AUGUSTA — While Lenny Goodine has met Gov. Paul LePage before, he hoped to have a chance to pass on a brief message to him at LePage’s inauguration party Wednesday.

“I want to congratulate him, wish him well, and let him know this state worker has his back,” said the South China resident, who scored a ticket to the event from his friend, Jack Jolicoeur, of Winslow. Goodine, a military veteran, said he’s a big fan of the governor, as well as first lady Ann LePage, both of whom, he said, “have hearts of gold.”

Jolicoeur said he came to the inauguration party because he supports the reelected governor because “he’s honest, tight with a buck like I am” and started life with little or nothing.

They were among the many supporters of LePage to attend his inauguration party Wednesday night at the Augusta Civic Center.

Mark and Linda Bradstreet came from Searsport for the event. Linda Bradstreet said she wanted to come because she’d never been to an inauguration event before and because they wanted to support LePage.

“I’m active in the Republican party and just wanted to be here,” Mark Bradstreet said. “I’d like to congratulate (LePage) for what he’s done and wish him good luck with his next term.”

Dan Staples, a selectman in Cushing at the event with his wife, Cindi, was unable to attend the inauguration ceremonies earlier in the day Wednesday, at which the governor gave a speech hinting at some of his plans for his second term and said he wanted to work with state legislators for the betterment of the state. Staples said he liked that the governor said he would “reach across the aisle” to work with legislators from both major parties. Responding to part of LePage’s earlier speech in which the governor said Maine’s cities and towns need to work to cut costs and save taxpayer dollars, Dan Staples said he wanted the governor to know, at least in Cushing, town officials already are conservative in their spending.

With plunging temperatures and a growing, cold wind outside, the predominant fashion at the event appeared to be full-length winter coats and warm gloves. Although LePage, officials said, didn’t want the event to be a “black tie” formal event, many men wore suits and ties and women dresses for the celebration.

Francine Hicks, of Lisbon Falls, and Donna Madison, of Portland, who worked on LePage’s election campaign, wore blue and red dresses, respectively.

Madison said she couldn’t get off work to come to the inauguration ceremony earlier, so she was glad to be able to attend the party.

If they got a chance to talk to the governor, Hicks said she would “congratulate him and let him know we’re happy with what he’s doing, job-wise.”

Numerous legislators attended, including Republicans such as Augusta Rep. Matthew Pouliot and his wife, Heather, and Democrats such as newly elected Augusta Rep. Donna Doore and her husband, Tom.

Jayne Crosby Giles, a former Republican state legislator from Belfast who works for a finance company, said LePage’s earlier inauguration speech was impassioned and “came from the heart. He cares about people. He is trying to do the best he can for the people of Maine.”

The inauguration party included live music by the band Moon Dawgs, which has ties to LePage’s hometown of Lewiston and was specifically requested by the governor, food including bacon-wrapped scallops, crackers and cheese and shrimp, and cash bars serving beer and other drinks in plastic cups.

The LePage administration stressed it was a party, not a formal “ball.”

“In keeping with the Governor’s wishes, the Inaugural Party will not be a ‘Ball’ and, as such, it will not be black-tie,” a statement on the website set up for the inauguration said. “The Inaugural Party will be an evening to enjoy a special live band, dancing and the company of fellow Mainers. There will be hors d’oeuvres and cash bars. There will be no formal receiving line at the event.”

The auditorium of the Augusta Civic Center was decorated in red, white and blue balloons and table settings.

Media access to the evening party, according to Lauren LePage, a co-director of the inauguration and the governor’s daughter, was limited to 45 minutes in the lobby just inside the main entrance to the Augusta Civic Center. Media was not allowed to enter the auditorium floor, where the party took place, but was allowed into the upper seating section of the auditorium — out of earshot of the attendees below — to observe the early stages of the event.

Administration officials said Maine taxpayers would not be responsible for any “core expenses” of the event. They said the nonprofit organization LePage Inaugural 2015 was established to raise private funds and pay for the expenses of the inauguration and party.

About 2,600 people were expected to attend the party, which was scheduled to continue until 11 p.m. Wednesday night. Tickets were required and most attendees were mailed invitations. Those who did not receive an invitation could fill out and email a request form for tickets, “should tickets become available,” according to the inauguration website.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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