PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Known for speaking his mind, Gov. Paul LePage is launching a TV show to help get his message across to Mainers without any interference from the State House press corps.
"Inside the Blaine House," to be posted online and aired on Time Warner Cable, will represent an opportunity for the governor to open a dialogue without media interference, said spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett. It will be issue-oriented and will feature the governor, commissioners and senior staff.
"There are no edited sound bites or one-sided stories. We talk about the issues and people are encouraged to follow up with their own research or fact finding on the issue," said LePage, who's had a strained relationship with the media.
Created by Maine Video on Demand, the show is in keeping with the governor's efforts to promote transparency and to reach out to regular Mainers, as he's doing through his weekly radio address, "Capital for a Day" public forums and regular hours he keeps on Saturday for members of the public, Bennett said.
The governor, however, also has come under criticism by Democrats who say he has deviated from his promise of government transparency. Last weekend, state Sen. Barry Hobbins blasted LePage's plan to make his newly formed Business Advisory Council exempt from the state's right-to-know laws.
Maine Video on Demand, a central Maine video production company that first approached the governor about the TV show concept, will be posting the first biweekly segment online on at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Later, the segment will be shown on Time Warner Cable (Channel 9).
When he was governor, Angus King had a monthly call-in show on Maine public television called "Capital Connection." Maine State Historian Earle Shettleworth says he doesn't recall any other governors with TV programs.
King said he think it's a great idea for LePage to use the medium.
"It's a chance for the governor to speak directly to the people in a direct and unfiltered way," King said. "I think it's a great idea. I applaud for him it."
Unfiltered communication is exactly what the creator of Maine Video on Demand had in mind.
Brian Pomerleau, a former electrical engineer, started doing video production five or six years ago. "Inside the Blaine House" will be similar to his "Inside Maine Business," and will be produced with no taxpayer dollars.
For LePage's show, a camera team will shoot video of people asking the governor questions. The governor will respond to those questions on the show, which will be taped at the Blaine House.
Producers will collaborate with the LePage administration on the subject matter, Pomerleau said.
"We're trying to provide a platform where these people can speak directly to the public and eventually have a back-and-forth with people, without being controlled by the media," Pomerleau said.