AUGUSTA, Maine — Fulfilling an inauguration speech promise, Gov. Paul LePage plans to meet privately with a half-dozen Mainers on Saturday during the first of weekly “constituent hours” that the new governor will hold in his office.
LePage, a Republican, will sit down privately with six individuals who previously contacted his office about speaking with the governor. In the weeks ahead, LePage plans to meet with up to eight people every Saturday — schedule permitting — with each session lasting 15 minutes.
Additionally, LePage plans to spend two hours making phone calls to individuals who either could not travel to Augusta for an in-person meeting or who were not among the first eight to secure a time slot with the governor. All told, LePage hopes to talk to 20 to 25 people each Saturday, according to Dan Demeritt, the governor’s spokesman.
“It’s not a long meeting but it will be one-on-one and a chance for people who might not otherwise be able to get time with the governor,” Demeritt said.
Demeritt said the appointments will be first come-first served and that the governor’s office likely will begin taking reservations for the next weekend on Tuesdays. There will be “no prescreening in terms of issues” for the meetings, which Demeritt said are intended for regular Mainers — not interest groups — to share their concerns with the governor.
In his inauguration speech in Augusta last week, LePage included a pledge to hold regular, face-to-face meetings with residents.
“I will host constituent service hours to meet directly with Maine people,” LePage told the crowd of more than 5,000 gathered in the Augusta Civic Center. “Come in, share your concerns, provide some ideas. If we disagree, I assure you we will talk about areas of common ground so we can inch forward because, folks, I’m not going backward.”
During his speech, LePage also announced plans to hold breakfast meetings with groups as well as monthly town hall meetings in each of Maine’s 16 counties.
“My intention, for myself and our commissioners, is to go around and learn from Maine people what they want their state to look like,” LePage said.
Demeritt said the one-on-one meetings would be private but said the individuals scheduled to sit down with the governor this weekend include a mother of a child with special needs, a resident concerned about the state of local roads and a business owner struggling to fill vacancies.
Because of security concerns, those interested in meeting with the governor will have to provide their dates of birth.