Dear America: Maine here. Please forgive us – we made a terrible mistake. We managed to elect and re-elect a governor who is unfit for high office.

He has a gruff exterior and blunt way of talking that some of us find refreshing, but he has shown again and again that he governs by grudge, and uses his power to beat up on people who cannot fight back.

You probably heard about the latest episode. He was asked about the toxic racial environment that he created in the state with insensitive statements about people of color. The questioner, an entrepreneur from New York, wondered how he could ever bring a business here.

This should have been an easy one for the governor: Maine is a state where more people hit retirement age than graduate from high school, and our traditional industries are shedding jobs. We desperately need new businesses and young people – of all races – who would be willing to move here to work.

The question was an opportunity for the governor to undo some of the damage that he has caused by giving members of minority groups around the country the impression that Maine is a white state where no one else is welcome.

Instead, the governor repeated one of his worst libels: That Maine’s drug crisis is the fault of black and brown transient thugs who come here not only to sell their poison but also to take advantage of “white Maine women.” It’s a matter of fact that heroin comes to Maine from other states – they don’t produce it here – but the governor is adamant about identifying the drug runners by race, leaving it to his audience to fill in the blanks of why that might matter.


This was not a slip of the tongue. He has said the same thing before, denied saying it, and then said it again before the latest incident. This time, he offered it as proof that the racial divide in Maine was not his fault – that it was the fault of black and Hispanic criminals that he keeps track of in a three-ring binder on his desk.

LePage knows that his words are widely understood to mean that he thinks that the color of their skin makes some people more likely to commit crimes. Rather than clarify or withdraw those statements, he repeats them.

We wish we could say that he is the only one in the state who feels that way. When LePage makes these comments, some of our fellow Mainers applaud him for defying what they consider to be oppressive political correctness.

But as a famous Mainer once said: “Rejecting the conventions of political correctness is different from showing complete disregard for common decency.”

Those words were written by Sen. Susan Collins in her denouncement of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. Like Trump, LePage is a repeat offender.

It would be nice to think that Le-Page would reflect on what he says and learn from these incidents, but he appears to be completely incapable of change. He will probably blame the media again for any embarrassment he suffers, but everyone has heard the tape and knows what the governor said.

On the bright side, America, Le- Page isn’t going to be governor forever, and when his successor takes office in 2019, Mainers of all political parties will have to work together to fix the damage he has done to our reputation. We hope that this person will be a leader who will welcome people of all races to live in Maine, and invest in our wonderful state.

Until then, please accept our apology. We’ll try not to do it again.

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