AUGUSTA – A spokesman is blaming “petty partisan politicians” for Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s decision to halt his nominations for individuals to state boards and commissions.

LePage’s adviser Michael Beardsley told a legislative panel Thursday that committees will not hold hearings scheduled on the governor’s nominations.

LePage spokesman Peter Steele said it’s wrong to put “highly qualified people” through a grueling process “for nothing.” Steele said LePage will withdraw nominations if politicians are going to punish people for volunteering for such positions.

The announcement came a day after a legislative panel opposed LePage’s nomination to the board of the Maine Turnpike Authority.

The Bangor Daily News reports lawmakers questioned deputy transportation commissioner Jonathan Nass’ stance on merging the turnpike authority with the transportation department. The governor supports such a change.

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