AUGUSTA — Aides for Gov.-elect Paul LePage say the Jan. 5 inauguration ceremony will mirror the incoming governor's down-to-business personality and the times of austerity he's inheriting.
LePage will not give a long speech, or use a teleprompter. And there will be no lavish ball, just a short reception with a cash bar.
There will, however, be lobster.
The latter will be donated by Linda Bean, a LePage campaign contributor, and the granddaughter of L.L. Bean, the famous retailer. As for the rest of the menu and the costs, LePage's advisers offered few details, except to say the event at the Augusta Civic Center will be significantly more low key than outgoing Gov. John Baldacci's first inauguration.
Brent Littlefield, a consultant for LePage and his former campaign manager, said the governor-elect insisted on forgoing the traditional inaugural ball.
"He didn't think it was appropriate to do it during these times," Littlefield said.
Littlefield said LePage's ceremony will start and end early. He said the incoming governor was eager to get to work.
"Paul doesn't take himself too seriously," Littlefield said. "There's not going to be poems read, no chorus-style singing."
"You won't need a pillow," he added.
The invitation-only reception at the Civic Center will follow a ceremony in which LePage will be sworn in before a joint session of the Maine Legislature.
Senate President Kevin Raye, R-Perry, will preside over the joint session, which will begin at the State House. Per tradition, the Senate will formally receive the elections results from the Secretary of State and vote to ratify them.
"We hope they'll accept the results of the election," Littlefield said.
In the meantime, LePage will await the Senate decision at the Blaine House. Littlefield said LePage will have coffee with Baldacci and several other former governors before departing for the Civic Center.
Dan Demeritt, LePage's press secretary, said he wasn't sure if LePage would make any major policy announcements during his inauguration speech. Demeritt said the 12-minute speech is still being crafted, but that it would likely hit upon many of the issues LePage campaigned on, such as strengthening Maine's economy and making the state more business friendly.
The ceremony will begin at 11:30 a.m. Raye will swear in the new governor, marking the first time in decades that Republicans will have control of the Blaine House and both chambers of the Legislature.
The last Republican governor was John McKernan, who served two terms through 1994.
LePage will take the oath of office before lawmakers from both chambers, as well as tribal leaders, party officials, diplomats and their spouses. Afterward, the Civic Center will be readied for the reception. There will be music, light food, a cash bar and a receiving line.
LePage isn't the only incoming governor planning a scaled-back inauguration ceremony. A recent USA Today piece noted that several other governors are doing the same in order not to offend unemployed or struggling constituents.
Beyond the lack of a formal ball, LePage’s inaugural activities are fairly typical. Both of Gov. John Baldacci’s events, like LePage’s, were invitation-only.
Despite the low-key affair and brief ceremony, Littlefield said organizers expected more than 4,000 people to attend the inauguration.
"This will be a typical Maine event," he said.
Content from The Associated Press was used in this report