LePage, GOP begin State House transition

Posted Nov. 04, 2010, at 1:52 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 05, 2010, at 5:39 a.m.
Paul LePage shakes hands with supporters at his election watch party in Waterville on Tuesday night.
Paul LePage shakes hands with supporters at his election watch party in Waterville on Tuesday night.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The earliest blueprint of Gov.-elect Paul LePage’s new administration will come into view Friday, when the first Republican to be elected Maine governor in two decades announces details of his transition team.

LePage is to name co-chairmen of the team and outline a process and timeline for carrying out its work. Maine’s two-term Democratic Gov. John Baldacci is pledging his full cooperation.

Tuesday’s elections will drastically alter state government: The GOP took control of both the House and Senate for the first time since the 1973-74 session.

LePage staffers offered few details Thursday about the transition, but a seasoned lawmaker and former GOP gubernatorial candidate offered his help.

“I told LePage I would really like to be involved in his transition work,” said outgoing Sen. Peter Mills. “I want to be helpful in a big way.”

Mills, of Cornville, is knowledgeable in state budget and tax matters, having served on committees that oversee those areas as well as other complex programs such as Medicaid.

The newly elected Republican Senate majority will meet Friday to elect its floor leaders for the 2011-12 session and choose a nominee for chamber president. Two candidates for president are GOP senators Kevin Raye of Perry, who is the floor leader, and Richard Rosen of Bucksport, a former assistant floor leader.

Senate Democrats and the two House caucuses plan to meet later in the month to select their leaders for the new session. The newly elected House and Senate members will be sworn in Dec. 1.

Already five Republicans’ names have cropped up as candidates for House speaker, a position long held by Democrats who controlled the chamber. They are Reps. Paul Davis of Sangerville, Robert Nutting of Oakland, Patrick Flood of Winthrop, Andre Cushing III of Hampden and Stacy Fitts of Pittsfield.

New faces in the Capitol also likely will include three constitutional officers — state treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general — as the GOP majority finds itself in the position of filling those high-profile offices for the first time in decades.

Those three offices are filled by the Legislature for two-year terms. The current occupants, Attorney General Janet Mills, Treasurer David Lemoine and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, are all Democrats.

William Schneider, a former state representative and now assistant U.S. attorney, confirmed he is interested in serving as attorney general.

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