Friday, April 18, 2014
Gov. Paul LePage used his weekly radio address Saturday to defend a series of vetoes on bills that may have upset some of his supporters in the libertarian wing of the Republican party, including a proposal to allow the sale of raw milk and another regulating law enforcement's use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones.
But Brent Littlefield, the governor's political adviser and re-election campaign consultant, sent an email Saturday morning drawing attention to the last paragraph of the radio address.
"My signing and allowing 518 bills to become law, as well as the Democrats joining me in my effort to pay our hospitals back, is an indication we can work—and need to work—together in the future. We can only move Maine forward if we work together."
It would seem that Littlefield's efforts to promote this paragraph is more than an attempt to defend the governor's number of vetoes this session, a statistic that LePage says was sensationalized by the media, but is the most of any governor in modern history.
Does this mean the governor will play the role of compromise agent in the second leg of the legislative session? If so, that raises questions about why, especially since LePage and the Democratic-led Legislature appeared to relish the combat this past session.
Maybe Littlefield's internal polling are showing disenchantment among respondents for the bickering between LePage and Democrats last session. If that's true, then one wonders if Democratic polls will compel the legislative majority to do the same.
What say the Democrats?
Here's the response to the governor's remarks from House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick:
"Governor LePage was an unwilling partner at every turn," Eves said in a statement. "His failure to compromise and collaborate with lawmakers hurt the people of Maine and our economy."
Eves highlighted the governor's unwillingness to compromise on the expansion of Medicaid, which would have increased publicly funded health care to over 60,000 Mainers and retained coverage for another 15,000, including 2,700 veterans.
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.