LePage spokeswoman says governor was left out of national monument hearings

Good morning from Augusta, folks, where maybe you won’t be able to see your breath today if you walk outside. I was at a youth baseball game Monday where I saw winter boots, pompom hats, LL Bean parkas, and one woman wrapped in a sleeping bag while yelling “one more strike, you can do it pal.”

It was a bizarre scene, for sure. But I’m not the weatherman, nor a sports reporter, so let’s get on with the Daily Brief.

Gov. Paul LePage’s administration chimed in on Monday’s public forums in Orono and East Millinocket over the possible creation of a national monument in the Katahdin region. Read the BDN’s coverage by clicking here if somehow you’re not aware of the situation.

Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s press secretary, said during a radio appearance on WVOM this morning that despite LePage disagreeing with independent Sen. Angus King over hosting the meetings with National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis, that the governor wanted to be invited.

“We think it’s interesting why this meeting took place,” said Bennett, who appeared in the Tuesday morning radio slot that’s usually reserved for LePage. “It’s unfortunate we didn’t get a direct invitation.”

King’s office has said the LePage administration was invited to the forum through the Maine Forest Service. LePage’s Chief Legal Counsel, Avery Day, presented a statement on behalf of the LePage administration at Monday evening’s forum.

LePage has been adamantly against the creation of a national monument in the Katahdin region because he views it as a barrier to future economic development, particularly in the forest products industry. That stance follows on the governor’s opposition to putting land in conservation in general.

Asked later in the morning whether LePage is out of the office this week, Bennett said only that he will be back on Friday. — Christopher Cousins


Quick hits

  • The State House is quiet these days, reserved largely for important public ceremonies, such as today’s honoring of emergency medical services professionals in the Hall of Flags, followed by a wreath laying outside and the reading of the names of eight Maine EMS providers who have died in the line of duty. The event, which will feature recognitions for several individuals and agencies, kicks off at 2 p.m. in the Hall of Flags and is open to the public.
  • In Washington, the halls of the Capitol are not so quiet with Congress at full tilt. Upcoming is a debate over a new tax credit co-sponsored by Republican 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin. The Senior Accessible Housing Act, which Poliquin introduced jointly with Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Florida, would provide a tax credit for senior citizens for the cost of making their homes more accessible by constructing entrance ramps, installing hand rails and other projects that would help an aging person avoid assisted living. The bill proposes a $30,000 lifetime cap on the tax credit.
  • Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King announced today that the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in East Boothbay has received a more than $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The project funded by the grant involves the study of, get ready for it: dimethylsolfoniopropionate. If want to know more you’ll have to click here. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list


DEFEAT THE PEPPERONI ROLL!!

I’ll be a lobbyist, just for a moment, in favor of the Maine lobster roll.

The political news organization Roll Call is hosting a tournament-style “Taste of America” competition that will eventually name the best food in America. Each state has an entry, from Alaska king crabs to Boston cream pie. It should come as no surprise that Maine’s entry is the lobster roll. Am I right? AM I RIGHT!?

Here’s where the surprise comes in: West Virginia’s Pepperoni Roll is beating the lobster roll nearly 2-1 with just three days (!) left in the voting.

What a travesty.

Has anyone ever heard of a pepperoni roll? What is pepperoni made of, anyway? How will West Virginia distinguish its “delicacy” in the next round if it has to face New York-style pizza, which is facing off against the Philly Cheese Steak?

I’m sorry, West Virginia, but “ours is the same, only round” is not a winning message.

Confession: Having never heard of it before, I clicked on the pepperoni roll in the brackets to learn more about it — I strive to keep the Daily Brief’s readers informed — and inadvertently cast a vote. I’m counting on YOU to counteract that vote. If you don’t have a reason yet to vote against pepperoni, here’s your soundtrack.

And while I’m ranting, how does Iowa get “bacon”? As someone else we all know said recently, the fix is in. — Christopher Cousins

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.