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Report: LePage Tells Maine High Schooler Concerned About Net Neutrality To 'Pick Up A Book'

Manuel Balce Ceneta
Associated Press File
Maine Gov. Paul LePage in May.

Gov. Paul LePage had a one-sentence response to a 16-year-old who wrote to him worried about the repeal of net neutrality rules: Read a book.

According to the newspaper Village Soup in Knox County, Hope Osgood, a student at Camden Hills Regional High School, wrote the governor in November. She said she was concerned about the pending repeal of rules by the Federal Communications Commission that prohibited internet providers from speeding up websites they favor and blocking or throttling others.

According to the newspaper, Osgood later received a copy of her message with a handwritten note from the governor written on it. It said, “Pick up a book and read!” It was signed, “Governor.”

Osgood told the newspaper that she uses the web to access classes, grades and homework assignments. She thought the governor’s response was “snarky” and “rude.”

Her grandfather, Rick Osgood, was also unimpressed. He told the newspaper that he voted for LePage twice, but wouldn’t do so again if he runs for the U.S. Senate.

LePage has a long history of writing handwritten notes to legislators, public officials and his critics

In 2015, a retired teacher from Cape Elizabeth wrote LePage and asked him to resign. The governor fired back, saying residents in southern Maine ignore corruption. As for resigning, LePage responded, “Not going to happen!”

He has written similarly defiant notes to legislators and lobbyists who cross him. Copies of the missives are not always kept by the governor’s office as required by Maine’s public records law.

However, some recipients have sent his correspondence to the Maine State Archives, where the notes are retained as part of the public and historical record.

Neither Hope nor Rick Osgood could be immediately reached for comment.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.