Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Gov. Paul LePage will host his next town hall meeting on Thursday at Nokomis Regional High School in Newport, the 15th meeting with the public he's held since becoming governor.
These are fun events for journalists because the governor has no talking points and you never know what someone in the audience is going to ask. The 61 percenters always show up, usually protesting outside the venue before the event. They ask a couple of questions too.
Take for instance what happened in Waldo County last year, when a woman asked the governor why he did not serve in Vietnam.
She asked why he moved to Canada after he finished college at Husson University. He said it was to marry his college sweetheart, not to dodge the draft.
"I did not go to Canada because of the draft," he said. "My lottery number was 342. If you look at the selective service system, in 1969, when I was a sophomore in college, President Richard Nixon changed the draft system to a lottery system. We all got a number based on your birthday."
Or more recently, when someone asked him why he wanted to pull all state funding from the Maine Public Broadcasting Network.
“Why should I pay welfare to a company?” he said. “It’s that simple. I need that money to pay welfare. I need the (money) to make sure some elderly don’t freeze. Quite frankly, ma’am, I think that’s more important.”
In Lewiston earlier this year, in the midst of heated budget negotiations, the governor threatened to close schools if Democrats didn't go along with the budget.
"A lot of Democrats still think we're fooling around and making political hay here," he said. "If I do nothing, on April 1 it's catastrophe for the state of Maine."
There's no telling what he'll say this Thursday (6-7:30 p.m.). We'll be sure to let you know.
Open Season targets all of Maine's political wildlife, from Portland city government to the donkeys, elephants and independents stalking the Statehouse and U.S. Capitol.
John Richardson joined the Press Herald in 1990 after working as a reporter in New Jersey. He has covered a variety of beats, including marine issues, the environment and health care. He is now covering politics and focusing on Maine's U.S. Senate race.
John can be reached at 791-6324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @jrichmaine
Colin Woodard has covered politics and elections for more than two decades, from Bosnia and Bucharest to Washington, D.C., Augusta, and Portland City Hall. He has written for a wide range of national and international publications and is the author of four books, including "American Nations," a history of North America's regional cultures. He joined the Portland Press Herald at the end of April and covers political finance and lobbying, among other things.
Colin can be reached at 791-6317 or email@example.com
Susan Cover has covered Maine politics for 10 years and worked in Kansas, Ohio and Rhode Island as a reporter. This year, she is focusing on covering the same-sex marriage debate for MaineToday Media.
Susan can be reached at 621-5643 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Shepherd joined MaineToday Media in May 2012 after graduating from the University of Maine in Orono, where he edited The Maine Campus, the student newspaper there. Until November he'll be writing the Truth Test, a recurring feature analyzing political statements and advertising.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or email@example.com