FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 11, 2016
Maine Green Independent Party calls for LePage impeachment
AUGUSTA – The Maine Green Independent Party yesterday called for the impeachment of Gov. Paul LePage. The party’s state committee voted unanimously to urge the House of Representatives to impeach him.
“Since taking office in 2011,” said Party Co-chair Gilbert Harris, “Le Page’s tenure has been marked by slurs and morally questionable statements about individuals in office and about whole groups of people and he has taken actions that are unconstitutional, arguably criminal, and reflect badly on the people of Maine, the state as a whole, and the governor’s office itself.”
Most notable of Gov. LePage’s actions is a threat he made in June, 2015, to withhold state assets to Good Will-Hinckley, a school for at-risk youth in Fairfield. According to several media reports, LePage intimidated members of the school’s board of directors to void the employment contract of Speaker of the House Mark Eves (D–North Berwick and South Berwick), or else the school would lose state funds.
“There has been a history of incidents and violations of public trust that reveal his lack of ability to continue as Maine’s chief executive officer,” said Patricia Jackson, the party’s other co-chair.
Gov. LePage has withheld authorizing $11.5 million in bonds for land conservation, which were approved by voters in referendums in 2010 and 2012, insisting that the Legislature must first pass bills unrelated to the bonds. LePage recently agreed to release $2.2 million of the voter-approved bonds, but only after House Democrats threatened to consider bills to censure or impeach the governor.
Gov. LePage has also allegedly used political pressure to achieve the resignations of the president of the World Acadian Congress in 2013 and president of the Maine Community College System in 2015. The governor has also restricted the ability of government staff to inform elected officials.
“By refusing to allow cabinet and administration members to testify before the Legislature, he withheld information needed by officials who were elected by the citizens of Maine to do the job we sent them to Augusta to do,” Jackson said. “Our governor exerted pressure on members of the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation to favor employers in their decision-making process.”
In March, 2015, Gov. LePage requested the Maine Human Rights Commission to postpone a decision against a particular business, and when they refused to grant this special consideration, he threatened to withhold state assets. LePage then made an executive order to create a panel to investigate the commission, in violation of a requirement that public notice of such action be made.
“If Gov. LePage is allowed to continue in office, we can expect more malfeasance to be added to this list,” Harris said. “It is for this reason that the Maine Green Independent Party supports efforts in the Legislature to impeach the governor. The State of Maine has been subject to his governance-by-bullying for far too long. We deserve a governor that proudly represents the State of Maine, not one that has become the embarrassing butt of late night talk show comedy routines.”
In addition to these actions, which state representatives are now questioning as abuses of power and causes for impeachment, Gov. LePage has a record of making inflammatory remarks that make national headlines. Among these statements, LePage has said of the NAACP, “Tell them to kiss my butt.” The governor dismissed concerns over BPA, a common additive to plastics, saying, “So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”
While running for office in 2010, Gov. LePage told a group of fishermen that if he were elected, he would tell President Barack Obama to “go to Hell.” In 2013, two Republican lawmakers told media sources that LePage said at a fundraiser that Obama “hates white people.”
In March, 2012, LePage called Sen. Justin Alfond (D–Portland) a “little spoiled brat,” and in June, 2013, said Sen. Troy Jackson (D–Aroostook County) “give(s) it to the people without vaseline.”
Most recenty, the governor said at a town hall meeting in Bridgton, that out-of-state drug dealers will come to Maine to sell drugs and “impregnate a young white girl before they leave.” LePage described the drug dealers as having names that would commonly be perceived as originating in black culture: “D-Money, Smoothie, Shifty — these kinds of guys.”
“As if his racist, sexist and homophobic comments were not enough, you would think the governor’s continued abuse of power and political machinations — threatening the financial security and livelihood of his opponents — would be enough to warrant impeachment,” said Patricia Jackson. “If after all this, Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives can’t muster together an impeachment order, then their complacency condones LePage’s culture of hate.”
The Maine Green Independent Party believes in a set of 10 Key Values, which include personal responsibility, grassroots democracy, social justice and equal opportunity, feminism and gender equality, and respect for diversity.
“These are values that most Mainers live by,” said Party Advisor John Rensenbrink, a Topsham citizen who co-founded the party in both Maine and the United States. “The governor does not represent the values of our state and it’s time for the people of Maine to part ways with Paul LePage.”