AUGUSTA — Maine’s three constitutional officers were sworn in Thursday by Gov. Paul LePage amid complaints that the governor deprived two of them of public ceremonies.

Attorney General Janet Mills, Secretary of State Matt Dunlap and State Treasurer Terry Hayes were all elected last month by a vote of the combined Maine House and Senate. Mills and Dunlap, both Democrats, are returning to their posts, while Hayes, a former lawmaker from Buckfield who left the Maine Democratic Party and is now independent, is new to the position after having ousted former Treasurer Neria Douglass, a Democrat.

In past years, Maine’s governor has performed the oaths of office for constitutional officers during a special ceremony in the House of Representatives. This year he opted to hold the ceremonies in his office suite. Only Hayes, who said she requested a public ceremony because she had invited dozens of family and friends, took her oath in a public area, the Hall of Flags outside the governor’s office.

Hayes said that House Clerk Rob Hunt told her, Mills and Dunlap that Le-Page declined an invitation to a public ceremony in the House. LePage’s office declined to comment for this story.

“I requested a public ceremony, and the governor’s office said yes,” said Hayes. “I had 60 people, and I told his office we wouldn’t all fit in his Cabinet room.”

Some partisan staffers, who declined to be identified, said they saw the situation as preferential treatment for Hayes, who was elected with the support of both Democrats and Republicans in the Legislature. Le-Page has often clashed with and criticized both Mills and Dunlap. Some perceived it to be an extension of the hostility that LePage displayed toward Democrats in the previous Legislature, when that party held majorities in both chambers.


Dunlap and Mills said they were bothered by LePage’s decision, but only mildly.

“I always flinch a little bit when there’s a public exhibition of disrespect for an institution of the people,” said Dunlap. “I don’t know why the governor made that decision, but if it was an effort to get under my skin, it failed. I don’t need recognition from the governor.”

Mills, who like Dunlap is a former legislator, said the swearing-in ceremony is traditionally viewed as a demonstration of collegiality among the branches of government, with lawmakers, the governor and the chief justice of the Supreme Court in attendance.

“The occasion was much more important for me in my first term when my mother and husband were present, but they are no longer here,” said Mills in an email. “It’s great for friends and family to witness the actual swearing-in, but I’m not interested in making a big deal of it now.”

All three constitutional officers presented speeches in the House, which was filed with lawmakers and their family and friends. All three speeches included touching details about their lives and tributes to the people who have supported them over the years.

Dunlap said one of his most pressing tasks will be working to comply with the national Real ID Act, which includes new provisions involving driver’s licenses and official identification cards.


“We have a lot to do,” he said. “I can tell you plenty more and I will.”

Hayes said her goal is to operate the treasurer’s office in a totally nonpartisan way.

“I chose to unenroll,” she said. “I pledge to work on behalf of everyone without party affiliation. I think we do good work when we value the people who are doing it with us even when their ideas are different. … It’s what generates better outcomes.”

Mills said despite her past clashes with LePage, she and the governor have similar goals.

“You probably won’t catch Gov. LePage and me sitting down and sharing a glass of Chardonnay, eating brie and watching Downton Abbey together. Not likely,” she said. “But I do respect the chief executive, and I do think we have some things in common.”

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