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Speaker Gideon Responds to LePage's Claim That She Was 'Playing Political Games'

Robert F. Bukaty
AP Photo
Speaker of the House Sara Gideon-D Freeport, speaks to reporters in her office, Wednesday, May 2, 2018, at the State House in Augusta

When the second regular session of the legislature adjourned and lawmakers left the statehouse this week, both parties were blaming the other for unfinished business. 

The blame continued when Governor Paul LePage gave his latest weekly radio address with the title “Speaker Gideon Kills Good Legislation That Would Benefit the Maine People.”

Speaker of the House Sara Gideon has now released a statement responding to the governor's remarks.

In LePage’s address, he had said that “too many legislators are more interested in playing political games than doing the work of the Maine people. The worst offender is Speaker of the House Sara Gideon.” He said Gideon killed Republican “bills that were good policy” and that she “would rather throw the elderly on the street than give a Republican-backed bill a win.” 

LePage also said that  Gideon met with advocates and lobbyists and urged them not to work with Republicans.

"An email from an advocate for addiction and mental health services revealed the speaker's strategy...the email stated: if the advocates can convince the Republicans to extend the session, Gideon promised to help pass key bills sponsored by the advocates. This is not good governance. It is partisan politics at its worst."

In response to his radio address, Gideon released a statement saying that three-quarters of the Maine Legislature “did everything possible to stay at the table, voting repeatedly to continue the legislative session” and that “66 Republican Members of the Maine House prevented the remaining 120 of us from doing our job.”

In the release, Gideon also listed some of the legislation that was not addressed in session, including the effects of the opioid crisis, the debate over direct care workers and funding for healthcare and education.

She said Governor LePage should “show leadership, and demand that House Republicans get back to work.”

Gideon came under fire recently for calling Republican legislative negotiating tactics “terrorism.” She later apologized for her remark. The Portland Press Herald reports that LePage has also used the word terrorism at different times to describe newspaper reporters and public records requests.

Caitlin Troutman is the Digital News and Content Producer for Maine Public. Caitlin worked as a writer and editor for various publications before discovering her love for public media at KCUR in Kansas City. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Literature and Critical Theory from the Oxbridge Honors Program at William Jewell College and the University of Oxford. She joined Maine Public in 2018.