LePage to join Ben Carson as featured speaker at ALEC policy summit

Gov. Paul LePage, R-Maine. BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

Gov. Paul LePage, R-Maine. BDN file photo by Troy R. Bennett.

Gov. Paul LePage will be a featured speaker this week at the American Legislative Exchange Council’s States and National Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.

LePage is among a list of guest speakers that is stacked with high-profile Republicans, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, former Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson.

The three-day meeting has been billed as a chance for state- and federal-level lawmakers to discuss a unified policy agenda for 2016. That agenda is undoubtedly to include further efforts to reduce taxes at all levels. LePage’s push to reduce or repeal Maine’s income tax, which in recent months has been spearheaded by the Maine Republican Party through a petition to put an income tax question on the 2016 statewide ballot, is probably part of why LePage was invited.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, known by most as “ALEC,” has become increasingly influential as it has ramped up efforts to push a conservative national agenda in the states, including opposing efforts to fight climate change and privatize public education. The organization is funded heavily by the Koch brothers, who are among the nation’s top donors to conservative political campaigns and as such, regular targets for progressive groups and pundits.

LePage’s speech on Thursday is scheduled at the same time the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee could be wrapping up an investigation of the governor’s role in pressuring Good Will-Hinckley to rescind an employment contract with Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves.

LePage’s staff confirmed that he would attend the summit in Arizona and focus his remarks on tax reform.

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.