Maine loses the next three years of its future — unless something changes. Gov. Paul LePage, the Lewiston brawler, always takes things too far. His latest attack and promise to personally hurt his fellow Republican, Sen. Roger Katz of Augusta, gives voters a “bridge too far” to cross.

First, LePage allegedly avenged himself on House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, by costing him a new private job, depriving Eves the opportunity to support his family. The methods charged have been blackmail and intimidation against Eves’ new employer, Good Will-Hinckley, by apparently threatening to withhold state funding to the school.

A civil lawsuit against LePage by Eves is pending at the federal level.

Now, instead of co-operating in an investigation and hearing on the subject, the governor, who sees a conspiracy against him on every issue, has launched an attack on Katz, who co-chairs the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee. He falsely charges Katz with instigating a “witch hunt” against him, while knowing full well that both Republican and Democrat lawmakers on the committee called for an independent investigation.

Republican Senate President Mike Thibodeau, along with other members of the committee, have been quick to defend Katz as the most impartial and best equipped by experience, record and legal training to head the inquiry into the governor’s actions regarding Good Will-Hinckley.

The governor’s new personal threats — this time against Katz — once again are way over the line. LePage tells the media that his turn is coming, perhaps indicating that he will rain retribution on Katz.

The governor, attempting to play the victim, says that Katz has opposed him since 2011, but he “doesn’t know why.”

The facts are that Katz has been mostly supportive of the governor and helpful with LePage’s agenda over the past few years. For example, Katz negotiated a five-year limit on welfare benefits and he sponsored the governor’s goal to prohibit the use of food stamps to buy junk foods.

As a leader of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, Katz helped negotiate significant tax cuts proposed by the governor. And he has supported the governor’s position on charter schools.

Unlike the governor, however, Katz has not been an obstructionist, but has worked as an exemplary guiding force toward reason and compromise.

Meanwhile, LePage is not doing the job of governor to which he was elected.

• He refuses to meet with Thibodeau to discuss the upcoming legislative session.

• He continues to withhold voter-approved Land for Maine’s Future conservation bonds.

• He does not allow administration members to appear before legislative committees unless written questions are submitted in advance.

• He refuses to appoint members of various boards and commissions, thus impeding their important work.

• He attacks many members of the Legislature, including some of his biggest supporters, such as the Senate president.

It’s not easy, but our governor has managed to alienate just about everybody.

Although Katz and his record of public service need no defense, it might be good to know how his hometown of Augusta feels about him as evidenced by these excerpts from an Oct. 1 resolution of the Augusta City Council:

“Whereas, Roger Katz, former mayor of our city and presently our state senator, has distinguished himself by working with every group and every point of view to achieve consensus, and

Whereas, as Margaret Chase Smith professed: “My creed is that public service must be more than doing a job efficiently and honestly. It must be a complete dedication to the people and to the nation with full recognition that every human being is entitled to courtesy and consideration, that constructive criticism is not only to be expected but sought, that smears are not only to be expected but fought, that honor is to be earned and not bought.”

“Now, therefore, be it resolved that the mayor and council of Augusta do hereby acknowledge the many bipartisan efforts of our Sen. Roger Katz and commend him for his distinguished public service.”

That will be Katz’ legacy.

In a previous column, although highly critical of the governor, I stopped short of suggesting removal. I have changed my mind. Since he never will resign, I believe that if LePage is ultimately deemed responsible for “abuses of power” it will be time to consider a bill of particulars, leading to indictment and a vote for possible impeachment of this deeply disturbed governor.

To use LePage’s own words: “You can’t fix stupid.”

Don Roberts, a former city councilor and former vice chairman of the Charter Commission in Augusta, is a trustee of the Greater Augusta Utility District.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: