AUGUSTA – Gov.-elect Paul LePage introduced a three-person transition team Friday to help him staff his administration.

John Butera, executive director of the Central Maine Growth Council, Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, and Ann Robinson, a partner in the Preti Flaherty law firm, will lead the transition, LePage said during a news conference at the State House.

He also said that John McGough of Brunswick will be his chief of staff, and that he will endorse Bruce Poliquin, one of his rivals in the Republican gubernatorial primary, to be the state treasurer.

“We have one mission, and that mission is to make Maine more prosperous and get it out of the cellar,” LePage said. “I’m not the magic man. I don’t have all the answers. But we are going out on the street and we are going to find them.”

Butera will focus on outreach to businesses and economic development, Bragdon will take the lead on budget matters, and Robinson will head regulatory reform and other policy matters, Bragdon said.

LePage said the role of his transition team, particularly Butera, will be to talk to business owners, trade groups and workers to pinpoint Maine’s problems and find workable solutions.

“We want to talk to the agricultural people, we want to talk to the fishermen, we want to talk to the forest people. We want to see what are the issues we can attack firsthand and find common ground with the Democratic Party, so that we can find resolutions so that we can prosper,” LePage said.

The team announced by Le-Page has plenty of experience in government and the private sector.

Butera, who lives in Waterville, was director of business development in the Department of Economic and Community Development for Gov. Angus King from 1998 to 2002. He is now a member of the Economic Development Council of Maine and the International Economic Development Council, and is incoming president of the Northeast Economic Developers Association.

LePage said Butera helped Waterville create economic development that recently produced about 750 new jobs.

Bragdon served two terms in the Maine House, from 1996 to 2000, representing part of Bangor. He was a special assistant to Republican Senate President Richard Bennett in 2001 and 2002.

As the leader of the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative think tank, he has written reports on reforming Maine’s welfare system and how to reduce government spending.

Bragdon, who lives in the town of China, said he is on paid leave from his job until about Christmas. LePage said he doesn’t expect that Bragdon will serve in his administration, but they have not discussed it.

Robinson, who has been active in the Maine Republican Party since 1984, was the chair of this year’s Maine Republican State Convention.

She was appointed by the Bush administration to serve as the public interest director of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston from 2003 to 2005, and was appointed by Gov. John McKernan to the Maine Human Rights Commission, serving from 1992 to 1995.

Robinson, who lives in Portland, is also a counsel for the Maine Republican Party.

LePage also announced that McGough, who was a campaign aide, will be his chief of staff.

LePage’s campaign chief of staff, John Morris, will serve as transition director, and his campaign consultant, Brent Littlefield, will be a senior political adviser.

McGough has been on unpaid leave for the past three months from his job as South Portland’s director of human resources and manager of general assistance.

He was Waterville’s assistant city administrator from 2000 to 2004, which is when he met LePage, who was a city councilor.

Morris, who lives in Waterville, is a former Waterville police chief and a retired Navy captain.

Littlefield, who started with the LePage campaign before the primary, said he splits his time between the Washington, D.C., area and Maine. He will be a political consultant for LePage, but will not participate in the governing process.

In endorsing Poliquin for state treasurer, LePage said his background in finance and economics makes him qualified.

The Legislature is responsible for selecting the state’s four constitutional officers: treasurer, auditor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Charlie Summers, a former state senator who ran two years ago for Maine’s 1st Congressional District seat, is a candidate for secretary of state.

William Schneider, a former state representative and now assistant U.S. attorney, and outgoing state Sen. Douglas Smith, R-Dover-Foxcroft, are interested in the attorney general’s post.

The transition to a new administration will be the most transparent in Maine’s history, LePage said Friday.

“We will publicly disclose all contributions and expenditures associated with our transition,” he said, adding that he is launching a website, lepagetransition.com, where Mainers can go to learn about the process.

He also said that people who are interested in serving in his administration should send their resumes to the web address.

“We are looking for the best and the brightest,” he said. “We are looking at a lot of people and they are from all walks of life and different political parties. And I assure you, there will be people from the other side of the aisle.”

Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, who wants to lead the House Democratic caucus, said, “We are interested in working with the other side of the aisle. We have always had a cordial relationship in the past, though we didn’t always agree on policy.”

But another Democrat who aspires to floor leadership, Rep. Emily Cain of Orono, questioned the appointment of Bragdon, saying he “has spent the last few years pushing a right-wing agenda and his appointment is inconsistent with the governor-elect’s stated interest in ‘people before politics.”‘

LePage said his goal is to announce some Cabinet appointments by Christmas, and most appointments by inauguration day in January.

 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: [email protected]