Department of Labor’s findings came as little surprise.

“This is a good thing because everyone in Maine knows the governor uses the bully pulpit to express his feelings about his political views and politics,” said Patrick. “After this, I wonder how you can trust the governor to move forward fairly and in an unbiased way. The citizens of Maine expect that whether it’s a Democrat, a Republican or a Green, that we are fair to our businesses and employees.”

Jackson was less guarded in his response.

“I think he should be impeached,” said Jackson of LePage. “The governor thinks he should be the next [Wisconsin Gov.] Scott Walker, but he should be thinking about being the next [impeached and jailed Illinois Gov.] Rod Blagojevich.”

 

8. FEBRUARY: BREAKING: Governor LePage Reneges on $100M Jobs Bonds; Bounces $59M State of Maine Check

bounced check

In an email to State Treasurer Neria Douglass, Governor Paul LePage reneged and cancelled his authorization of nearly $100 million in bond monies for projects across Maine.

Douglass shared the message with the state’s budget writing committee on Thursday afternoon during a previously scheduled briefing on the state’s debt service or interest for the bonds.

“Governor LePage has broken a $59 million contract with businesses and workers across Maine. The line has been crossed when the governor’s emotional volatility starts hurting Maine’s economy and Maine’s workers,” said Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “I am concerned for the businesses and projects that have started their work and now hear that the governor has changed his mind.”

According to Douglass, per the directive from Governor LePage, she has already issued $59 million in funding from the state’s cash pool to help fund key projects in the administration’s work plan. These projects were approved and signed off on by Governor LePage and his department officials on July 31, 2013.

“The Treasurer raised serious concerns about the message the Governor is sending to credit agencies and businesses. He’s broken his word,” said Assistant House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe from Skowhegan. “Worse, he’s playing games with critical investments in construction projects like roads and bridges that will help Maine’s economy.”

9. MARCH: ME Sen. Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487: Expansion a “Malignant Cancer of Dependency”

Senator Rodney Whittemore (R-Somerset) on LD 1487, “An Act To Implement Managed Care in the MaineCare Program”, gave a rather provocative floor speech yesterday, in which he compared the proposed bill sponsored by fellow GOP Senators Assistant Majority leader Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) and Tom Saviello (R-Franklin) to a “road of hopelessness” and a “malignant cancer of dependency”.

10. (APRIL) 2nd CD Democratic Candidates Troy Jackson, Emily Cain Answer Questions at Lewiston Forum (VIDEOS)

Androscoggin County Democrats hosted a candidate forum at the L/A USM campus for the open Second Congressional District seat, vacated by Rep. Mike Michaud who is now running for Governor.Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson answers questions of USM L/A student Jihan Omar on the needs of immigrants.

Conducted by former Rep. Elaine Makas, the two primary challengers Troy Jackson and Emily Cain were asked questions on a number of topics. While the pair were on similar pages on many of the topics, their styles in approaching their answers appeared to contrast this race most for the large audience in attendance.

“Troy reminds me a little more of myself,” said Jimmy McHugh, a retired boilermaker from Mexico. “I love to hear someone like him talk about the struggles I’ve had to go through. He’s a regular guy, like me.”

11. FEBRUARY: UPDATED: Eliot Cutler Confuses “Independent” With “Passive Aggressive” In Attacks Against Non-Supporters

And then we have this one- an Independent (a REAL one, not the old “just like Maine!” tired old chestnut from 2010 or member of the Tea Party, but a real honest-to-gosh, old-fashioned Maine Independent like we USED to know) who-

Wait for it-

Issued an endorsement of Mike (Nov 6).

And then had the sheer audacity, as a currently serving member of the 126th Maine Legislature, to have the samepublished as an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News!

Some excerpts of Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos‘ share:

evangelos“As the only independent in the Maine House of Representatives who does not caucus with either party, I am pleased to announce that I am supporting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor. I plan on campaigning for Michaud during the 2014 election season.

Mike Michaud will make a terrific governor of our state. He has the two characteristics that are sorely lacking in the current administration in Augusta: humility and common sense. He’s a good listener, thoughtful and respectful. It will be such a breath of fresh air when Michaud is elected as our next governor.

