Gov. LePage’s latest outrage – threatening to withhold state funds for the school that had ignored his vicious letter of opposition to Speaker Mark Eves’ appointment as new president – demonstrates his disdain for fundamental democratic principles and common decency.

Whether his threat constitutes an impeachable or criminal offense will now be the subject of much discussion. Almost lost in this debate, however, is the libelous content of the letter Mr. LePage sent to Good Will-Hinckley. Among other things, he described Speaker Eves’ leadership, negotiation and reconciliation skills as “sadly deficient.”

He wrote that the speaker has not been “an honest broker” with him. Without evidence, he asserted that the appointment was a result of political patronage.

As a legislator who has worked with Speaker Eves for three years, I can categorically state that I have never met a man with more integrity. He is honest, kind and fair almost to a fault.

When it appeared that negotiations over the budget were deadlocked, he joined the other three legislative leaders in crafting a budget that garnered the support of a supermajority of the Senate and House.

He and the others labored for nearly two solid weeks, virtually locked in a room until a compromise emerged. Would the House and Senate have adopted this if they believed he had not been an honest broker? Does this show deficient conflict resolution skills?

At all stages of the talks, he kept our caucus informed of the proposed content, as I am sure the other leaders did with their caucuses. Indeed, I doubt that any Republican legislator would disagree with my assessment of Speaker Eves as one of the finest public servants Maine has seen.

Janice Cooper

Democrat state representative