Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage. (Click here for audio)
Playing politics is easy; governing effectively is hard. As Chief Executive, I take my responsibilities on behalf of the people of Maine seriously.
Our Administration has worked hard to change the attitude within government and has brought more transparency to government than any recent administration. We work with citizens and businesses to solve problems. We strive to be efficient and responsible with taxpayer dollars. And we only introduce public policy that benefits Mainers and our state.
There are nearly 500 new bills that will become law in October or earlier as a result of this session.
In one of the most appalling moves of the session, however, some Democrats took a stand against the Administration at the expense of our military men and women. A Governor’s bill was submitted supporting Maine’s uniformed military members having access to public schools.
Military recruiters told our Administration several schools in southern Maine only allow minimal access of recruiters. Those high schools brought to our attention were Oak Hill, Noble, Wells, York, Kennebunk, Gorham and Yarmouth. We also were informed that two additional high schools, Portland and Yarmouth, refused uniformed recruiters from stepping on campus.
Democrats have claimed there is no problem, but in the same breath some Democrats have said uniformed military service members may intimidate high school students. So, the father or mother who arrives in uniform to pick up their child from school is threatening? The thought is preposterous.
One Democrat even said he’s “more inclined to believe our local superintendents than a military recruiter.” I’d bet my life on the word of a recruiter over a superintendent any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
As I prepare to go to Gettysburg, I am disgusted by these behaviors. The Democrats blatant rejection of this bill sends a message to all military service members – past and present – that they are not welcome in Maine’s public school system. The disdain is evident and it is a sad day for Maine when we cannot come together in agreement to support our troops.
Maine has a proud and long-standing tradition of service to our state and country. We have the largest number of veterans per capita in the nation and we owe our heartfelt gratitude to our troops who defend our freedom and sacrifice time with their family, friends and communities to serve.
Military service is not for everyone and this bill did nothing to force students into serving. It simply forbade school administrators from refusing recruiters in uniform to visit with students interested in exploring life’s options.
I encourage Mainers to find out where politicians stand on this important common sense bill before they cast their next vote. I assure you that this will not be the last time this bill is introduced.
I do not form opinions about policy based on party lines. Our Administration identifies the problem, reviews the options, and develops a plan. I stand by my principles and I don’t know any other way than to fight for what I believe in.
Maine has challenging issues that must be addressed. While we have the lowest unemployment rate in years, we need to become more competitive.
Electricity prices must be lowered and government spending must be curbed. I want Maine businesses to have the opportunity to thrive and create new jobs, and I want you to keep your hard-earned money not give it to government.
Furthermore, the taxes the Legislature just raised on you were completely unnecessary.
I don’t know what Mainers will remember most about this first session. Perhaps it’s the recruiter bill or maybe that the hospital welfare debt was finally paid. Quite frankly, the tax increases disturb me the most.
And the way I look at it: the 126th isn’t over yet. So, in January we will have a plan. A plan that repeals the tax increases and is designed to move Maine forward.
The question is will Democrats choose to fight against me again or work for the Maine people.