People always used to warn me that someday I would miss Gov. Paul LePage.

It would usually come during one of the norm-shattering crises that he would inflict on us — like when he left an obscene and threatening voicemail message for a legislator, or when he tried to introduce a “pocket veto” to Maine politics, accidentally turning a bunch of progressive bills he hated into laws. Then there was the time he shut down the government just because, well, no reason, really. Just because.

I said I wouldn’t miss him and I was right – just not for the reasons I’d expected.

I would like to miss the former governor, but I can’t. He won’t let us.

He may live in Florida now, but he’s still a regular presence on local talk radio, complaining bitterly about the state he used to run. And last week he showed up on Fox News, joining host Laura Ingraham in trashing Maine’s biggest city before a national audience, claiming that it’s “overrun with immigrants.”

Ingraham was bouncing off a Wall Street Journal article, which quoted city employees concerned about a dwindling fund for asylum seekers, who are legally present in the country but cannot work and are ineligible for federal aid.

It’s a complicated problem but one Ingraham was able to sum up with a picture of eggs frying on a grill, and the words “This is your government on liberalism.”

She did admit to being confused about one thing, though — the fact that many of Maine’s immigrants come from Africa.

“I don’t get the Africa (connection),” she said. “The Somalis all went to Minnesota, and then they went to Maine. The two climates, I don’t get that at all.”

“Exactly, I don’t know,” laughed LePage — a guy who probably can’t understand why anyone would want to live here.

Since I live in Portland, I might be able to help the two of them out. They don’t come here for the weather.

Portland is a relatively safe city, something anyone would appreciate, but it’s especially important for those who just moved halfway across the globe to escape torture, prison or death.

There are jobs in greater Portland, and even if you don’t speak English well, you can find work cleaning offices or hotel rooms.

And, yes, there are services, like housing assistance, food pantries and English classes that can get a newcomer off to a good start.

Safety, opportunity, good services — in other words, the same reasons everybody moves anywhere. Mystery solved.

Portland is not perfect, far from it. A lot of the jobs that attract people don’t pay enough to cover rents, which have been bid up over years of a tight housing market.

The city has been hit hard by the opioid crisis, a problem the LePage administration chose to ignore.

The governor’s stinginess with school funding and revenue sharing along with his stubborn refusal to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid eligibility have put pressure on city services and local taxpayers, who may be near a breaking point.

Portland has problems, in the present and looming in the future. But overrun with immigrants? Please. We should be so lucky.

One of the factoids Ingraham and LePage pondeded was the idea that 75 percent of the city’s population growth over the last five years came from people who were born in other countries. Imagine that.

You would think the former governor of the country’s oldest state could have explained some of the facts of life to her.

See Laura, once you get to a certain age, you tend to stop having children. Maine is one of the few states where there are more deaths every year than births. Where else would population growth come from? Since declining population is associated with economic decline, that stat is good news for Portland. It means people want to be here.

Fortunately, LePage doesn’t run anything anymore.

I was up at the State House last week and a lawmaker warned me that things were going to be boring this year. So far, he’s right.

The first nine of Gov. Janet Mills’ nominees sailed through confirmation and are already at work running state agencies. We’ll find out how good they are when the next crisis hits, but until then it could be a little slow.

That’s OK. I’ve learned a few things in life: You don’t want a dog that’s smarter than you, and you don’t want a government that’s more entertaining than television.

Someday, I might find that I do miss LePage. But I’d like to have that opportunity.

Greg Kesich is the editorial page editor of the Portland Press Herald. He can be contacted at: [email protected]

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