Tuesday April 23, 2013 | 09:57 AM

WASHINGTON – Maine Gov. Paul LePage will be among three governors representing “enterprising states” next week during a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event in Washington, DC.

LePage will appear next Monday alongside Republican Govs. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania during a panel on job creation and economic growth at the U.S. Chamber’s 9th Annual Small Business Summit.

According to a press release from the Chamber, the trio will highlight “successful policies and programs that encourage entrepreneurship and small business growth in their states, and what is needed to generate jobs and accelerate economic growth.”

The event will coincide with the release of the Chamber’s annual “Enterprising States” report, which highlights economic policies across the country that the powerful business groups deems innovative or effective and ranks states in a variety of measures.

The Chamber has yet to release the 2013 version of its “Enterprising States” report, although it would seem a safe assumption that LePage’s inclusion on the panel means Maine performed well in one area or another.

Maine did not crack the Top 10 in any of the 2012 report’s rankings but placed in the top half of the states in seven categories, including broadband availability and tax environment for new firms. And LePage has been in a seemingly nonstop dispute with Democrats and other critics over who bears more blame for Maine's less-than-robust economic recovery in recent years.

All three Republican governors were first elected in 2010 with strong support from the Tea Party, and all three are on the ballot again next year. Walker is the best known of the three due, in large part, to his high-profile showdown with labor unions and liberals over collective bargaining for public sector employees. He subsequently survived a 2012 recall election thanks to his strong support – both in Wisconsin and nationally – among conservatives.

Earlier this month, LePage told a group of Skowhegan-area business leaders that the 2014 campaign would bring “the most vicious education campaign ads that you’ve ever seen in your life because I am going to be the next Scott Walker in this country because I am challenging the status quo,” according to a surreptitious recording of the event obtained by blogger Mike Tipping.

 

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Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
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