Every week, I look forward to writing about all the great things that are happening in Maine right now, most of it propelled by people who love the state and the people who live here.

I want to write about the thousands of volunteers in Maine who are running sports programs for kids, bringing the arts to wider audiences, safeguarding the environment, building new small businesses, rebuilding communities or helping the less fortunate among us.

I want to write about the extraordinary events happening this month to gather innovators and entrepreneurs together. Things like Startup & Create Week, led by Jess Knox and Don Gooding, who are together building an entrepreneurial culture in Maine. Or Friday’s summit at Bowdoin College, Maine’s Economy and Climate Change, organized by over 30 business and environmental groups working together for a brighter future.

But every week, it seems, that good work is overshadowed by yet another bout of temporary insanity from our governor. This week, Gov. LePage once again did something that I’ve never seen from any governor in Maine. He vetoed 10 bills, most of which had been passed with overwhelming support by both parties in the Legislature. The reason? They were all bills sponsored by Democrats.

That, folks, is partisanship run amok, and it is doing great damage not only to the LePage agenda – some of which I agree with – but to the state as a whole.

But that was only one incident this week. At a time when legislators are struggling to find common ground on a new budget, and to avoid a state government shutdown, LePage found the time to attack  Republicans and Democrats alike who dared disagree with his approach. He also had enough time to write a letter to the Good Will-Hinckley School board, urging them not to hire House Speaker Mark Eves as the school’s new president.


In that letter, the governor made some of the most astonishing arguments against Eves, claiming that the Democratic speaker wasn’t good at “conflict resolution, leadership, negotiation and reconciliation.” All skills that LePage lacks. Isn’t this the same guy who, in a recent speech, said that Eves should go back to California (where he was born) and Senate Minority Leader Justin Alfond (another Democrat) should be sent to a playpen?

This governor, by any measure, is the most divisive and inflexible Maine chief executive in our lifetimes, whose visceral hatred of Democrats – and, for that matter, anyone who disagrees with him – both consume and isolate him.

What he did in that letter goes beyond the pot calling the kettle black. It revealed a lack of any self-awareness. Re-election seems to have taken LePage’s worst instincts – to bully, to centralize power to himself and to punish those who disagree with him – and made them worse.

All of his actions, taken together, raise legitimate questions about whether this governor is losing his grip.

We’re not the only ones noticing. Last week, the editorial board of The Boston Globe wrote a scathing editorial titled “Paul LePage, Maine’s intemperate governor.”

The Globe reminded us that during his re-election campaign, LePage promised that his boorish and embarrassing behavior was behind him. Those things all happened in his first two years, he said. “Even a Frenchman” can learn, he added, making thousands of other Maine Franco-Americans cringe.


It turned out that what we saw then was little more than a campaign stage performance that fooled just enough voters to get him re-elected.

Say what you will about Massachusetts or The Boston Globe, but millions of our tourists come from there every year, and having them believe that a crazy guy is running the state doesn’t help.

I love this state, and I respect the thousands of good Republicans who are doing what they can to make Maine a better place. But I’m ashamed of this governor.

Mostly, I’m fed up with the example he’s setting for our kids. In a classroom in southern Maine a few weeks ago, LePage was asked by a young student if he was a bully when he was a kid. Effective and respected governors don’t get those kinds of questions.

If our 10-year-old son were taunting and insulting kids in the way that LePage deals with people, he’d have lots of time in his room to contemplate his behavior. And he’d be reminded that we never bully or threaten people just because they’re different or we have more power than them.

It’s past time for the Legislature – both Democrats and Republicans – to give this governor a timeout.

Alan Caron is a partner in the strategic consulting firm of Caron and Egan. He can be contacted at:


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