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“Just Ask Me To Leave, You Don’t Have To Impeach Me”: LePage Receives Plenty Of Letters Asking For His Resignation

Last summer, with the possibility of impeachment hanging over his head, Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) appeared on a radio show and said he’s prepared to give up his office – under the right conditions.

“If the people of Maine want me, I’ll do the job,” the Republican governor said. “If they don’t want me, just ask me to leave, you don’t have to impeach me.” LePage added that in his state of 1.3 million people, a grand total of four Mainers wrote to him, urging him to resign.

And that gave those of us here at The Rachel Maddow Show an idea. In fact, we filed a Freedom of Information Act request, asking the governor’s office how many other letters he may have received. Rachel explained on the show what happened next:

“We finally got the letters and a couple people did write to him. So, now, we know why it took so long. And this is just the letters, it turns out, that came in, in the first month, after Paul LePage asked for letters from the people from the state of Maine to tell him if they wanted him to resign.

“By our count, more than 1,800 people in Maine, just in that first month, did actually take the time to write to him and ask him to resign. Just in the first month after he asked. We don’t even have the letters that came in after the first month. This is just what came in, in that first month.

“And it’s interesting. Going through them, they are heartfelt letters, polite letters. There are a few rude letters. There’s a lot of hand-written letters. Most of them, though, are very short and polite and to the point.”

If you watch the segment, note the very large piles of paper – all of which show the letters LePage received in the first month after issuing the challenge.

All of which raises the question of what, exactly, the threshold might be for the governor. He told his constituents, “[J]ust ask me to leave.” Quite a few of them did.

How many letters would it take for LePage to follow through? We’re not sure, but if we find out, I’ll let you know.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, July 1, 2016

July 2, 2016 Posted by | Impeachment, Maine, Paul LePage | , , , , | Leave a comment

“Anecdotes With Made-Up Details”: Maine’s LePage Fails To Defend The Indefensible

It was the sort of story that made Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) look so awful, he managed to even surprise his critics. In mid-April, the far-right governor vetoed a bipartisan bill that would have allowed pharmacists to dispense an effective anti-overdose drug without a prescription. But it was LePage’s explanation that added insult to injury.

“Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose,” LePage said in a written statement. As we discussed at the time, the governor, in a rather literal sense, made the case that those struggling with opioid addiction don’t have lives worth saving.

Maine’s legislature soon after overrode LePage’s veto, but the governor recently hosted a town-hall meeting at which he defended his position. The Bangor Daily News reported:

“A junior at Deering High School had three Narcan shots in one week. And after the third one, he got up and went to class. He didn’t go to the hospital. He didn’t get checked out. He was so used to it. He just came out of it and went to class,” LePage said.

That’s quite an anecdote, which the Republican governor appears to have completely made up.

The Huffington Post reported yesterday that the principal at Deering High School described LePage’s story as “absolutely not true,” adding that the anecdote doesn’t even make sense – because Narcan isn’t available at the school.

On Monday, the governor again insisted the story was accurate, and pointed to Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck as someone who could verify the incident.

Soon after, Sauschuck also said every relevant detail of LePage’s story is wrong.

Circling back to our previous coverage, Naloxone – sometimes known by its brand name, Narcan – is a safe and effective life-saving treatment that counteracts overdoses. The point is not to cure someone of an addiction, but rather, to prevent them from dying.

The treatment is inexpensive; it’s easy to administer; and it’s harmless to others. Common sense suggests it should be readily available, especially in areas where the addiction crisis is especially acute.

LePage, however, said he’s principally concerned with not “perpetuating the cycle of addiction.” If that means more of his constituents will overdose and die, so be it.

And if defending this posture lead Maine’s Tea Party governor to share anecdotes with made-up details, apparently that’s all right, too.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 25, 2016

May 26, 2016 Posted by | Drug Addiction, Maine, Paul LePage | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Dated And Bizarre Attitudes”: Maine’s LePage; ‘That’s Like Giving My Wife My Checkbook’

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is already facing an abuse-of-power scandal that may lead to his impeachment, which might lead a typical governor to take steps to bolster his or her statewide support.

But there’s nothing about the far-right Mainer that’s typical.

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) compared public campaign financing [last week] to handing his checkbook over to his wife to spend money, reported website and podcast mainebeacon.com.

 An initiative on the November ballot in Maine would allow candidates who were being far outspent by their opponents to “re-qualify for additional public financing,” according to the report.

At a town-hall gathering, LePage added, in reference to public financing, “That’s like giving my wife my checkbook. I’m telling you, it’s giving your wife your checkbook. Go spend.”

The comments were captured on video and were not well received.

“The governor’s attitude toward women, toward relationships and toward money are so dated as to be bizarre,” Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women’s Lobby, said.

Making matters just a little worse, LePage also announced last week that he’s appointed a creationist to serve as Maine’s acting commissioner of the Department of Education.

[Dr. William Beardsley, the former president of Bangor-based Husson University] expressed unequivocal support for teaching creationism during his unsuccessful 2010 bid to become the Republican nominee for governor.

According to The Bangor Daily News, Beardsley articulated his position in response to a simple debate question from Maine Public Broadcasting’s Jennifer Rooks.

“Do you believe in creationism, and do you think it should be taught in Maine public schools?” she asked candidates. “I would teach creationism,” Beardsley replied.

Because LePage appointed Beardsley as an acting commissioner, Beardsley bypasses the legislature’s confirmation process. He can serve for six months, at which point the governor would have to either formally nominate him or appoint someone else.

The editorial page of the Portland Press Herald responded, LePage gets to put a buddy in charge of one of the most important departments of state government, and Beardsley doesn’t even have to sit in front of a legislative committee to answer a lot of stupid questions, like ‘What did you mean in 2010 when you said that you would teach ‘creationism’ in public school?’”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, October 27, 2015

October 28, 2015 Posted by | Maine, Paul LePage, Public Campaign Financing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Paul ‘Rage LePage’, You Don’t Have To Impeach Me”: GOP Governor To Voters; ‘Just Ask Me To Leave’

Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R), among his many other legislative problems, is facing the possibility of impeachment as part of an abuse-of-power scandal. In an unexpected twist, the Tea Party governor has said impeachment may be unnecessary – because he’s willing to resign from office.

If you missed last night’s show, the Bangor Daily News reported this week on a LePage interview from July 30, in which he suggested he’ll step down if Mainers personally ask him to.

When LePage was asked if he’s worried about an impeachment proceeding, he responded:

“If the people of Maine want me, I’ll do the job. If they don’t want me, just ask me to leave. You don’t have to impeach me…. So far, I’ve only got four people write me that wanted me to resign.”

We know of a retired librarian in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, who wrote to his governor, asking LePage to step down. The note was not well received – LePage wrote back personally, saying, “Not going to happen.”

But might it happen? In that radio interview, the governor made it sound as if resignation is on the table – if enough Mainers write to the governor’s office, asking him to step down, he’d actually consider it.

Hmm.

As Rachel added, “For the record, the governor has never really explained whether he was serious about his offer to resign if he got enough letters asking him to. He also hasn’t said how many people, exactly, would have to ask him resign in order for him to actually do it. He also hasn’t said how many Mainers so far have taken him up on his offer now that he said that’s what it will take.

“We did ask his office about those things today. When we hear back, we will let you know but I suggest you don’t wait up.”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, August 21, 2015

August 24, 2015 Posted by | Maine, Paul LePage, Tea Party | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

   

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