This is in response to Luke Jensen’s guest column, “LePage’s methods are messy, but he gets the job done” (July 26).

Gov. Paul LePage’s intervention with Maine House Speaker Mark Eves’ hiring at Goodwill-Hinckley was wrong. Those — including LePage himself — who would defend his actions on the basis of their opinions about Eves’ fitness for the job, or his voting record, are arguing a non-sequitur. LePage could have pursued his concerns about Eves’ hiring in a principled fashion, but he chose to take a profoundly unethical course of action.

The issue is not whether the Board of the Goodwill-Hinckley School made a wise decision or not; it is about the improper use of public funds and executive authority.

Private boards must be allowed to make their own internal decisions, unmolested by government officials unless they break the law (in that case, the two board members with a potential conflict of interest did, correctly, recuse themselves from voting on Eves’ hiring). The argument must not hinge on Eves’ resume, lest we begin a tradition of gubernatorial power being wielded to destroy the livelihood and the well-being of any citizen whose career path offends the governor.

Jensen’s support of the governor’s rude and unethical behavior is indicative of the sadly degraded state of the Republican Party. I applaud those Republicans and Democrats in Augusta who uphold the dignity and integrity of their party and their positions. Bipartisanship and statesmanship are to be commended as Maine traditions that go back generations.

The will of “We the People,” manifest in our elected representation, finds its voice only when those elected to serve embrace the high ideals which are fundamental to self-governance.


If a governor is granted the power to cause a political opponent to lose a job, our citizen Legislature is hamstrung, but the ramifications could go well beyond that.

Many Maine employers, both non-profit and for-profit, are barely surviving in a tough economy. Fear of a governor’s capricious interference could cause businesses to adjust their decision-making processes to avoid potential consequences. Will they find reasons to rid themselves of employees who are elected to public office? Of those who are politically active? Of those whose spouses are?

What other reasons might a vindictive governor find to meddle in the private affairs of the citizens and organizations of this state?

A line must be drawn, carved so clearly and so forcefully that neither LePage, nor any other public servant, should ever consider it a line worth crossing.

Tina Riley, Jay

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