AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage delivered his first State of the State address Tuesday night, calling on Maine legislators to be outraged about Maine’s lagging incomes and economic opportunity.

“We need more jobs. We need more careers to pull our state out of poverty. We need good-paying careers that will offer benefits, security and job satisfaction,” LePage said, drawing one of several standing ovations from both Republicans and Democrats.

The 50-minute speech touched on LePage’s familiar priorities: reducing health and welfare sending, lowering energy costs, reducing taxes and reducing the regulatory burdens on businesses. His speech ended on a more personal note when he spoke about being the victim of domestic abuse as a child.

“Those memories are not pleasant, but I will share my past to help end domestic abuse today and going forward,” LePage said, as members of both parties stood and applauded.

LePage said it was time that domestic violence become a men’s issue instead of women’s issue. “It is time men stand up, speak up and stamp out domestic violence. As men we must stand together as one and say no to domestic violence.”

LePage began his speech by highlighting some of the accomplishments of his first year in office, including tax cuts, pension reform and increasing education aid.

He called on the lawmakers to move quickly to adopt his proposal to cut $221 million from health and human services.

“My administration did not create this problem and did not invent it,” LePage said.

Democrats have resisted LePage’s proposed cuts, saying the shortfall was based on faulty budgeting not the long-term growth. However, LePage reiterated his argument that the core problem is a long-term expansion of MaineCare and other social assistance programs.

“We must stop promising people a free lunch when those working in Maine are earning below the national average. It is unfair to promise people they can get things for free when the resulting bills are not being paid,” he said.

While the budget shortfall has dominated business in the State House for weeks, LePage used the opportunity to reiterate his longer-term goals.

He said he opposes efforts to mandate expensive, green energy — a reference to a petition drive to increase renewable energy use in the state.

“I do not support Augusta being in the business of increasing costs on hardworking Maine families to pad the pockets of interest groups,” he said, “I support letting the free market decide.”

He said his administration will soon introduce a series of education reforms intended to increase teacher effectiveness. He also said he wants to increase access to career and technical education programs.

LePage also said he wants to “further reduce our tax burden,” although he did not give any specifics.

John Richardson — 620-7016

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