Two of the three leading candidates for governor are expected to participate in candidate forums Tuesday in Augusta hosted by Maine’s agricultural community.
Independent Eliot Cutler and Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud have confirmed their plans to attend, while Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s campaign said he could not because of a scheduling conflict. The Agricultural Council of Maine wants to hear from each candidate about ways to overcome roadblocks to agricultural businesses, including burdensome regulations, streamlining state offices and public-private partnerships.
The group – composed of more than 30 agriculture associations, commodity groups and businesses, representing about 10,000 people – is also looking for candidate stances on biotechnology and ways to strengthen Maine dairy farms, which are struggling to compete with out-of-state forces.
The forums were scheduled back in February, according to Linda Titus, an administrative assistant for the Agricultural Council of Maine.
LePage canceled his appearance on Friday afternoon, citing a scheduling conflict, but will meet privately with the council on Tuesday morning, Titus said. LePage campaign spokesman Alex Willette said the governor would respond to a questionnaire the group sent out in late July. Cutler is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. Tuesday, while Michaud is scheduled for 3 p.m. The sessions will take place at the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s headquarters, 205 Churchill Road, Augusta. The afternoon sessions are free and open to the public.