New LePage spokesman has work cut out for him

Posted July 15, 2011, at 5:32 p.m.

And yet again it appears I was passed over for the position as Gov. Paul LePage’s director of communications.

Insert heavy sigh here.

I’m kidding, of course. I didn’t really apply for the job.

It’s fairly common for reporters, columnists and editors to leave their journalistic pursuits behind and slither on over to the arena of public communications.

It happens all the time. Some go for the money, some for the prestige and some for more manageable working hours.

It’s a logical transition. Who better to know how to sell or spin a story than those accustomed to writing or airing those same stories?

We have great contacts.

Some come back to the messy and unpredictable land of journalism, and some don’t.

Jeanne Curran used to work for the Bangor Daily News and is now the spokeswoman for the Department of Conservation. Deborah Turcotte used to work for the BDN and now is the spokeswoman for the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

John Ripley worked for the BDN and then worked in the press office for former Gov. John Baldacci.

Mark Woodward left the BDN’s ivory tower to head to Washington, D.C., to work for Sen. Susan Collins — and then returned as our executive editor.

Donna Gormley, Crystal Canney, Felicia Knight, Joe Carr, Ned Porter …

The list goes on and on.

Steve McCausland, longtime spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, started his career as a TV journalist. As a TV reporter, he once helped end an armed standoff at the Maine State Prison in Thomaston.

BDN’s famous former Shop Girl now works in the communications department at the University of Maine.

I’ve thought of it myself on occasion.

To be honest, it is McCausland’s job that I’ve secretly coveted, but he’s good at it and seems to be happy there, so here I sit.

I’ve never actually tossed my hat in the “communications director or spokesperson ring.”

I got thinking about that recently as I pondered who perhaps sent in their resumes to be Gov. LePage’s spokesman.

A brave soul, no doubt.

It pays somewhere around $81,000 a year, so that’s some pretty fine motivation in this economy. I can guarantee you it well outpaces most journalistic salaries here.

This week it was announced that Peter Rogers had been named LePage’s communications director.

I think he’s a wise choice.

Rogers is currently the deputy commissioner for the state Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management.

He served as the primary spokesman for the Maine National Guard during the Gulf War and the first several years of the Global War on Terror.

Perhaps, more important, he is married and has five — count ’em — five daughters.

And he likes us. The media I mean, and the media like him.

He’s a respectful sort of guy.

Diplomatic.

He is everything that Paul LePage needs so that the work the governor is doing is not constantly overshadowed by the ridiculous responses he makes to the press.

Rogers has his work cut out for him, but one hopes his experience with the Gulf War, the War on Terror and raising five daughters has provided him with some of what he’ll need to survive the public persona that is LePage.

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