June 21, 2013

LePage draws fire for sexual remark

He says a legislator critical of his budget is 'the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.'

By Steve Mistler smistler@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a rally with conservative activists Thursday at the State House in Augusta. After the rally, he verbally attacked Democratic Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash, according to WMTW.

Joe Phelan / Staff Photographer

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Sen. Troy Jackson responds during a news conference to comments that Gov. Paul LePage made about him earlier in the day at the State House in Augusta.

Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal

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Other Democrats blasted the governor.

"We don't condone that on the schoolyard, we don't condone that at the kitchen table and surely we shouldn't condone that from our governor," said Seth Goodall, D-Richmond, the Senate majority leader.

"This sort of outrageous and obscene language has no place in state government," said House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick. "Gov. LePage's language today crosses a new line -- even for him. I would not want my children to hear these vulgar comments from the highest official in our state on the evening news."

LePage is not the first elected official to refer to Vaseline in an off-color remark.

Sen. John Patrick, D-Rumford, made a similar reference during a floor debate on April 27, 2011, on a bill to give a tax credit to paper companies that contract Maine loggers.

"I work in an industry, a large industry, the paper industry, and many times when my company says to me 'trust me' what they are saying is, be ready for the Vaseline because not very good things are going to happen," Patrick said.

Patrick was ruled out of order by Republican Senate President Kevin Raye. Patrick apologized from the Senate floor.

Coincidentally, Patrick made his comment regarding a bill sponsored by Jackson. Not coincidentally, Jackson's job has played into a feisty relationship with the governor that extends beyond party differences.

Jackson has repeatedly proposed legislation designed to curb the hiring of Canadian loggers by paper companies. He has said the practice depresses wages and reduces jobs for Maine loggers.

LePage worked in management for several paper companies before becoming the general manager of Marden's Surplus and Salvage. The governor, along with the Maine Forest Products Council, an influential organization representing the state's paper industry, has fought Jackson's legislative efforts.

Democratic Gov. John Baldacci also vetoed a bill sponsored by Jackson.

On Thursday, Jackson referred to his professional tension with LePage, saying, "He's upper management, I'm working class.

"He's been advocating for foreign loggers to replace people like me," Jackson said.

After Democrats won majorities in the Legislature in 2012, Jackson submitted what many believed was a retaliatory bill that would have taken away LePage's state pension if he didn't win re-election in 2014. The bill was killed in committee.

LePage mentioned the pension bill in his comments to WMTW before referring to Jackson's profession.

"People like Troy Jackson, they ought to go back in the woods and cut trees and let somebody with a brain come down here and do some work," LePage said.

House Minority Leader Ken Fredette, R-Newport, said LePage's comments were not appropriate for "a chief executive."

"The only comment I have is, my father worked in the woods and I have two brothers now making a living working in the woods," Fredette said.

-- Staff Writer Tom Bell contributed to this report.

Steve Mistler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at:

smistler@pressherald.com

Twitter: @stevemistler

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Additional Photos

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Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a rally on Thursday June 20, 2013 in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

click image to enlarge

Gov. Paul LePage speaks during a rally on Thursday June 20, 2013 in the Hall of Flags at the State House in Augusta.

Staff photo by Joe Phelan

 


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