AUGUSTA, Maine — Anger over Republican Gov. Paul LePage led to a proposal in the Maine House on Thursday to create a process for recalling the governor, legislators and constitutional officers.
Rep. Cynthia Dill was quick to point out that her proposed order doesn’t single out LePage, who has drawn wrath from Mainers for some of his statements and most recently his order to remove from a state office a mural depicting labor history. The Portland Museum of Art on Thursday became the governor’s latest critic on the mural removal.
Dill, D-Cape Elizabeth, said her order stems from requests from residents frustrated about LePage’s actions.
“My proposal is prompted by the literally hundreds of people who have contacted me wanting a process to engage in, in response to what the governor’s done. So, it’s not me personally wanting to recall the governor,” Dill said after the GOP-controlled House set aside her order without action.
“I don’t necessarily support the recall of Governor LePage. I think he’s taken some very bold actions. I don’t agree with them; I don’t know if they rise to the level of a recall. I try to listen to my constituents and take action,” Dill said.
The order would direct the Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee to report out a bill establishing a process for recall of the governor, legislators and constitutional officers, who include the treasurer, secretary of state and attorney general.
While the Maine Constitution has provisions for impeachment, Dill said it doesn’t set out a process for citizens to initiate elected action to remove state officials from office. Nineteen other states have a recall process for state officials, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
While Maine has a process for citizens to mount efforts to repeal laws, as they did with same-sex marriage and a tax overhaul law in recent years, Dill said it has no parallel process to remove elected state officials.
Messages left by The Associated Press with LePage’s office and with the House Republican leader, Rep. Philip Curtis of Madison, were not immediately returned Thursday. But the assistant Senate Republican leader, Debra Plowman, told Maine Public Radio that Dill’s proposal doesn’t warrant serious consideration.
“This doesn’t rise to the level of what we need to be doing to get Maine on track. There’s a time and a place for this kind of exercise. I don’t see that it’s now; I don’t see that it’s a problem that needs to be solved,” said Plowman, of Hampden.