Maine Can’t Afford Four More Years of Governor LePage

In 2010, politics and government in Maine changed dramatically. The Mayor of Waterville and General Manager of Marden’s, Paul LePage, rode a wave of Tea Party energy and anger to win first the Republican Primary and then the General Election for governor of Maine.

LePage won with only 38% of the vote, but that was enough in a three-way race where Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell and independent Eliot Cutler split the more-moderate vote.

The results of LePage’s governorship are obvious. He has rolled back environmental and labor protections, cut vital programs for the poor and the elderly, denied health care coverage, cut funding for education, gave huge new tax breaks to the wealthy, and has allowed corporate interests to run his administration and dictate his policies.

That’s not to mention the fact that he has been a national embarrassment for our state, constantly spouting extreme and offensive rhetoric while damaging the reputation of Maine’s students, businesses and workers.

Under LePage, Maine has also seen one of the slowest job growth rates in all fifty states. The same is true of personal income. While the rest of the country is recovering from the Great Recession, Maine is lagging behind, thanks to LePage’s regressive policies.

Another three-way race in 2014 can’t be allowed to return Paul LePage to office. That’s why MPA Campaign Vote! endorsed Congressman Mike Michaud early and why MPA members will be working hard to make sure he’s the state’s next governor.

MPA can make a real difference in this race. In a recent article, the Bangor Daily News noted that one of the major reasons “why November’s election isn’t shaping up to be a repeat of 2010” is grassroots organizing by MPA members:

“Motivated to oust LePage, progressive groups such as the Maine People’s Alliance can unleash scores of volunteers to go door-to-door in a ‘ground game’ that will give Michaud an advantage Mitchell lacked, especially in the 1st Congressional District, where voters are less familiar with him,” wrote reporter Christopher Cousins. “A strategy will be to convince Mainers turned off by LePage that they should vote for Michaud rather than sitting out the election.”

Making sure Mainers of all backgrounds become involved in the democratic process and make it out to the polls is a core organizational goal. That’s why MPA has already begun working to identify and register unlikely voters. Canvass teams based in Portland, Bangor and Lewiston are already going door to door every night.

It’s also important that progressive and moderate voters vote strategically and don’t split their votes, allowing LePage to win again with a minority of the vote. Current polls show Michaud slightly ahead of LePage and Cutler far behind with very little support, but if he gains voters at Michaud’s expense, LePage could be the beneficiary

Now’s the time to organize, for MPA members and supporters to talk to their neighbors and friends about the election and make sure they know the issues at stake. The next governor may decide whether Maine saves lives by accepting federal health care funds, whether the state finally fully invests in education, and if the minimum wage is raised in order to benefit tens of thousands of Mainers living in poverty and our economy as a whole.

This election will decide whether Maine sees four more years of obscene outbursts, extreme policies and the scapegoating of those who are least able to defend themselves, or whether Maine becomes more prosperous, inclusive and fair.

To become involved in MPA’s election- related activities, contact your local MPA organizer. Grassroots volunteers are what will make the difference and, hopefully, end the governorship of Paul LePage.