Seeking to capitalize on the emotion stirred by Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to remove a mural depicting labor history from the lobby at the Maine Department of Labor, the Maine AFL-CIO is sending copies of the artwork to be displayed in an exhibition in Rockville, Md.

The labor group will also hold a news conference to mark the event today at Portland Color, a printing company at 14 Industrial Way in Portland. A press release did not specify a time for the event and a call to Ken Eaton, president of Teamsters Local 340, was not returned.

“It was a sad day when our governor, Paul LePage, removed these murals because they weren’t syncing with his ‘pro-business’ vision,” Easton said in the release. “When the opportunity arose for us to transport the murals to the art exhibition space in Maryland, we immediately signed on.”

The Maryland exhibit, to be held at the VIS Arts gallery, will feature other works by Judy Taylor, who painted the original Maine mural.

WHO INVITED YOU?

Sen. Doug Thomas, R-Ripley, reportedly asked the question of U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, who visited Maine last week as part of New England tour, which elicited Salazar’s response, “I invited myself.”

Thomas was at a forum in northern Maine, moderated by Salazar, on the potential for the creation of a national park in the region. Thomas opposes the plan, proposed by Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of Burt’s Bees.

According to those who were there, Thomas introduced himself and several other local officials and inquired who had asked for Salazar’s visit.

“I invited myself,” said Salazar. “Nobody invited me.”

State Sen. Cynthia Dill, a Democrat from Cape Elizabeth, was also spotted at the event. Dill has expressed support for Quimby’s proposal on Twitter and elsewhere.

It’s not clear if Thomas invited her either.

MUSICAL CHAIRS CONTINUES

LePage administered the oath of office to the state’s newest elected representative, Kimberly Monaghan-Deerig, D-Cape Elizabeth, on Friday.

Since she replaced Dill — who moved from the House to the Senate — the election doesn’t change the balance of power in the Maine House. The GOP continues to hold a 78-72-1 majority, although Rep. Fred Wintle, R-Garland, is banned from the State House grounds pending the outcome of his arrest on charges of criminal threatening with a dangerous weapon and carrying a concealed weapon.

Wintle is scheduled to return to court Sept. 13.

In the Senate, Republicans have a 20-14-1 advantage, although Senate District 20 will open up once Sen. David Trahan, R-Waldoboro, steps down.

Trahan, who recently accepted a job as head of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, which requires him to lobby the Legislature, has said he’ll resign his seat sometime this year.

And if Rep. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, runs for the seat as expected, that could create another vacancy in the House.

Elections for all 186 House and Senate seats will be held next November.

CAIN, RAYE WIN AWARD

House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, and Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, were recently named a 2011 “Champion of Small Business” by the National Coalition for Capital.

In a bipartisan effort, Raye sponsored, and Cain co-sponsored, a bill to create the New Market Tax Credit to help small businesses from underprivileged areas in Maine, according to a release from the House Minority Office.

The National Coalition for Capital is a nationwide nonprofit coalition of leaders advancing policies that support economic development and job creation.

MaineToday Media State House Writers Susan Cover and Rebekah Metzler contributed to this report.