Former Maine Gov. Paul LePage may have been forced into an early retirement, but that has not prevented the outspoken Republican from remaining active in state politics.

LePage was term-limited out of office in early January after serving two four-year terms as governor. Janet Mills, a Democrat, won the November election.

“We’re pleased to announce that Maine’s 74th Governor (LePage) will serve as Maine People Before Politics’ Honorary Chair to help us fight for common-sense policies that grow Maine’s economy,” the public policy research organization announced in a tweet Thursday.

Maine People Before Politics, which was founded in 2011 after LePage became governor, also announced in a statement that Michael Hersey will serve as its director of operations and Julie Rabinowitz as its director of policy and communications.

LePage’s longtime political consultant, Brent Littlefield, will serve as the organization’s grassroots and media adviser.

LePage said in a radio interview last week that Maine People Before Politics would act as the “conservative mouthpiece for the Maine people.” He said the organization fell “by the wayside” after his 2014 re-election but was revived this year.

According to its website, Maine People Before Politics is independent, nonprofit and not affiliated with any political party or organization. It does not endorse candidates.

“I will never rest in my work to make Maine prosperous,” LePage said in a statement. “It is important that those who believe in smaller government, freedom, and most importantly a thriving economy have a big tent organization like Maine People Before Politics. We can not return to the failed policies of the past and must fight to ensure the state enacts good public policy.”

As its honorary chairman, LePage will serve in an advisory capacity, as an ex-officio member of the board, and will not be an employee of the organization. Rabinowitz served as LePage’s press secretary and senior policy adviser for defense, veterans and emergency management.

Hersey served in the LePage administration, including stints as director of business development and innovation in the Department of Economic and Community Development. He also worked on Republican Shawn Moody’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign as finance director.

Since the election, LePage, who is living in Florida, has appeared on several radio talk shows, speaking repeatedly about running against Mills in four years if she does not keep government spending under control.

On Thursday, LePage appeared as a guest on conservative radio host Howie Carr’s show. When Carr asked him if this was the beginning of his re-election campaign, LePage replied: “As soon as I get the OK from my wife. She’s holding a shotgun to my head and saying no.”

LePage also appeared Jan. 31 on conservative TV host Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show – “The Ingraham Angle” – during which he spoke about the alleged negative impact that the influx of asylum seekers is having on Portland.

Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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