AUGUSTA — Democratic leaders challenged Gov. Paul LePage to take a positive tone in his State of the State Address on Tuesday, saying negativity and extreme positions have hindered the state’s economic recovery.

“We’ve had a year of distractions, blame and extreme ideology,” House Minority Leader Emily Cain, D-Orono, said during a noon news conference in the State House. “There’s an opportunity to turn this around and it starts tomorrow night.”

A top Republican, House Assistant Minority Leader Andre Cushing, R-Hampden, responded that throwing stones at the governor isn’t the way to bring about bipartisanship.

“This confuses me as to why they feel the need to hold a throw-down on the governor for things he said when we have important work to do,” Cushing said. “Maybe we should focus on getting the budget finished.”

LePage is scheduled to deliver his first State of the State Tuesday at 7 p.m. Spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett said he is prepping for the speech today and won’t be distracted by the Democratic criticism.

Despite the partisan flareup today, LePage and bipartisan legislative leaders met Friday and said they are confident they can reach a compromise on $120 million of health and human services cuts by the end of this month.


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