LePage cancels meeting, cites 'tracker'

Dec. 4, 2012 at 6:46 PM
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AUGUSTA, Maine, Dec. 4 (UPI) -- Maine Gov. Paul LePage canceled a meeting with legislative leaders Tuesday, complaining state Democrats have been shooting video of his public appearances.

LePage, a Republican who rode the Tea Party wave to victory in the 2010 election, had been scheduled to meet with Democratic leaders in the Legislature to discuss an impending $35 million shortfall in the state budget. In a statement posted on his official government website, LePage said the tracker has been following him for "several months," but he didn't make an issue of it until Veterans Day, when the tracker videotaped his meeting with a military veteran whose health is failing.

"There was no need to have filmed this private discussion for political purposes," LePage said in a statement posted on the website. "The people of Maine are not props and I will not allow these special interest groups to use them to score political points."

LePage said he would not meet with legislative leaders until the "the Democratic leadership calls on its party organization to remove the 'tracker.'"

Tuesday's meeting was to have been the first between LePage and Democratic leaders since Democrats gained control of both houses of the Legislature in the November election.

Democratic Party spokeswoman LIzzy Reinholt told the newspaper the party secures permission from organizers to attend event and shoot video of LePage, The Bangor Daily News reported.

Incoming Senate President Justin Alfond and House Speaker Mark Eves said in a joint statement they "continue to stand ready to work with the governor."

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