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Politics

LePage Talks Special Interests, ‘Character and Integrity’ at Windham Town Hall

WINDHAM, Maine — Two weeks after making his infamous remarks about out-of-state drug dealers impregnating white girls in Maine, Gov. Paul LePage was greeted with a standing ovation at a town hall meeting in Windham Tuesday night, where more than 100 people turned out.

The governor went on to discuss what he thinks are the four biggest barriers to prosperity: cutting taxes, reducing energy costs, restricting welfare and addressing student debt. The governor says the state won’t be competitive until it deals with all four, but he says lobbyists and special interests are preventing progress at the State House.

“Special interests, that’s who controls us in Augusta,” he says, “unless you fight back and say, ‘No way.’ And when you fight back, you get impeached, or they try to impeach you.”

This week the Maine House rejected a move to investigate the governor for interfering with the hiring of Democratic Speaker of the House Mark Eves by a private school.

LePage urged members of the audience to consider who they vote for in the next election.

“What I’ve encountered is this: In my five years as your governor, greed and egos overtake character and integrity,” he says. “My opponents can make up stories and they’ll get printed. I speak the truth and I’m demonized. It’s that simple, and that’s what Mainers like.”

The governor was asked several questions about his plans to deal with Maine’s opiate epidemic. The governor says a bill he signed Tuesday is just a first step to address the problem, but when asked if he’s willing to spend more money to address wide-scale treatment, the governor said only that he was considering offering outpatient services for defendants enrolled in drug court in coordination with county jails.