Tuesday, March 11, 2014
It's going to be a long 2014 gubernatorial campaign.
Exhibit A: The Cobscook Bay barricade.
So you may have read that the feds at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently installed wooden sawhorses at the Cobscook Bay State Park to discourage about two dozen fishermen from accessing a boat ramp. The park is located within the federal Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. As part of the government shutdown, the federal government closed the entrance to Cobscook even though it's managed by the state.
Gov. Paul LePage has blasted the feds for closing the park, and more recently blocking the boat ramp, saying it prevented fishermen from reaching the ocean. On Tuesday the governor announced that he was traveling to Cobscook to support the fishermen there.
LePage versus the federal government, helping local fishermen? It's a winning photo-op. (Digression: It's tempting to envision the governor channeling one of his idols, President Ronald Reagan, and the famous 1987 speech in front of the Berlin Wall. Or better yet, affixing a brush guard to the governor's black Chevy Tahoe and ramming through the wooden barricade; windows down, stereo blaring "Ride of the Valkyries.").
Unfortunately for LePage, his Democratic challenger in 2014, U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, put out a statement Wednesday that would indicate there's no need for the governor to travel to Cobscook. Michaud, in a press statement, said he's been assured that the feds won't prohibit public access to the boat launch.
So, LePage's trip is canceled, right? Nope.
LePage is still going. And here's what he said about Michaud's statement.
“Mr. Michaud is not the president and he does not direct this federal department. The questions are then: Why is Mr. Michaud announcing policy and why did it take my announcement of a visit for him to take action?”
Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.