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In Maine, A National Embarrassment Declares Futile Reelection Bid

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WASHINGTON, DC—Democratic Governors Association Executive Director Colm O’Comartun today issued the following statement regarding Paul LePage’s formal announcement that he’ll seek reelection in 2014:
“For three long years, Paul LePage has embarrassed the people of Maine with his outlandish antics and offensive remarks. To make matters worse, he’s pursued a radical Tea Party agenda that rewards the wealthiest at the expense of the middle class and critical investments in education. It’s time that Maine has a governor who will focus on creating jobs, improving schools, expanding access to health care, and protecting our environment. Mike Michaud will be that governor, and the people of Maine will finally have someone in Blaine House they can be proud of.”

BACKGROUND:
 
Embarrassing Maine
 
LePage Reported as Saying President Obama “Hates White People.” The Portland Press Herald reported, “Gov. Paul LePage told a group of Republicans last week that President Obama ‘hates white people,’ according to two state lawmakers who say they heard the remark directly. The governor made the comment during a Maine Republican Party fundraiser on Aug. 12… The lawmakers, both Republicans, confirmed the comment when asked by a Portland Press Herald reporter but asked that their names be withheld for fear of political retribution.” [Portland Press Herald, 8/20/13]
 
LePage Called Independent Lawmakers “Idiots.” LePage said “You guys, you’re idiots and you’re just as bad if not worse than those other guys,” in January 2013 when “comparing independent lawmakers to Democrats during a meeting with three independent legislators on alternate approaches to balancing the state budget.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
 
2012: LePage Called the Maine Press Liars. LePage said “The press. Reading newspapers in the state of Maine is like paying somebody to tell you lies,” in March 2012 “to a student who asked him what he didn’t like about his job during his appearance as keynote speaker at a Career Conversations event at Waterville Junior High School.” [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
 
LePage Compared Health Reform Law to Holocaust. In 2012 the New York Times noted that LePage “compared the health care reform law to the Holocaust” yet “signed a budget bill in May that will reduce or eliminate existing Medicaid coverage for 21,000 people.” [New York Times, 7/18/12]
 
·       Likened the IRS to the Gestapo. “‘We the people have been told there is no choice,’ LePage said, referring to the individual mandate portion of the [health care reform] law. ‘You must buy health insurance or pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.’” [Bangor Daily News, 7/9/12]
 
·       Editorial: Comment Embarrasses Maine. “It’s not unusual for Gov. Paul LePage to say something offensive off-the-cuff. But what’s disturbing about his most recent blunder, calling the Internal Revenue Service ‘the new Gestapo,’ is that it wasn’t a slip-up. He purposefully put the language into his Saturday radio address after it was drafted… comparing the IRS to Nazi Germany’s secret police force is both reprehensible and inaccurate… the Gestapo comment was planned insensitivity. It did nothing to further real debate about the Affordable Care Act and brought embarrassment to the state.” [Bangor Daily News, 7/9/12]
 
LePage Ordered Administration to not Talk to Maine Press. In June 2013 LePage ordered his administration to stop speaking to the Portland Press Herald, Kennebec Journal and Waterville Sentinel. [Bangor Daily News, 3/30/13]
 
HEADLINE: LePage says he’d like to blow up Press Herald. “Gov. Paul LePage made his dislike of the Portland Press Herald abundantly clear Friday while sitting in a fighter jet simulator: He said from the cockpit that he would like to blow up the newspaper’s building.” [Portland Press Herald, 8/9/13]
 
LePage Said 47% of Able-Bodied Mainers “Don’t Work.” Bangor Daily News’ Mike Tipping reported on a recording of Governor LePage: “’About 47% of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don’t work,’ said LePage. On the recording you can hear a member of the audience ask ‘what?’ LePage repeats himself: ‘About 47%. It’s really bad.’” [Bangor Daily News Tipping Point Blog, 10/22/13]
 
History of Supporting Tax Cuts for the Wealthy Over Middle Class and Education
 
2011: LePage Proposed Tax Cuts for Top Earners. “Gov. Paul LePage defended his tax cut proposals… a tax proposal endorsed by the governor that would, among other things, lower Maine’s top income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 7.95 percent and double the “death tax” exemption on estates from $1 million to $2 million.” [Bangor Daily News, 5/20/11]
 
Editorial: LePage emails show education loses to tax cuts. The Kennebec Journal wrote of emails released between LePage and his education commissioner, “In the exchange… it’s clear that last spring LePage was interested in slashing the state’s school budget by $200 million to $300 million. This number is significant because it is about the size of the tax cuts that LePage and the Republican-controlled Legislature passed in 2011, but will build a hole in the budget for years to come… Even from an economic growth perspective, however, cutting schools is the wrong way to make it happen.” [Kennebec Journal editorial,10/1/13]
 
HEADLINE: LePage agency recommends $9.5 million cut in education funding. “Gov. Paul LePage’s government efficiency agency is recommending a $9.5 million cut in education funding in order to balance the state’s current two-year budget… the office said it could not find enough administrative savings within the Department of Education. Therefore, it was recommending the $9.5 million reduction in General Purpose Aid, which is distributed to public school districts… In the most recent legislative session, the Legislature added funding for education above what LePage originally proposed in his budget.” [Press Herald, 10/2/13]
 
LePage Suggested Different Tax Structure Key to More Millionaires. Bangor Daily News’ Mike Tipping reported on a recording of Governor LePage: “‘25 years ago Maine had about 2,000 millionaires. Maine has 400 now. New Hampshire at the time had about 500, right now they have 4,000. That’s the difference. That’s when you talk about prosperity and you talk about building an economy those are the things that you need to concern yourself with. So, I am looking at taxation as a big issue,’ said LePage.” [Bangor Daily News Tipping Point Blog, 10/18/13]
 
 
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