Monday, April 23rd, 2018

LePage a no-show for energy forum at USM

Posted on September 15, 2014 in News
By Sam Hill

Mike Michaud, Democratic candidate in 2014 for governor of Maine attends energy forum at USM.
Bruce Raymond | The Free Press
Mike Michaud, Democratic candidate in 2014 for governor of Maine attends energy forum at USM.
People gather for an energy forum hosted by USM. This forum would be the first time Maine’s three gubernatorial candidates would speak in the same place. However, Governon LePage did not attend due to a disagreement of format.
Bruce Raymond | The Free Press
People gather for an energy forum hosted by USM. This forum would be the first time Maine’s three gubernatorial candidates would speak in the same place. However, Governon LePage did not attend due to a disagreement of format.

An energy forum hosted at USM was supposed to be the first time Maine’s three gubernatorial candidates would speak in the same place, but come Friday morning Governor Paul Lepage refused to participate.

After a continental breakfast and networking period, each candidate was given a half hour block of time to speak on their energy plans and take questions from the office. According to LePage’s campaign, he decided to leave over a disagreement with the format of the event.

“Unfortunately, staff at an event today attempted to arrange a setting to put politics ahead of public policy,” wrote Alex Willette, LePage’s spokesman, in a statement on the forum. He said that LePage thought he would be speaking alone at the event and would not have to interact with other candidates.

Jeff Marks, the executive director of E2Tech, said that the event was spelled out for candidates and the event had been planned for a long time. Candidates were welcome to attend the breakfast and stick around for each other’s comments, but were only responsible for being there for their allotted half hour.

The first half hour, which was supposed to belong to Lepage, left the audience waiting as organizers spoke about E2Tech’s sponsors and programs at length while trying to figure out what had happened with LePage.

LePage was able to make a public appearance, but it was at the unveiling of a new, Maine-branded car to be driven by NASCAR driver Austin Theriault in the upcoming Nationwide Series race at the Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 20.

Congressman Mike Michaud arrived just in time to speak during his time block and only mentioned LePage when discussing his energy policies. Michaud did not stay after his own remarks to listen to candidate Eliot Cutler.

“On behalf of all three candidates, I want to apologize to you for the shenanigans this morning. That’s not what democracy should be all about,” said Cutler before he spoke on his energy plan. “It’s a disservice and frankly an insult to you as voters.”

Cutler said that he would make it his goal over the 53 days left before election day to make sure that voters would not see a similar spectacle again.

“It’s not just about being better than LePage, about wielding the veto pin less or about being a nicer person. Those are all pretty low hurdles,” said Cutler on the gubernatorial race, cueing laughter from the audience. “It’s about putting someone in charge as governor who can look beyond the next four or eight years and make smart decisions about Maine’s long term future.”

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