At Governor LePage's State of the State speech, he delivered more of the same – praise for himself, blame for others, and little effort to forge compromise and move Maine forward. That’s exactly why, despite all of the governor’s bluster, Maine largely lags behind New England and the country in economic growth and why Mainers still feel like they can’t get ahead after seven years of his Administration.
Maine’s Economic Growth Lags Behind New England and Nation
Governor Paul LePage and Republicans like to tout Maine’s low unemployment rate, but they fail to mention that Maine’s statewide economic performance has been at or near the bottom of the national pack over the course of LePage’s tenure and that many of the Administration’s policies have only exacerbated income inequality and poverty in Maine:
Unsurprisingly, Maine’s unemployment rate is better than it was at the bottom of the recession (thanks, Obama), but under LePage, Maine’s economy has largely grown at a slower rate than that of our New England neighbors and the national average.
Household income and wage growth in Maine under LePage has proceeded at a slower rate than other states.
The LePage Administration has made an assault on Maine’s workforce boards, refusing to disburse federal funding intended to help unemployed workers train for new jobs.
Under LePage, Maine Failed to Take Action on the Opioid Epidemic
Under Governor LePage’s Administration, the opioid epidemic has grown worse in Maine – with the Governor and his former DHHS Chief, Mary Mayhew, who is now a candidate for governor, implementing policies that restricted access to critical addiction treatment:
Rather than pursue treatment options, LePage wanted only to bolster law enforcement.
Governor LePage has long opposed increasing access to the life-saving, overdose reversal drug naloxone.
LePage Has Limited Maine’s Energy Future With His Opposition to Renewable Energy
Despite his misleading protests about Maine’s high energy prices, Governor LePage has repeatedly closed the door on renewable energy projects in Maine that could have helped diversify the state’s energy portfolio and lead to a cheaper, more sustainable energy future:
LePage has repeatedly misled the public about the status of Maine’s energy prices, often pointing out that they are high but never placing them in context with our New England neighbors.
LePage vetoed a bipartisan compromise that would have helped Maine’s rooftop solar industry continue to exist.
LePage unilaterally issued a moratorium on new wind projects despite Maine’s success with wind.
Meanwhile, LePage backs the Trump Administration’s proposal to drill off the coast of Maine despite opposition from state’s congressional delegation and other Atlantic coast governors.
As we’ve seen over these past few months, the Republican candidates for governor are hell-bent on serving as LePage’s third term – but Maine can't afford four more years of his failed policies. Mainers are ready to turn the page on the governor’s failed leadership and Democrats are ready to offer bold, new leadership in Augusta that will move the state in a different direction by empowering our hardworking families and growing our economy from the middle-class out.