Gov. LePage has challenged MPA to a public debate on his regressive budget proposal, which cuts health care and education to give a $10,000 average tax break to the top 1%. We accept.

Posted by Maine People’s Alliance on Tuesday, April 7, 2015

AUGUSTA — Ben Chin, a candidate for the Lewiston mayor’s office and the political engagement director for the Maine People’s Alliance, has accepted Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s offer for a debate on LePage’s proposed budget.

LePage suggested he would participate in a debate with the left-leaning, political advocacy group last week when he told the State House press corps he wasn’t backing away from a public discussion around his proposed two-year, $6.57 billion state budget proposal.

LePage said he wanted the forum with the alliance “so everyone can get both sides and we can have civil discourse.”

LePage made the statement following an incident during a Saco town hall meeting at which a former state lawmaker tossed a jar of Vaseline on stage beside LePage as she was being escorted from the forum by LePage’s security detail.

In a video post on Facebook on Tuesday, Chin said he would be happy to debate LePage, “anytime, anywhere.”

“I think it is completely wrong to deny General Assistance to asylum-seekers,” Chin wrote. “I think it’s wrong to deny prescription drug assistance to 40,000 elderly and people with disabilities, I think it’s wrong to go backward on education funding. I think it’s wrong to do all of that in order to give the top 1 percent an average of $10,000 in tax breaks.”

Chin went on to challenge LePage to “stop by” the alliance’s Lewiston offices or to call him. “We are ready for you,” Chin said. “Let’s do this debate. Anytime. Anywhere.”

As of 1 p.m. Tuesday, the video had been watched more than 1,000 times, according to statistics on Facebook.

It was unclear whether LePage watched Chin’s challenge. Members of LePage’s communications staff declined to comment on the challenge Tuesday, noting that LePage is on vacation in Jamaica.

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