This weekend at the Maine Republican convention, Paul LePage and his campaign are going to put on a show filled with lies. You’ll hear election misinformation, accusations that Democrats are cartoon villains and baseless smears about Gov. Janet Mills. But perhaps the most ridiculous and least credible lie that they’ll push is that Maine was better off when LePage was in the Blaine House.

While some Republicans may feel nostalgia for the LePage era, Mainers do not. That’s because LePage’s eight-year tenure as governor was filled with catastrophic failures on the issues Maine people care about most – failures that we have not forgotten.

We have not forgotten how LePage’s failures put our health at risk. For eight years, LePage blocked our state from expanding Medicaid, vetoing it five times against the will of Maine voters and ultimately preventing 90,000 people from accessing health coverage. He fought tooth and nail against requiring insurance companies to cover preventive care and cancer screening, and forfeited federal funds to support mental health services in the state. He also decimated our public health system, refusing to fill dozens of public health nurse vacancies. During his tenure, Maine dropped from the eighth-healthiest state in the nation to 16th, and the state saw a jump in the percentage of people who avoided accessing health care because of high costs.

Mainers also will not forget LePage’s failure to lead our economy. Under LePage, Maine struggled to recover from the Great Recession, ranking 49th in job growth as measured by the percentage of jobs recovered from the previous recession and still had one of the “slowest growing economies” in the country by 2016. Even as the job market languished, LePage did little to help Maine workers get by, fighting efforts to expand job training programs and raise wages. He also needlessly forfeited close to $2 billion in federal resources, which estimates said would have helped create 4,800 jobs annually. These failures are why the Bangor Daily News editorial board referred to LePage’s tenure as “eight years of economic stagnation.”

Of course, LePage’s failures were not limited to health care and the economy.

He proposed cutting millions from public education funding and was dubbed an “enemy of public education” by the Press Herald editorial board after he repeatedly attacked Maine teachers.


He did little to protect Maine’s environment, vetoing a wide range of attempts to combat the climate crisis, while simultaneously launching an “assault” on Maine’s environmental protections and encouraging offshore drilling.

And as the state was ravaged by the opioid crisis, he stubbornly fought efforts to make life-saving overdose prevention drugs widely available, putting Maine lives in danger.

In 2018, tired after eight years of LePage’s failures, Maine voters sent Gov. Mills to the Blaine House to fix the problems her predecessor left behind. On issue after issue, Gov. Mills has delivered. While LePage obstructed health care access, she expanded it for more than 90,000 Mainers and rebuilt our public health system – leading one of the strongest COVID responses in the nation. While LePage left Maine floundering years after the Great Recession, under Gov. Mills, Maine’s economic recovery from the pandemic has been an example even Republicans are pointing to as a success. And while LePage failed to fully fund education and did little to stop the climate and opioid crises from devastating our state, Gov. Mills has made record investments in all three.

No matter what lies and smears are spun this weekend in Augusta, Republicans cannot change the reality, which is that Paul LePage’s tenure in office was an abject failure on issue after issue. After being elected to clean up the mess LePage left behind, Gov. Mills did just that. Now that she has steered Maine onto a path for a brighter future, we cannot afford to turn back.

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