The New Maine Governor

Filed Under (The HELL You Say!) by Susan Cover on 11-07-2011

In case you haven’t heard about this guy before, his name will stick in your mind! The new Maine Governor, Paul Le Page is making New Jersey ‘s Chris Christie look like an enabler. He isn’t afraid to say what he thinks. Judging by the comments, every time he opens his mouth, his popularity goes up.  He brought down the house at his inauguration when he shook his fist toward the media box and said, “You’re on notice! I’ve inherited a financially-troubled State to run. Observe…cover what we do…but don’t whine if I don’t waste time responding to your every whim for your amusement.”

During his campaign for Governor, he was talking to commercial fishermen who are struggling because of federal fisheries rules. They complained that 0bama brought his family to Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park for a long Labor Day holiday and found time to meet with union leaders, but wouldn’t talk to the fishermen. LePage replied, “I’d tell him to go to hell and get out of my State.” The Lame Stream Media crucified LePage, but he jumped 6 points in the pre-election poll.

The Martin Luther King incident was a political sandbag which brought him National exposure. The ‘lame stream’ media crucified him, but word on the street is very positive. The NAACP specifically asked LePage to spend MLK Day visiting black inmates at the Maine State Prison. He told them that he would meet with ALL inmates, regardless of race, if he were to visit the prison. The NAACP then put out a news release claiming falsely that he refused to participate in any MLK events. He read it in the paper for the 1st time the next morning while being driven to an event and went ballistic because none of the reporters had called him for comment before running the NAACP release.

He arrived at that event & said in front of a TV camera, “If they want to play the race card on me they can kiss my ass”, and he reminded them that he has an adopted black son from Jamaica and that he attended the local MLK Breakfast every year that he was mayor of Waterville. (He started his morning there on MLK Day.) He then stated that there’s a right way and a wrong way to meet with the Governor, and he put all special interests on notice that press releases, media leaks, and all demonstrations would prove to be the wrong way. He said any other group which acted like the NAACP could expect to be at the bottom of the Governor’s priority list!

He then did the following, and judging from local radio talk show callers, his popularity increased even more: The State employees union complained because he waited until 3 P.M. before closing State offices and facilities and sending non-emergency personnel home during the last blizzard. The prior Governor would often close offices for the day with just a forecast before the first flakes.

LePage was CEO of the Marden’s chain of discount family bargain retail stores before election as governor.  He noted that State employees getting off work early could still find lots of retail stores open to shop. So, he put the State employees on notice by announcing: “If Marden’s is open, Maine is open!”

He told State employees: “We live in Maine in the winter, for heaven’s sake, and should know how to drive in it. Otherwise, apply for a State job in Florida !”  Governor LePage symbolizes what America needs; Refreshing politicians who aren’t self-serving and who exhibit common sense! Governor-elect Paul LePage walks into the inauguration ceremony Wednesday at the Augusta Civic Center. Gov. Paul LePage gives a thumbs up Wednesday after being sworn in during the inauguration ceremony at the Augusta Civic Center.

Paul Richard LePage, 62, a Republican, took the oaths of office in front of more than 5,000 people at the Augusta Civic Center as his wife held a family Bible. His five children stood behind him as Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, administered the oaths. LePage, the first Republican governor in 16 years, joins a Republican House and Senate as the GOP takes control of the legislative and executive branches of government for the first time since the 1960s. In his inaugural address, LePage emphasized the themes that helped get him elected in November: a pledge to remember taxpayers who support the “bloated establishment in Augusta;” changes to education that include a focus on vocational training; welfare reform; and a friendlier business environment.

Supporters gave LePage a standing ovation and thumped on the bleachers when he mentioned the words “bloated establishment.” The crowd also observed a moment of silence for military families and the 46 soldiers from Maine who have died in American wars over the last seven years.

In particular, LePage mentioned the families of Pfc. Jordan Brochu of Cumberland and Cpl. Andrew Hutchins of New Portland, both of whom died in Afghanistan. LePage drew cheers from the audience when he said welfare benefits should be for “Maine residents,” and got a standing ovation for saying that “only the private sector” creates jobs. The crowd laughed and cheered when he said he didn’t care about newspaper editorials.

The former Waterville mayor, who stepped down from his post only the night before, deviated significantly from his prepared remarks. Speaking without a TelePrompter, he added entire sections, shortened sentences and even encouraged the audience to participate near the end of his remarks.  Early in the speech, while thanking his family for their support during the election, he went off script to talk about a letter one of his daughters gave him just that morning.  “It was very difficult for me to keep my composure,” he said. After thanking his wife, he briefly described the political rise that brought him to power.  “The first week was, who in the hell was this guy?” he said. “Then in January, they said there’s this LePage fellow. By the middle of May it was dark horse. On June 9, they were calling me Secretariat.”  LePage won a seven-way Republican primary in surprisingly strong fashion, capturing 37 percent of the vote. After leading in the polls throughout the fall election, he finished first in a five-way race with 38 percent.

The daytime inaugural — a break with tradition — featured many of the same elements present at past inaugurals. A strong military presence, both visually and musically, and all the formalities of a legislative session, were part of the 90 minute ceremony. Foreign dignitaries from five countries — Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan and Ireland — were all in attendance.

But there were differences, too.

The Maine Steiners, a male a capella group from the University of Maine, sang upbeat popular songs as guests streamed into the civic center. The group, dressed in khaki pants and colorful sweaters, sang a medley of songs by the ’60s-era group Crosby, Stills and Nash during the ceremony.  Also, LePage invited former Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, to attend the ceremony, which is a break from tradition. Normally, the immediate past governor does not attend, but Baldacci sat on stage with former governors Angus King, John McKernan and Joseph Brennan.

Consistent with past inaugurals, Maine’s tribal leaders were given formal recognition, and the Little Eagles Drum Group played a song as part of the ceremony.  Bruce Myrick of Sabattus, who helped raise LePage when he left home at age 11, spoke briefly of his pride at seeing LePage become governor.

“I never thought I’d be standing here today,” he said. “Many of us never know the things we do, big or small, can truly impact others.” The day’s events began at 9 a.m., when the House and Senate met for a session at the Capitol. Tradition calls for a committee of House and Senate members to go to the Blaine House to officially inform the new governor that he has won the election. LePage listened quietly as the legislators read their formal declaration. After shaking hands or hugging the lawmakers, LePage pointed to a painting of Ronald Reagan that was waiting to be hung in the Blaine House.

“Ronald Reagan had a big part of my life, particularly my getting into politics,” he said. About midway through his formal address, LePage said he was anxious to talk about businesses. The former general manager of Marden’s discount stores said it should be simpler for businesses to make money in Maine.

“Profit is not a dirty word,” he said. “In fact, it is the direct and indirect solution to our challenges.”


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