AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage will hold a town hall-style public meeting Wednesday evening in Biddeford, the first in what he has said will be a new round of community forums where he can talk directly to Maine voters.

He will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents, according to a press release issued by his office Tuesday.

LePage will be at Biddeford Middle School, 25 Tiger Way, from 6 to 7 p.m. The meeting is open to the public and seating will begin at 5:30 p.m. Bags, beverages and signs are not allowed in the performing arts center.

According to the release, the next round of meetings will focus on LePage’s two-year state budget proposal and on “protecting the elderly and preventing harm to the economy that could result from citizen initiatives.”

The town hall-style meeting is the first for LePage since last August in North Berwick. Remarks LePage made during that meeting about minorities and drug dealers set off a two-week storm of controversy that drew national media attention to Maine after LePage left an obscenity-laden voice message for state Rep. Drew Gattine, D-Westbrook. LePage believed Gattine had called him “a racist.” Gattine had only said LePage’s comment that “90 percent” of those arrested for drug-trafficking crimes were black or Hispanic was “racially charged.”

Amid the controversy, LePage claimed to have proof in a three-ring binder, where he said he was keeping track of drug arrests and booking mugshots. A review of the binder through a public records request showed only 40 percent of the photographs depicted black or Hispanic individuals.

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