|Newly elected Governor Paul LePage declined NAACP invitations to a dinner Sunday and a breakfast Monday because of prior commitments.|
Maine leader offers pointed rebuff
Rejects criticism for not attending MLK Day events
PORTLAND, Maine — Maine’s governor told critics yesterday to “kiss my butt’’ over his decision not to attend the state NAACP’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations over the holiday weekend.
Governor Paul LePage declined the organization’s invitations to a dinner in Portland on Sunday night and a breakfast in Orono Monday because of prior commitments.
The NAACP’s state director said the group felt it was being neglected by the new governor, who was elected in November. The head of a Portland immigration group said it appeared the governor’s decision was part of a pattern.
When asked by a reporter yesterday to respond, LePage said: “Tell them to kiss my butt.’’
“If they want to play the race card, come to dinner, and my son will talk to them,’’ LePage said, referring to Devon Richard, a 25-year-old black Jamaican whom LePage took into his home at the age of 17.
After LePage declined the invitations, NAACP state director Rachel Talbot Ross told the Portland Press Herald the group was beginning to feel “we’re not welcome, we’re not part of the Maine he’s preparing to lead for the next four years.’’
Beth Stickney, executive director of the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Portland, told the newspaper she knows the governor is busy, “but this appears to be a pattern that’s going to continue.’’
Phone calls to Ross and Stickney were not immediately returned.