In response to Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal for individual cites and towns to opt out of providing general assistance for those in need, let me be one of many who ask: Is he out of his mind?

For a person who overcame such odds as LePage did (abusive childhood and being on his own since he was a teen), I find him to be a man with little or no conscience for the needs of today’s people struggling with poverty.

Sure, he may have walked in those shoes and considers himself a success, but that was, what, 40-plus years ago?

Forty years ago, Maine was an entirely different state with regard to available entry-level jobs. Forty years ago, Maine was teeming with manufacturing jobs from textiles and tanneries to paper mills and later on videocassette and compact disc manufacturing.

An inexperienced person could walk in, apply for a job and be hired that same day. I’m not exaggerating, I did just that in 1986.

I ask LePage: Where are those jobs today, governor? That’s right, they’re gone. A person today, whether homeless or not, has nowhere near the opportunities our governor had back in his day.


Will the needy who live in cities/towns that choose to opt-out of providing aid be forced to move to places that still provide it? Will the needy have the means to make such a move? Furthermore, what will that do to those places already burdened with people needing help?

The governor, in his headlong drive to balance the state’s budget, is missing this crucial piece to the puzzle, and the result will be disastrous. What LePage is proposing could be the rock that drowns the Mainer already struggling in today’s economy.

Sue Packard


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