Commentary

Legacy of Mark Eves: Failed Witch-Hunts and False Sense of Entitlement

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Yesterday, Rep. Mark Eves’ lawsuit against Governor Paul LePage was dismissed by a federal judge.

Looking at the Judge’s decision, it is clear Mr. Eves’ case against the Governor was as weak as Eves’ assertion that he was qualified to lead Maine’s most prominent charter school.

Last year, Mr. Eves was announced as the new director of The Good Will-Hinckley School. Many supporters of charter schools, including Governor LePage, immediately voiced concerns as it is a well-known fact that Mr. Eves has been an arch-enemy of charter schools during his time in the Maine Legislature. 

​Mr. Eves had done the bidding of the unions who, without question, funded his majority and his seat as Speaker. Yet, when the time came for Mr. Eves to line up post-legislative employment, suddenly he was in support of charter schools, or at least in support of the six-figure salary they were going to pay him.

Governor LePage objected to Mr. Eves’ hiring, as did many others. Supporters of school choice for Maine families and students were alarmed by the decision to hire Mr. Eves, as they had struggled mightily to overcome his insidious attempts to destroy Maine’s charter schools.

Mr. Eves and his lawyer (who, incidentally, is known for filing politically motivated lawsuits to grab headlines), filed a lawsuit when suddenly, Mr. Eves’ job offer was rescinded (he settled for a five-figure settlement from Goodwill-Hinckley instead, which isn’t bad for never working a day). How dare Governor LePage exercise the discretion afforded his office over discretionary funds! How dare Governor LePage challenge the long-standing practice of officers of the Maine Legislature landing cushy jobs when they term out of office!

Mr. Eves’ allies called for OPEGA hearings, grabbing headlines once again.

Little did they expect that the OPEGA hearings, instead of exposing some wrongdoing of the LePage administration, would require the full strength of the Democrats on the committee to keep Speaker Eves’ use of one of his legislative staff to secure the job out of the news.

At the start of the second session of the 127th Maine Legislature, Mr. Eves’ allies launched an impeachment attempt against Governor LePage, and they failed. Apparently, even some Democrats understood that Mr. Eves lawsuit, and the impeachment attempt that followed, were nothing more than a witch-hunt.

But the tone for the legislative session was set, and the cornerstone of Mr. Eves’ legacy had been laid.

Yesterday’s dismissal of Mr. Eves’ politically-motivated lawsuit by a federal judge now serves as a capstone on the Eves legacy of failure.

After failed attempts to prevent the existence of charter schools, Mr. Eves followed up with a failed attempt to land a cushy position with a charter school he never wanted to exist in the first place.

After failing to destroy the LePage administration via OPEGA hearings, Mr. Eves followed up with a failed lawsuit to personally destroy Governor LePage.

Quite simply, Speaker Eves will go down in history as an elected official with an unremarkable legacy and a willingness to put his own ambition and sense of political entitlement ahead of the people of Maine.

Mr. Eves was a representative who was willing to put an entire session of the Maine Legislature under the dark cloud of a personal lawsuit, and who was willing to place the people’s business behind protecting the status quo and his own ambition.

While the Eves era has now come to a close, the Eves legacy of failed witch-hunts and a false sense of entitlement will live on, serving as a lesson to those who succeed him.

About Jason Savage

Jason Savage has been the Executive Director of the Maine GOP since 2013. Before heading up Maine's premier political party, he co-founded and served as Executive Director of the non-profit organization Maine People Before Politics, where he advocated for lower taxes, less debt, welfare reform and other priorities for Maine people. Jason's work has been published in every major newspaper in Maine.

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