Maine GOP Begins Taking Control of State Government
Republicans took the first steps toward taking formal control of state government today.
Governor-elect Paul LePage announced the members of his transition committe: Tarren Bragdon, head of the conservative Maine Heritage Policy Center; John Butera, executive director of the Central Maine Growth Council, a Waterville-based economic development organization; and Ann Robinson, an attorney for the Maine Republican Party. Together they will pave the way for him to assume the reins of the executive branch,
The new Republican State Senate majority also chose their leaders today, electing Kevin Raye as Senate President, Jon Courtney as Majority Leader and Debra Plowman as assistant Minority Leader.
Here's Governor LePage visiting with the new GOP senators in a video shot by Sun Journal political reporter Steve Mistler and posted on his new Tumblr blog, Maine Political Pulse.
The governorship brings with it a wide raft of appointed and staff positions, some of which LePage will be able to fill immediately upon assuming office and some that will come up for appointment during his term. These positions represent a big opportunity for the Republicans to radically reshape the practice and policy of state government without passing a single law.
Because the GOP now controls the state legislature, they will also have control over the election of constitutional officers like the Attorney General and Secretary of State.
As Matt Gagnon (who returned from a several-week blogging hiatus shortly after the election) notes on PTP, this could have long-lasting political implications, as it means the removal of a number of Democratic leaders from public positions and could give up-and-coming Republicans new platforms from which they can seek higher office.