Why am I throwing my support to Michaud rather than fellow independent Eliot Cutler? Cutler’s successes have come on the wrong side of the economy at the expense of common people. His relationship as a director of a bankrupt mortgage company, Thornburg Mortgage, whose former top executives are facing allegations of fraud, and his employment and association with the Dallas-based international consultancy Akin Gump, where outsourcing jobs to China is part of the mission, disqualifies Cutler as a person who can lead Maine out of this serious recession Maine people are experiencing.

Contrast this with Michaud, a paper mill worker who understands what it means to keep and develop good paying jobs in Maine.”

Cutler 2010 campaign garbage, image courtesy of perrenial dumpster divers "As Maine Goes".

Well! As one can imagine, that last must have caused Cutler to practically fly to his desk, shove everything to the ground and fire off his own crushing rebuttal (“Eliot Cutler: Focus on real issues, not recycled 2010 garbage”), also published in the BDN.

12. JULY: (UPDATED) Paul LePage and Sovereign Citizens “Maine Constitutional Coalition”: A Timeline

13. FEBRUARY: UPDATED x2: Maine House Votes Down Controversial Religious Discrimination Bill LD 1428, 89-52

Rep. Andrew McLean (D-Gorham) addresses colleagues during LD 1428 debate.

12:45pm UPDATE: House just voted 89-52 to accept the Judicial Committee “ONTP” (Ought Not to Pass) recommendation moments ago, 89-52.

This was the final vote on LD 1428; it is now dead.

Roll call vote shows 5 GOP members broke with their party to join Democrats: Reps. Beaulieu of Auburn, Campbell of Orrington, Libby of Waterboro, MacDonald of Old Orchard Beach and Maker of Calais. 2 House Democrats voted for the bill: Rep. Stan Short (D-Pittsfield) and Steve Stanley (D-Medway).

Over 2 dozen rose to speak on the measure in a lengthy floor debate. Some quotes:

Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland):“Please vote to end the war on gay people in our state.”

Rep. Justin Chenette (D-Saco): “Religious freedom is important, but this bill makes me feel like a second-class citizen… Name me an issue in Maine — I still haven’t heard one. There isn’t an issue. This is a bill searching for a problem, rather than solving one. This wastes taxpayer money… It’s fiscally responsible to oppose it.”

UPDATE #2 (1:45pm): Maine House Democrats issued a press release with more quotes from legislators:

“This is not a bill about religious freedom; it will only create religious discrimination,”said Rep. Charles Priest of Brunswick, who chairs the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee. “Maine’s law and constitution has strong protections for religious freedom. This bill is not necessary.”

“This fight will continue across the country. Many states still do not have a human rights law that covers sexual orientation. But in Maine our voters have settled this, ” said Rep. Matt Moonen of Portland, during the floor debate.

14. ICYMI/UPDATED: Is LePage’s “Outrage” A Politicized Continuation of Ongoing General Assistance/ Immigrant Battle?

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UPDATED: #MEGOV LePage Skips NE Governors’ Regional Opioid Abuse Summit; Dismisses as “Chit Chat”

Posted on June 17, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , |

(5pm UPDATE) Despite earlier today acknowledging the futility of such a move, moments ago Governor LePage’s office issued a statement calling on Democrats to reconvene and pass his “war on drugs” bill:

Governor LePage takes media questions on LD 1811 during March 2014 press conference.

Governor LePage takes media questions on LD 1811 during March 2014 press conference.

    “Drug trafficking by ruthless, out-of-state street gangs is on the rise, but Democrats are still pretending Maine does not have a problem with violent drug crime. Organized drug gangs are flooding the state with cheap heroin, but Democrats remain obstinate. They refuse to provide the manpower law enforcement agencies need to prevent these criminals from addicting Mainers with this killer drug.”

    “We even identified funding to add MDEA agents, judges and prosecutors to help combat the drug epidemic that is ravaging our state. That money is still sitting there. I could call the legislature back to take up my bill, but Democratic leaders could simply recess immediately and go home. I cannot force them to do something they are not willing to do.”

