WATERVILLE – Paul LePage sat at a desk on the second floor of his campaign headquarters on Main Street just before noon on Saturday, cradling a phone against his shoulder and holding a pen over a notepad.

LePage, wearing a red sweatshirt and jeans, had just munched on a chocolate-frosted doughnut and had a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee beside him.

His phone was suddenly connected with thousands of others across the state. The second of three “Tele-Town Halls” had begun.

In the next room over, Brent Littlefield, a political consultant for the LePage campaign, spoke on another line to the thousands of participants, welcoming them to the call and introducing LePage.

“Good morning folks, it’s a pleasure to be here,” LePage said. “Technology is so wonderful. We can reach thousands of people with a simple phone call.”

Littlefield then instructed listeners to push a number if they wanted an opportunity to ask LePage a question directly or make a comment, or they could just listen to the conversation.

Many of the callers, who hailed from Canaan, Bucksport, Madison, Wilton, Jay, Fairfield, New Sharon, Benton, and Searsport, to name a few places, simply thanked LePage and said they would support him.

LePage responded with gratitude. “Thank you so much; I appreciate that.”

LePage chit-chatted with callers, too, and jotted down notes.

“You don’t sound like you’re 70 years old; you sound like you’re 30 years old!” LePage told one woman.

Others asked detailed questions.

LePage talked about analyzing state regulations for their impact on jobs and the economy. One caller mentioned the state’s fishing industry and LePage promised that within a few weeks of taking office, his administration would reach out to fishermen to find out what regulations are hurting them and “go after” those regulations.

The recent Forbes.com list that ranks Maine last in the country for business climate came up a couple times.

“You can only create good jobs if the risk-takers can afford to do business in Maine,” LePage said.

He agreed with another caller about the state’s welfare system. “You’re absolutely correct about helping people who help themselves,” LePage said. “It’s about dignity over dependency.”

Another caller voiced support for Bill Beardsley, who was president of Husson College and ran in the Republican gubernatorial primary, and LePage said “there’s certainly room for Bill” in his administration. “I’m very proud of Bill Beardsley,” LePage said.

LePage also agreed with a caller who said that elderly people were leaving the state because of its high tax burdens.

“You are correct — people are not leaving just because it’s warmer in Florida; people are leaving for New Hampshire, the Midwest,” LePage said, adding that the income tax should be lowered and the state should stop taxing seniors’ retirement pensions. “You hear talk about ‘green jobs.’ This would be more of a green society if the elderly stayed here and spent their retirements here.”

One woman’s comments from earlier in the morning really stood out for LePage.

“She had two kids, and she said, ‘All I want is you to help us so we can stay in our house. I have been here my whole life.’ That was wrenching to hear,” LePage said.

After three rounds of the Tele-Town Hall calls, LePage had been connected to more than 20,000 people, Littlefield said. People who didn’t get to ask questions of LePage directly were able to leave messages, and staff members would call them back afterward to give them answers.

Littlefield said the campaign conducted the mass calls during the primary campaign as well.

Following the Tele-Town Hall calls, LePage had some down-time before starting debate preparation in his office around 3 p.m. Then it was down to Portland to participate in the “Great Debate,” the final debate before the election on Tuesday.

Just before the calls began at noon, LePage was discussing education with his staff when one suggested that LePage create a teachers group to help him figure out the best way to fund education so students benefit the most.

“That’s brilliant; that’s perfect,” LePage said, calling it a “teachers for students” advisory group. “This gives teachers a say right at the governor’s house without the union bosses involved. It’s a great idea.”