Ray Richardson, conservative radio show host for the LOB statewide Lobster Radio Network, has published this week a new book, “Rebuilding Maine’s Future,” about Republican Gov. Paul LePage.
The book is a quick read written from the perspective of a LePage ally with the goal of showcasing the outspoken governor’s record of reform.
“Although Maine has historically avoided so much of the nasty political rhetoric that is rampant in more populous areas, I have personally witnessed an obsession by Governor Paul LePage’s opponents that is designed not only to defeat his ideas but to destroy him personally,” writes Richardson. “They attack everything. They attack his family. They attack his upbringing. They attack his lack of eloquence and his Franco-American heritage.”
The attacks are unfair and ideologically driven, says Richardson. “If his name were Barack Obama, this would be attributed to racism and hatred based on skin color. Because the man believes in self-reliance and the power of the individual to emancipate himself from his circumstances, hatred thrown his way daily is dismissed as justifiable to accomplish his destruction.”
In the book, Richardson looks to set the record straight on a host of policy reforms enacted under the LePage administration – from paying back the $750 million Medicaid/hospital debt to tax and welfare reform to LePage’s work on domestic violence prevention. Richardson also explores the many controversial statements attributed to the governor, both fairly and unfairly. Each chapter is set up with “the spin” and “the untold story.”
The Maine Wire gets a shout-out from Richardson regarding the welfare abuse investigation published in January. That investigation found widespread abuse throughout the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) cash welfare system, and Richardson used his show to provide a week-long exposition into the findings of the investigation.
“The Maine Wire did some wonderful work on EBT card abuse over the last year,” he writes.
The highlight of the chapter on welfare is the reception in the broader media by the Bangor Daily News and the Portland Press Herald. As this publication has explained, it’s ludicrous to say what percentage of TANF transactions are fraudulent or abusive because it’s a cash program – you can’t track cash. Anyone who makes such a claim is either being intellectually dishonest or simply doesn’t understand the basics of social welfare public policy.
But that simple logical obstacle did not prevent media outlets with a reputation for hostility to LePage from contending that the abuse rate in the TANF program was a meager .03 percent.
The conclusion that TANF abuse is rare, writes Richardson, “is ridiculous on several fronts.”
Rebuilding Maine’s Future is on sale at RebuildingMainesFuture.com for $10.00 per copy, and Richardson will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the book to Wreaths Across America in the name of First Lady Ann LePage, who has volunteered with the charity over the last 3 years.
“Governor LePage has led a turnaround in Maine,” writes Richardson. “I thought it would be a good idea for people to see the other side of the LePage coin. For those of us who know him, we like to call it the truth.”
Richardson’s morning news program has been on air in Maine for the last ten years. He lives in Westbrook with his wife Dee Dee and their four children.