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Maine Governor Relieves Adjutant General of His Command

Mal Leary
Brig. Gen. James Campbell, left, with Gov. Paul LePage in May of 2014.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Just minutes before Brig. Gen. James Campbell was scheduled to give the annual state of the Maine National Guard speech to a joint convention of the Legislature, Gov. Paul LePage announced he had removed Campbell from office.
“Based on an internal review of Gen. Campbell, I have lost faith in his ability to lead Maine’s soldiers and airmen,” LePage said in a statement. “Effective immediately, I have relieved him of command.”

LePage has named Brig. Gen. Gerald Bolduc as both acting adjutant general and acting commissioner of the Department of Defense, Emergency Management and Veterans’ Services.

Members of the Legislature's Veterans Caucus, a bipartisan group co-chaired by Rep. Mick Devin, a Newcastle Democrat, and Rep. Sheldon Hanington, a Republican from Lincoln, expressed concern about the firing.  

"As veterans serving in the Maine Legislature, recognizing we do not have all the facts, we are profoundly concerned by the announcement about the Maine National Guard’s leadership," members of the caucus say in a statement. "Today is National Guard Day at the State House, a day that drew many men and women in uniform to our Capitol. It is a time to honor the National Guard, all our servicemen and servicewomen and all our veterans. We, as the Veterans Caucus, salute them for their service and their achievements."

Adrienne Bennett, the governor’s spokeswoman, declined to discuss what led to the internal review of Gen. Campbell, or how long it has been underway.

Assistant House Republican Leader Rep. Ellie Espling, of New Gloucester, issued a cautious statement:  "Governor LePage is the Commander and Chief of the Maine National Guard and at the end of the day this is his decision to make," Espling says. "We do not know the details that led the governor to make this decision. We reserve all judgment and any further comment until these details come to light."

The sudden announcement also led to LePage canceling a planned news conference on his drug abuse proposals.

Read the speech Brig. Gen. Campbell was scheduled to deliver to the Legislature.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.