Friday, March 7, 2014
Curtains up: Gov. Paul LePage will deliver his State of the State address Tuesday at 7 p.m..
Adrienne Bennett, the governor's spokeswoman, has declined to reveal any details of the speech except to say that the governor will likely hit some issues he's been discussing the last several months -- preserving the tax cut package passed in 2011, lowering energy costs and paying down the hospital debt.
Bennett did say that the governor will unveil some new initiatives, too.
The governor's speech last year was about 45-minutes long. Bennett told the Maine Public Broadcasting Network, which is live-streaming the event, that this year's address will be about the same duration.
Speaker speaks: House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, will release video remarks ahead of LePage's address on Tuesday.
Expect Eves to offer a few contrasts to Gov. Paul LePage's recent rhetoric on energy, schools and health care. He'll also talk up the need for state leaders to market the state's strengths.
The latter is a consistent theme among Democratic leaders, who have been trying to draw a distinction between what they view as their message of optimism and LePage's persistent negative tone.
Update - Here's the video:
So why was everyone except Fredette so hush-hush that the meeting was imminent?
Just a theory, but keeping the meeting quiet seems like a logical part of the agreementt between the governor's office and Democratic leaders, who were apparently on strict orders not to publicize -- code for spin -- it. That could be why neither side pushed the usual press releases after the confab quietly concluded Monday afternoon.
There's also a trust element here. LePage's staff suspected that staffers for Senate President Justin Alfond tipped off the media when the Portland senator offered to break bread with the governor and the First Lady. Keeping the meeting under wraps may have been a test.
Additionally, the governor could be seen as giving in a bit if he meets with Democrats. At last check, the Maine Democratic Party hasn't called off its tracker, whose filming of LePage at events is the reason the governor gave for canceling a scheduled meeting with Democratic leaders in December.
Without a doubt: Is it time to dispense with the notion that LePage won't seek re-election in 2014? Maybe.
His campaign committee has been in high gear lately, as has his outside political advisor/campaign consultant Brent Littlefield. And then there's the news that the Maine Republican Party has brought in the head of LePage's political organization.
LePage's campaign committee on Tuesday launched a 750-word broadside against former Gov. John Baldacci. Baldacci has said that he's considering a run for the Blaine House, but he has not made it official. In fact, he's said he would not run if the party drafts a top tier candidate.
The campaign letter to supporters dispenses with that ambiguity, saying Baldacci has "made an announcement." The vague proclamation, plus the ensuing urgent warning against Baldacci's return, ends with an appeal for donations.
Non-political item: Lance Armstrong and Peter La Fleur during happier times.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.