AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A delegation of Maine lawmakers went to the Blaine House on Wednesday to summon Paul Richard LePage to be inaugurated, kicking off a day of events that includes LePage taking the oath of office before a joint session of the Legislature and a no-frills reception.

“You have duly been elected governor, for the state of Maine, for the political years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014,” Rep. H. David Cotta, R-China, told LePage, who met the delegation in a traditional inauguration-day ceremony.

LePage, who was to become Maine’s Republican first chief executive in 16 years, quietly thanked the lawmakers and shook their hands. From there, they were headed to the Augusta Civic center, where the governor-elect was to be escorted in and administered the oath of office before at least 5,000 people.

The inauguration of a State House outsider who was widely considered an unlikely winner early in last year’s gubernatorial race completes the story of political transformation and personal triumph.

The 62-year-old former Waterville mayor takes office following promises to put people ahead of politics, shape a leaner, more focused state government, and ease regulations he believes hamper business growth and discourage job creation.

In keeping with the mood of austerity as the economy recovers from recession, LePage insisted on a straightforward ceremony with a minimum of frills, and prepared an inaugural address that was neither overly long nor big on new policy announcements. The event represented a departure from past practice by being staged in the daytime with past governors present, and LePage decided to skip an inaugural gala in favor of a simpler, same-day reception.

Elected amid a tidal wave of voter discontent with government many saw as too large, LePage becomes Maine’s first Republican governor since John McKernan left office in 1995, and the first GOP chief executive with a Republican-controlled House and Senate in nearly a half century.

LePage’s inauguration also completes a story of personal triumph.

Once a neglected and homeless youth in his hometown of Lewiston, LePage earned a master’s degree, had a successful business career and became mayor of Waterville before launching what was viewed as a longshot gubernatorial bid last year. He new becomes Maine’s first Franco-American to be popularly elected governor.


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