December 7, 2012

Maine Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, and Gov. Paul LePage

Hoping to break gridlock, Alfond invites LePage to dinner

By John Richardson
Staff Writer

Maine Senate President Justin Alfond, D-Portland, has an idea for breaking the ice with Gov. Paul LePage: Break a little bread first.

Alfond sent LePage a handwritten note Thursday inviting the governor and his wife, Ann, to dinner with Alfond and his wife, Rachael, "at a place of your choosing."

Alfond's office provided the note in response to a request for public documents from the Portland Press Herald.

The invitation followed LePage's cancellation Tuesday of a meeting with incoming Democratic leaders in the Legislature, including Alfond. The meeting was intended to be an initial discussion of issues facing the new Legislature.

LePage said he would not meet with the Democrats until the party called off a "tracker" hired by the Maine Democratic Party to videotape LePage's comments at public events.

LePage repeated his criticism of Democrats on Wednesday before leading newly elected lawmakers in the oath of office.

Alfond, who was elected and sworn in as Senate president Wednesday, said in his acceptance speech that he hopes to work with LePage and disappoint people who are "spoiling for a fight."

He made a similar appeal for cooperation in his note Thursday to LePage.

"As I said in my speech yesterday, I believe we have an opportunity to disappoint the naysayers out there who believe lawmakers get stuck in gridlock. I have full confidence, Governor, that you and I can find areas of common ground, personally and for the benefits of Mainers across the state," Alfond wrote.

A spokeswoman for LePage could not be reached for an immediate response.

While LePage criticized the Democratic Party for his "personal paparazzi," he also said Wednesday that he is willing to work with all legislators and that politics should not get in the way of the people's business.

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