AUGUSTA — In his final year as governor, Republican Paul LePage has reflected often on what he has and has not done.

This week, he told the Associated Press, “Of the things I’ve campaigned on, I would say I’m the only governor that’s ever done what he said he’s going to do.”

Not surprisingly, some would disagree, including at times the governor himself. But even some of his foes acknowledge there is some truth to the claim.

Democrat Diane Russell, a former state representative who hopes to succeed LePage, said the governor “has achieved much of what he campaigned on – and that’s the problem.”

Few would argue that LePage has not tried to cut taxes, restore fiscal stability, reduce regulation and generally pare the size and scope of state government. He has done better in some areas than others.

As recently as December, LePage said he “tried so hard” on some key issues – energy, taxes and regulation – but fell short of what he wanted to do.


Sen. Eric Brakey, an Auburn Republican who is running for the U.S. Senate, said LePage “has provided for Maine what is sadly so often lacking in elected official across the country: straight talk and principled leadership.”

“Even his detractors concede that he is man of his word,” Brakey said. “He stands in rare company, and I am proud to call him a friend.”

But others say LePage’s words are just part of the picture.

“Like most politicians, Gov. LePage tends to pick and choose facts carefully. No one knows what many of our past governors have promised, nor what they have succeeded in delivering, so no one can fact check the governor on that,” said L. Sandy Maisel, a government professor at Colby College in Waterville.

Besides, Maisel said, no governor can “do on a whim all that he would like.”

That said, “no one should be surprised by some of the directions he has taken. He promised a socially conservative, pro-business, anti-those-with-needs-that-the-state-is-serving administration, and he has delivered that,” Maisel said.


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Adam Cote said the governor has not delivered on all of his promises.

“The fundamental promise Gov. LePage made repeatedly to Maine people was, ‘I am a job creator who knows how to grow Maine’s economy.’ ” Cote said. “All personality points aside, the fundamental fact, seven-plus years later, is he has not gotten the job done.

“Maine lags New England and the country when it comes to job, income and economic growth. And rural Maine has been hit the hardest.”

Sen. Mark Dion, a Portland Democrat running for governor, said LePage’s claims that he is the only governor to accomplish what he promised does not stand up to scrutiny.

“As governor, Paul LePage has not kept his word, and has often done the opposite of his own stated goals,” Dion said.

Dion cited LePage issuing bonds that he once challenged, and not delivering on a repeated pledge to oversee “the most-transparent” administration in Maine’s history.


“He routinely denies public information to legislative committees, and refuses to let his commissioners meet with lawmakers to discuss their budget requests,” Dion said. “The people’s representatives don’t have access to the basic information needed to do their jobs.”

Betsy Sweet, another Democrat running for LePage’s job, said that “for the things that the governor believes he has accomplished, he has done so by tearing at the very fabric of democracy,” and eroding the faith people have in democracy.

“He has insisted that it be his way or the highway, and has done so by name-calling, overturning the will of the voters, refusing to allow his commissioners to participate in the democratic process and berating the Legislature,” Sweet said.

Garrett Murch, communications and political director for the Maine Republican Party said LePage has done what he said he’d do.

“Many people don’t like our governor and take cheap shots at him, but that doesn’t change the plain fact he didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk,” Murch said. “Whether it was reforming welfare to spend limited resources on those in need, defending the Second Amendment, reducing Mainers’ tax burdens or eliminating harmful government regulations, Gov. LePage fought hard for the policy platform he ran on and, amazingly, he achieved much of it, even as some of it was obstructed by Democrats.”

“In modern Maine history, which governors have delivered more on their campaign promises?”


Promises kept or not, LePage has not done his job, many Democrats say.

Sweet said that LePage will not talk “about the things he didn’t campaign on,” such as leaving Maine with “increased child poverty and hunger, a stalled economy with the lowest growth rate in New England and more people uninsured than before.”

Russell agreed, saying: “While he’s been busy pushing Mainers into poverty, I’ve been building a cannabis economy that’s created hundreds of new jobs, and working to change the election system to put power back into the hands of the people.

“But, yeah, congratulations to LePage on his legacy of bankrupting the economy.”

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