LePage launches transition

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Gov.-elect Paul LePage on Friday laid the groundwork for setting up his new Republican administration as he named the three co-chairs of his transition team, vowing to make it account publicly for every dollar it raises and spends in doing its work.

Paul LePage, Kevin Raye
Joel Page

Maine Gov.-elect Paul LePage, left, joined by newly-elected Senate President Kevin Raye, right, addresses the Senate Republican caucus Friday, Nov. 5, 2010, in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Joel Page)

Paul LePage, Kevin Raye
Joel Page

Maine Senate president Kevin Raye, center, welcomes Gov.-elect Paul LePage, left, to the senate chamber Friday, Nov. 5, 2010, in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Joel Page)

They include Tarren Bragdon, chief operating officer of the conservative free-market think tank Maine Heritage Policy Center; Ann Robinson, an Augusta attorney and self-described moderate who's also counsel for the Maine Republican Party, and John Butera, executive director of the Central Maine Growth Council, a nonprofit economic-development group. Butera worked in former independent Gov. Angus King's administration in the Department of Economic and Community Development.

LePage said the transition team will look for "the best and the brightest" as it seeks people to fill key roles in what's expected to be a pro-business administration. He said he hopes to name most of his Cabinet appointees by Christmas.

"The LePage administration will have the most transparent transition process in Maine history," the governor-elect said during a State House news conference, adding that "we will publicly disclose all contributions and expenditures associated with our transition."

LePage also announced that a new website, www.lepagetransition.com, was launched Friday to disclose information about the process between now and his inauguration in early January. He said people interested in applying for positions in his administration are encouraged submit resumes and letters of interest through the website.

"We are looking for people who can help Maine move ahead," LePage said. Asked whether people from different political perspectives and parties will be considered, he said, "I assure you there will be people on the other side in the transition."

LePage's newly appointed chief of staff, John McGough, who was the campaign deputy chief of staff, will be actively involved in transition work. McGough is also the former chief of staff in the Maine House Republican Office, and he served as human resources director for South Portland.

Democrats, now reduced to minority status, promised their cooperation with Republicans while not abandoning core party values, said Rep. Seth Berry of Bowdoinham, who wants to lead the House Democratic caucus.

"We are interested in working with the other side of the aisle," said Berry. "We have always had a cordial relationship in the past, though we didn't always agree on policy."

Another Democrat who aspires to floor leadership, Rep. Emily Cain of Orono, questioned the appointment of Bragdon, saying he "has spent the last few years pushing a right-wing agenda and his appointment is inconsistent with the governor elect's stated interest in 'people before politics.'"

Cain added that "Democrats will watching with great interest as future appointments are determined."

Maine's first GOP governor to be elected since 1990 was swept into office as part of the Republican tide that also gave the state its first GOP-majority House and Senate since the 1973-74 session. Those majorities will enable the Legislature to elect a state treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general for the first time in decades.

LePage on Friday endorsed his former gubernatorial primary rival, Bruce Poliquin, for state treasurer, saying his background in finance and economics qualify him well for the post. Charles Summers, a former state senator who was also unsuccessful 1st District U.S. House candidate two years ago, is a candidate for secretary of state.

William Schneider, a former state representative and now assistant U.S. attorney, and outgoing state Sen. Douglas Smith of Dover-Foxcroft are interested in the attorney general's office.

The GOP sweep also gave the state a new No. 2 official in state government on Friday as Republican senators elected Kevin Raye of Perry as the chamber's president for the next two years. Raye, the former Senate minority leader, was elected on a single ballot after Sen. Richard Rosen of Bucksport withdrew from the race and threw his support to Raye.

Sen. Jonathan Courtney of Springvale, the former assistant Senate minority leader, ascends to majority leader, and the assistant's post goes to Sen. Debra Plowman of Hampden.

LePage, the Waterville mayor and general manager of Marden's surplus and salvage store chain, is phasing out of both of those roles and will be finished by Christmas time, McGough said.

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Comments

 's picture

Veritas, Sorry that I assumed

Veritas, Sorry that I assumed you weren't a bonehead. I freely admit, it was silly of me.

 's picture

Voisine asks, Where are those

Voisine asks, Where are those good paying jobs that LePage and Republicans said were on the way. We're waiting!

For crying out loud Voisine, he hasn't even taken office yet. Obama is still blaming Bush after 2 years. That is something you will not see LePage do! He will not stoop to that level and blame Baldacci. Show a little class Voisine.

 's picture

HAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry, I couldn't help myself. When did Lepage take the oath of office? I'm all for holding him to task, but let him set foot in office first. Sheesh.

RAYMOND FRECHETTE's picture

The people have spoken and

The people have spoken and Mr. Lepage is our Governor elect; let us give him the benefit ofo the doubt and stop this childish back biting. To arrive where he is the man has to be intelligent and may well benefit the State. Certainly he cannot lead it to a worst postion than where it now is. I only pray he can accomplish what he has set out to do so our children and us can find good paying jobs in Maine. As the business climate is now in Miane, it is difficult for abusiness to think of expanding here. Look at how many folks you know who no longer are Maine citizens; they may visit the State for a few months, but are now citizens of other States. Have you ever wondered why?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Well stated, Candice....we

Well stated, Candice....we can only hope.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

What's next, voisy? "Are we

What's next, voisy? "Are we there yet?"
The man hasn't even taken his oath yet. Voisy, you guys got beat; you lost--get used to it. We have a REPUBLICAN Governor. Life in Maine is about to get good again.

RONALD RIML's picture

sandra - You don't have my permission to manipulate

my temporary absence from the forum for your own ends.

So go manipulate yourself in the corner - or anyplace else in the privacy or your own cave.

 's picture

new policy

We all know no republican president has ever spent any taxpayer money traveling overseas, or even hijacked a Navy ship to prance around in a flight suit for a photo op. And this so called stimulus Obama released? Can you tell me which law or executive order he signed that forced the Fed to buy back bonds? Didn't think so...

 's picture

On our way

Well, today's appointments clearly tell us that Paul LePage is going after two programs -- DHHS and DEP. I guess a review of the rest of the budget is not top priority. For those who thought he was going to carefully review every dollar spent throughout State government can forget it. The lawyer who is going to be reviewing regulatory issues will be there to supersede our present regulation -- that is what lawyers do. As for his budget person, Bradgon does not have any budget knowledge so he is only capable to looking at DHHS programs. The thing is that he will be looking at the program; the bad thing is he has no working knowledge of budget and will not be looking at any of the other program. As for the Central Maine Growth Council person, she hasn't achieved anything in centrral Maine so why would we expect her to achieve anything at the state level.

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