Maine Governor Paul LePage has been dubbed the country’s “Worst Governor,” and with good reason. The Republican has spent the entirety of his time in office attacking the poor, women, and his political adversaries. He’s the man who once told the NAACP to “kiss my butt,” thinks New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a “little bit shy,” and once said he wanted to shoot a cartoonist who depicted him unfavorably in the Bangor Daily News.
His actions are so vile and destructive that Democratic lawmakers have been looking for a way to get him out of the governor’s chair and back on the street where he belongs. After a huge abuse-of-power scandal came to light, liberal legislators in the state may now have all the ammunition they need and have begun prepping for impeachment hearings. One legislator complained that “We’re the laughingstock of the country…This is lower than low.”
The Portland Press Herald reported on Monday:
A group of House lawmakers will introduce an impeachment order against Gov. Paul LePage this week calling for a special committee to investigate eight separate charges against Maine’s controversial governor.The “order for impeachment” is the first step in a long-shot campaign to remove LePage from office and is likely to fan political tensions in the Maine House, where Republicans are expected to largely oppose it and some Democrats are leery of opening a legislative session on a highly partisan note. The House could take up the issue as early as Wednesday when lawmakers return for the first day of the 2016 legislative session.
Last year, LePage was outed for having egregiously abused his office by threatening to cut off the funding for a charter school that hired one of his political rivals. The Good Will-Hinckley school hired state House Speaker Mark Eves (D) for a top position, and when Governor LePage found out, he told them to fire the lawmaker “or else.” The school, afraid of having their funding cut off, did what they were asked and the chairman of the board of directors has said that the governor, did in fact, make the threats.
This is, of course, a massive abuse of the office LePage was elected to serve. Lawmakers are not allowed to use the resources of their state to attack people they do not care for, but the GOP governor didn’t care. He used his power to bully the school and hasn’t even really denied doing it, according to MSNBC. This wasn’t the first time he’d used his position to hurt a person or group of people.
In May 2015, the Tea Party governor took the state budget hostage and demanded a repeal of the state’s income tax, attacking Democrats for being “repugnant,” “disgraceful” and child-like before pledging to veto every bill with a Democratic sponsor regardless of merit until they gave in to his demands. He had no plans to make up the revenue he would eliminate by repealing the tax. Instead, LePage looked to other states without the tax, like Florida and Nevada, and thought that it sounded good. The problem with that is those two states are able to get by without state income taxes because they have enormous tourist industries to support them. Maine, on the other hand, does not have Disney or the Vegas Strip and lawmakers would have has to institute ginormous spending cuts to balance the budget — ultimately damaging the middle class and killing the bank accounts of the poor.
In another catastrophic move, the governor announced poor-shaming welfare reform in September of last year. His brilliant new “test” forced people to disclose their assets and if a person had $5,000 in savings or owns a recreational vehicle — like a jet ski, snowmobile, etc. — they will be denied food assistance. In LePage’s (and his fellow Republicans’) minds, a poor person who has fallen on hard times should never, ever be allowed to have fun. Further, they can not be permitted to save money for emergencies or to pull themselves’ out of poverty because it hurts his misguided sensibilities.
He has a long pattern of abuse, and the charter school scandal was just the catalyst towards ending the reign of the mad emperor. The process to have him impeached will be a long, hard road and the chances of it being successful are not incredibly high, but it is something that must be done. Governor LePage does not deserve to sit in his secure little world in the governor’s mansion, while reaching out to hurt other people. His policies are typical Tea Party policies which only serve to help himself and make his wealthy donors richer. He has no qualms about destroying the middle class and hurting families if that’s what he feels he needs to do to survive. That’s terrifying for the people of Maine.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.