LePage goes to bat for furloughed National Guard employees

Gov. Paul LePage tried to exert pressure on Maine’s congressional delegation Wednesday by urging Mainers to demand that federally funded National Guard employees in Maine be put back to work. According to LePage, more than 300 Mainers in the Air and Army National Guard were affected by the shut-down of the federal government on Tuesday.

“Many soldiers and airmen who are considered ‘federal technicians’ are now deployed overseas,” said LePage in a written statement Wednesday afternoon. “But if they came home today, they would be furloughed because of the shutdown. This is just wrong. … This is a shameful tactic to use against Mainers who have put their life on the line to protect our freedoms.”

LePage suggested that Mainers contact members of the state’s congressional delegation to ensure that National Guard employees are included in the “Pay Our Military” act that went into law on Monday and requires that service members continue to be paid despite the shutdown.

You can see LePage’s letter to the congressional delegation by clicking here.

When the federal government closure took effect on Tuesday, LePage said all functions of state government would continue at least through the end of this week, but that a longer shutdown could affect everything from schools to public assistance programs administered through the Department of Health and Human Services.

LePage also used his sway on Tuesday on behalf of the Mount Desert Island area, which is reeling from the closure of Acadia National Park. He harshly criticized President Obama and Congressional leaders for their failure to enact a federal budget, or at least a six-week continuing resolution.

“The scenic wonders of Downeast Maine cannot be closed off by failed leadership in Washington,” said LePage. “Our great state has plenty to offer our frequent visitors, and they can’t take that away from us.”

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.