Saturday, March 8, 2014
No sooner has the dust settled from his comments likening the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo and the Holocaust, Gov. Paul LePage has brought on criticism this week for declaring that students from Maine are "looked down upon" wherever they go in the country. Following a now familiar pattern, he backed up this eyebrow raising assertion -- meant to support his education reforms -- with a falsehood, in this case that the College of William & Mary requires Maine applicants to take additional tests.
What with the previous ruckuses over (literally) telling the NAACP to kiss his butt and the president to "go to Hell", the removal of a "brainwashing" mural depicting Maine's labor history from a waiting room of the Department of Labor, and his convention speech directing welfare recipients to get off their couches and get a job, many Mainers may by now have wondered what is driving their chief executive.
Curious about that myself, I started work a year ago on what turned into a five-month project researching the governor's intriguing, unusual, and revealing life story.
The result -- created with the help of a grant from the Fund for investigative Journalism -- was this two-part series that ran in the Portland Phoenix earlier this year, before I joined the staff of the Press Herald. It details his rise from childhood abuse and homelessness to successful businessman to governor of his native state and the experiences along the way that appear to have shaped his personality and world view.
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