AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Former Republican Gov. Paul LePage, seeking to return for a third term, attacked Democratic Gov. Janet Mills’ administration during a speech Saturday at the Maine Republican Party convention in Augusta. Civic Center.
He criticized Mills for everything from his handling of the pandemic to what he said were the state’s current economic woes and rising energy costs.
He sought to link Mills to President Joe Biden and faulted him for relying too heavily on one-time pandemic-related federal funds, saying “when the play money is gone, Janet Mills’ IOUs will come due. “.
His remarks were a continuation of attacks on Mills’ leadership during the pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions.
He criticized the $850 relief checks — a refund first suggested by legislative Republicans — in the governor’s latest budget that received bipartisan support as an election-year “gimmick.” LePage said the surplus should have been used to address tax reform.
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“Never has an administration done more to destroy Maine’s economic environment than the Mills administration,” LePage said. “Inflation destroys our prosperity. It destroys our very way of life.
Mills’ campaign has defended the governor’s actions during the pandemic, saying it has led Maine to have one of the lowest COVID-19 infection and death rates in the nation. The campaign also credited other efforts such as improved health care and education, property tax relief, and diversification of the state’s economy with well-paying jobs.
LePage checked off a series of political positions on Saturday, saying he is a supporter of the Second Amendment, is a strong supporter of school choice, supports the use of voter cards and would work to end the tax on state revenue.
“The idea that the harder you work, the more the government can get out of your salary is absurd,” he said.
He also said the state must do more to encourage those who are overly dependent on government assistance to “get off the couch and go to work,” adding that a stronger work ethic must be instilled in young people across the country. State.
“We have to teach them to work at a much younger age.” He said. “Eighteen is too late.”
LePage, who called himself “Donald Trump before Donald Trump became popular,” is known for his outspoken style, although aides have suggested he wanted to tone down his polarizing comments if elected.
Other speakers were Ed Thelander, a veteran and Navy SEAL who challenges Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree; former US Representative Bruce Poliquin and businesswoman and whitewater guide Elizabeth Caruso, who are vying for the nomination of the 2nd congressional district; and US Senator Susan Collins.
But the most publicized race will be the gubernatorial contest. Mills and LePage embark on what promises to be a tightly contested and costly race without an independent spoiler.
There is no love lost between the two.
The two fought when Mills served as LePage’s attorney general while he was governor. LePage hired his own attorney because he was unhappy with his defense of the administration.
Under the Maine Constitution, LePage was barred from seeking a third consecutive term. But he is allowed to run again after missing a term.
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