BREWER, Maine — Maine is the fourth state in the nation to have an official crustacean, thanks to the dedication of a group of 8- and 9-year-olds from Brewer Community School.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage traveled to the school Monday morning to sign into law the bill that made the American lobster the official crustacean of Maine.
“You all accomplished a big thing here,” LePage told the roughly 100 third-graders seated in the school’s Performing Arts Center. He then called them down to crowd around the table as he read the bill and put pen to paper.
“It’s now the law,” LePage said, drawing cheers from the students.
Only three other states have official crustaceans. Louisiana gave that honor to the crawfish in 1983, Maryland recognized the blue crab six years later and Oregon in 2009 named the Dungeness crab its state crustacean.
“We wanted one for our state, too,” 9-year-old Allie Flagg said, explaining why she and her classmates brought forward and advocated for the legislation.
The Brewer Community School students went to Augusta last month to lobby for the bill, LD 1609.
The bill was sponsored by state Reps. Peter Lyford, R-Eddington; Arthur “Archie” Verow, D-Brewer; Kim Rosen, R-Bucksport; and Tori Kornfield, D-Bangor.
“It’s really awesome, because we made this happen,” 8-year-old Mitchell Mercier said.
After signing the bill, LePage spent a few minutes taking questions from the students.
When asked whether he liked being governor, LePage said he “loves working for the people of Maine” and that his favorite part of the job is meeting with members of the military and their families.
Another student asked if LePage liked whoopie pies, which were named the state treat in 2011.
LePage laughed, opened his suit coat and said, “Just look at me!”
His favorite food? Lobster.
LePage’s brief visit ended with high-fives before he left to return to Augusta for a noon meeting.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.