LePage rallies business crowd

HEBRON — Gov. Paul LePage greeted a few hundred people at the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce annual awards banquet at Hebron Academy on Saturday night.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

At Saturday night's Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner and Awards ceremony at Hebron Academy, keynote speaker Gov. Paul LePage spoke about walking the balance between being a good steward of Maine's environment and creating well-paying jobs well into the future to an appreciative audience.

LePage, wearing a suit and L.L. Bean boots, shared a progress report of his first few weeks in office, poking fun at the media and criticizing his administration's outspoken critics.

“In the first couple of weeks in Augusta, it's already become very clear that there's a new sheriff in town,” LePage said to laughter.

"However, the policy experts and the so-called opinion-makers and advocates have much to criticize about our administration, and have offered absolutely nothing to move the state forward," he said. "But for most of us, particularly in the business world, it's tough to understand how influence and political capital can be worth more than action and accomplishments.”

LePage said he has already begun to focus on creating jobs.

“Since we've had the Internet in the last several years, newspaper sales are way down," he said. "So I've made sure that I am helping them increase their circulation on a daily basis.”

The crowd erupted in laughter and loud applause.

Speaking to small-business owners and chamber officials, LePage expounded on his reform programs, urging business owners to help him in Augusta by testifying at legislative hearings.

“This past week, we released Phase 1 of our regulatory reform package and the first phase is about environmental regulations — what I call the Department of Environmental Regulations — and our proposed reforms come directly from you, as I said earlier, and I'm telling you, they're just the beginning,” LePage said.

He outlined his program of action, saying it is threefold.

“One: Many of the reforms that are going to take place are going to come from executive orders,” he said. “They're just going to be reversing some of the executive orders that were put in place by prior governors."

The second part, he said, would be to ask agencies to rewrite their rules. And the third would be proposing legislative changes to the Legislature.

He twice stressed that the reforms he is proposing to the Legislature come not from him, but from Maine businesspeople.

“So I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, because without your help, we can't move this state,” LePage said to strong applause.

He attacked environmental groups for lashing out at what he said was his attempt to walk a balance between preserving the environment and working to create well-paying jobs and keep Maine's children in the state.

“Now, to hear the advocates and the so-called opinion-makers, we are about ready to destroy Maine's environment, the environment that we all hold dearly,” he said.

“The idea of balancing the environment with good Maine jobs is being called heresy," he said. "'We are shocked and stunned,' said one environmental group. Another group suggested that the proposals we are making are illegal.”

He his administration is writing legislation that conforms to federal regulations.

"So, rather than have regulations that are stricter than the federal government, we're going to conform to it," he said. "We are not trying to hurt our environment.”

He also spoke highly of following science.

“The other thing is those cases where science has proven that we have to go further than the federal government. I have instructed our staff to make sure that we put science ahead of financial rewards for business,” LePage said.

“And I think that each and every one of you here, you'll agree with me — and they're in the Red Tape Audits — everyone that we have spoken to not only agrees that we do that, they insist that we do that. They want good science; they want a good clean environment and they want us to have good clean jobs for our kids, and that's the direction we're going.”

The crowd erupted in applause.

“We haven't done a damn thing until we get good jobs in Maine, and that's our goal,” LePage said. “And for those of us who have labored to create jobs and opportunity for Maine people, in the worst business climate in our country, my proposals, I assure you, are a simple down payment on the work that we're going to do in the next four years.”

LePage said his mission is to make sure the next generation, and the next generation after that, "can work in Maine with pride, can earn a decent living in Maine and can start buying some of the Maine coastline and some of the mountains that are currently owned by many people from out of state.”


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John Ponte's picture

The State of the STATE of Maine!!!!

For way to long now Maine State Goverment has not been able to pay it's own bills at all.
The people in Augusta have robb Peter to pay of Paul for so many years it has become a bad joke .
I voted for Paul and I even change from being a inderpendent to a Rep:
I do hope the the new goverment in Augusta does bring this state into the black instead of the red it is so know for .
The state is not a vacation land to any one any more because there isn't anything to do here but to sit in the woods and have the bugs eat at you all day and night .
There isn't any thing anyone can really do anymore because there has been so many laws controling everything and anything any one trys to do .
All of the small towns that used to have events in the summer don't have any events anymore because they don't have any money just like all of the people in these town 's .
This is because there is no work .
The companys in these town 's have move to other states or other countrys because of the real inferios handed rules and laws that has beed made up by the people in Augusta.
Change was needed a real long time ago in Augusta .
I really feel it is to late to change anything,this state has cook it self out like water out of the pan!!
Anyone with any real money will be very carefull if not at all in investing any real money here in Maine.
Because they know how bad it can be to try and make any real money here .
Why invest any big money here in Maine when right next door in New Hanpsher there is less tax better roads and a lot more people living and vacationing there .

 's picture

I think the Governor is off

I think the Governor is off to a great start. He's made some great choices for his cabinet. He's got the leftists yakking and entering into a Lepage Derangement Syndrome... always fun to watch. He's cleaning up the slop the Democrats left...such as paying the Medicaid aging payables off. He'll be submitting a realistic supplemental and biennial budget for legislative consideration.

We are in for some very tough times in Maine, and I am so pleased that we have a skilled financial man in the Governor's office.

I am amazed (not really) that 'tron', cloaked in anonymity, is calling people out for "hiding." Who IS this person we know as 'tron?'

 's picture


I support him too.

 's picture


I will stand up and be counted as a supporter of Gov. LePage, without using an alias.

Mark Elliott's picture

me too!

me too!

 's picture

Yeah right

He thinks we are bigger fools than we all thought. He wants the coastline and mountains owned by Mainers. Well, Mr. LePage, you will have to ensure that we are paid a heck of a lot more than we are now. And, if the departments are going to rewrite the rules, they will have to go through the administrative process which takes appxoximately one year. This process ensure that the public is involved.

 's picture

Earlier in the story...

...he said it wasn't his people who are re-writing the regulations, it's business people. Say goodbye to Vacationland and all the tourists that go with it. Let's see...tourism was our #1 income producer with the most number of jobs and all of that will be gone. What's #2? #3? #4? #5? We'll need to replace those jobs.

Mark Elliott's picture

Tourism is our number 1

Tourism is our number 1 source of revenue because, thanks to regulations, we don't have much of anything else.

 's picture

Gooble Gobble Gooble Gobble,

Gooble Gobble Gooble Gobble, One of us, One of us. We accept him, we accept him, Gooble Gobble, Gooble Gobble.

Larry T. Doughty's picture

Governor Page- Comments

Well, we now have it right from the Governor himself. Sounds very confident, and reasonable. He injected much humor, and that is always appreciated. He has risen above the flak, that has been a constant drum beat by many. If only level heads would persist, however, we don't expect much to change in that regard.


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