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Peas in an Anti-Union Pod: ABC of Maine Endorses Worker-Hater Paul LePage

"I take the wages, you see, and I just strangle them like this." (*makes throat-crushing sound*)

“I take the wages, you see, and I just strangle them like this.” (*makes throat-crushing sound*)

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The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Maine have endorsed Gov. Paul LePage in his quest for a second term.  Speaking to a crowd following the endorsement, LePage trumpeted his decision to veto a bill that would have raised the minimum wage. This was the primary reason he gave that non-union contractors should support his candidacy:

“It’s not the minimum wage I want; It’s a living wage that we need,” said LePage. “That’s how to create jobs. … Win, lose or draw, when I’m done in Augusta, the one legacy I would like to remain for generations is a partnership between government and the private sector. I want government to get out of the way and let them work.”

LePage has earned the support of the anti-union ABC by attempting to make drastic changes in government-labor relations during his first term. In 2011, he ordered the state’s Department of Labor to take down a pro-labor mural because he believed it sent a negative message to businesses.   In 2012, LePage claimed that his inability to turn Maine into a “right-to-Work” state was his “biggest failure.”  In 2013, during a Chamber of Commerce awards dinner, LePage promised “to be the next Scott Walker”:

“I will guarantee you that you will see the most vicious education campaign ads that you’ve ever seen in your life next year, because I am going to be the next Scott Walker in this country, because I am challenging the status quo,” declared LePage.

For LePage, concern for constituents comes with caveats. Take, for example, his attempt to trade Medicaid expansion for “Right-to-Work”.

His 2014 reelection bid is a bit murky, with a tight three-way race shaping up. The latest polls show Michael Michaud, a gay Democrat, with a slight lead.

It’s difficult to understand how any organization, even one with motivations as unscrupulous as the ABC’s, can endorse someone like LePage. Until, that is, you remember the organization’s former president, Kathleen Newman, is his Deputy Chief of Staff.

CREW (Citiziens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) says LePage’s agenda is “ALEC-written” and questions his integrity:

The first-term governor packed his administration with lobbyists and used his office to promote their environmental-deregulation agenda, and allegedly went so far as to fire a state employee who testified in favor of policies the administration opposed.

Gov. LePage also attempted to gut his state’s open records act, and is under investigation by the federal government for trying to bully employees of the state Department of Labor into deciding more cases in favor of business.

His other endorsement-worthy accomplishments? Being under investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Solicitor General for bullying employees and having Forbes Magazine name Maine the worst state for business for a third straight year.


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