Monday April 23, 2012 | 08:43 AM

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.



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Open Season is your guide to the 2014 campaign. Our team of political writers has its sights set on Maine’s major elections, from the Blaine House to the U.S. Capitol.

Steve Mistler is covering the 2014 governor's race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.
Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or
On Twitter: @stevemistler

Eric Russell is covering Independent Eliot Cutler during the 2014 governor's race. He is a general assignment reporter for the Portland Press Herald.
Eric can be reached at 791-6344 or
On Twitter: @pphericrussell

Matt Byrne is covering Republican Paul LePage during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Falmouth, Cumberland, North Yarmouth, Yarmouth and Freeport for the Portland Press Herald.
Matt can be reached at 791-6303 or
On Twitter: @mattbyrnePPH

Randy Billings is covering Democrat Mike Michaud during the 2014 governor's race. He covers Portland City Hall for the Portland Press Herald.
Randy can be reached at 791-6346 or
On Twitter: @randybillings

Kevin Miller is covering Maine's U.S. Senate race and 1st Congressional District race. He covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or
On Twitter: @kevinmillerdc

Michael Shepherd is covering Maine's 2nd Congressional District race. He is a news and State House reporter for the Kennebec Journal.
Michael can be reached at 621-5632 or
On Twitter: @mikeshepherdME

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