WINDHAM — Gov. Paul LePage discussed issues that he’s passionate about – reducing income taxes, reforming welfare, cutting energy costs and addressing Maine’s student debt burden – Tuesday night in his first town hall forum since he made national headlines with a racially charged remark at a similar meeting in Bridgton.

Tuesday’s meeting at Windham High School’s performing arts center drew about 150 people. There was no backlash from the comment LePage made Jan. 6 in Bridgton about out-of-state drug dealers impregnating a “young white girl” before leaving Maine.

The crowd was generally respectful, asking questions that gave the governor a chance to talk about his issues.

LePage said that eliminating the income tax would make Maine a more desirable place to live. “I believe our goal should be to get out of the income tax business,” he said.

At times he strayed from the issues, using his time on stage to talk about biased press coverage, the lobbyists he claims have taken over the halls of the State House, and overregulation that has created a “bloated government.”

“We are not competitive (with other states) because we are overtaxed and overburdened with regulations,” LePage said.


He urged the audience to hold their state legislators’ feet to the fire and vote them out of office in November if they don’t follow through on their campaign promises.

“My opponents can make up stories and get them printed. But I get demonized,” LePage said. “We need people in Augusta who will work for you.”

LePage also showed a sense of humor. When Dennis Dyer of Windham asked him if he would endorse the Republican nominee for president, LePage didn’t hesitate. “Absolutely,” he said. “It’s either going to be the Republican nominee or Bernie Sanders.”

LePage then raised his arms in the air and said, “I’m just kidding.” Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, is seeking the Democratic nomination for president. His chief opponent is former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

LePage has openly supported New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for president. Christie came to Maine several times to visit LePage and support his re-election bid in 2014.

LePage, who was first elected in 2010 after serving as the mayor of Waterville for eight years, is serving his second term as Maine’s governor. In his five years in office, he has earned a reputation as being outspoken.

“I hope that you understand one thing. I am not politically correct,” LePage told the audience as the meeting drew to a close. “I try to be straight up and tell you the truth.”


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