    “Democratic leadership stated they won’t call the legislature back unless there is an ‘extraordinary occasion.’ They don’t think that deaths from drug overdoses, babies born addicted to drugs and violent street gangs peddling poison on our street corners amount to an ‘extraordinary occasion.’ But Maine people do.”

More via BDN:

    Lawmakers had attempted to revise the bill to make it more politically palatable, but LePage signaled he would veto anything but his original proposal and a bipartisan panel of legislators unanimously moved to kill the bill.

    Democratic leaders in the Legislature have said they will not bring lawmakers back to Augusta until the next session begins in 2015. While LePage has the constitutional authority to call lawmakers back into session, he said Tuesday that it would be pointless. Lawmakers, if they chose, could simply recess immediately upon being called back to Augusta, he said.

—–

Earlier this month, Governor LePage issued a statement on the then newly released 2013 drug-induced death statistics in Maine, which read in part:

Governor Paul LePage takes a question from NBC national correspondent Kate Snow during "war on drugs" press conference.

Governor Paul LePage takes a question from NBC national correspondent Kate Snow during “war on drugs” press conference.

    “Our Administration is focusing on the fact that Maine is subject to ever-increasing numbers of out-of-state drug trafficking organizations establishing drug markets in the state. This disturbing trend tears at the very fabric of our communities and puts our children at risk.

    As I have said in the past, we must be proactive in combating drug dealers and target our limited resources to better protect our communities.

    I think we all agree we also need to find more effective and efficient ways to treat addicts and provide them options that lead to successful long-term outcomes. In fact, the State has increased substance abuse funding in recent years from $7 million to more than $9 million. However, until we are able to curb the amount of drugs coming into our state, we will likely see the number of drug-induced deaths continue to rise.”

So with that in mind, it was quite startling to learn that LePage intended to skip a private meeting of all New England governors held at Waltham MA’s Brandeis University today with the goal of regionally addressing opiate abuse, sharing information and developing strategies. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick had previously unveiled his plan to deal with opiate abuse as he called for the summit:

    Patrick said he planned to meet with his counterparts from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine next week to discuss ways they could collaborate to reduce opiate abuse in New England.

    Representatives for Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy, Vermont’s Peter Shumlin and New Hampshire’s Maggie Hassan confirmed the governors would attend next week’s summit. A spokeswoman for Maine’s Paul LePage, the sole Republican governor in the region, said he would not attend due to a prior commitment.

Today Maine learned what that “prior commitment” was- a photo op in Augusta:

    Crime is down according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Division at the Maine Department of Public Safety. Governor Paul R. LePage and Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Morris will release details at a news conference Tuesday.

    Governor LePage credits the overall decline to a variety of factors, including more coordination between law enforcement, the courts, prosecutors and domestic violence advocates.

    “Maine is one of the safest states in the country. We can all be proud of that,” said the Governor. “Our police departments across Maine deserve to be recognized for the work they do. However, while we have good news to report, we still have issues to address. There are some disturbing trends we have identified, which we cannot ignore. Protecting the public’s safety is the greatest responsibility of government.”

However at today’s press conference, LePage wasted no time in pointing fingers at the other five governors for his no-show:

    A spokeswoman for Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he did not attend because of a scheduling conflict but wanted to be kept apprised of details. LePage later complained, however, that as the only Republican governor in New England his point of view might not be heard.

    So rather than listen to chit-chat, I’m here trying to get the work done,” LePage said during a news conference on crime statistics in Maine.

The governor’s office even tweeted the message:

Reuters noted LePage’s past opposition expanding access to naloxone, saying that it could encourage addicts to avoid treatment:

A reminder: At the original press conference where he stood with multiple administration and state law officials, Paul LePage also went on record as calling marijuana a “gateway drug”.

*RELATED: (UPDATED X3) Maine Gov Paul LePage To Reintroduce LD 1811, War On Drugs Bill, As Emergency Measure On Veto Day (May 1)

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