LePage faces contentious crowd at USM

Governor LePage holds town hall talk with contentious crowd at USM in Portland.

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --
At a town hall-style discussion Tuesday night,  Governor LePage endured a stream of criticism from protesters at the University of Southern Maine, just hours after Maine's Teachers' Union rallied against his education policies.

LePage was invited to the school by the Young Americans for Freedom, a conservative club at the school.

With police and USM  staff on crowd control, LePage did get to talk about education and other ideas, albeit with a dozen or so interruptions.

Student protesters saw an opportunity to reach the Governor.
They say his policies and statements encourage racist and extreme points of view.

“Through his statements, he's no doubt hurt people nationally,” said Madison Raymond, a USM senior. “I would say standing up to people in places of power, exercising our free speech rights  by disrupting, it got the point across”
Organizers of the town hall, a conservative activist group on campus, say the governor still hit his points on issues like taxes and energy.

They're also praising him for keeping a productive tone and not abruptly ending the event after it became tense.
“I think the governor did a good job in terms of staying civil and staying constructive,”  said Benjamin Bussiere, chair of the USM Young Americans for Freedom. “He waited until these people were done and they were removed.”
As for the Governor, he was interrupted about a dozen times -- mostly by people concerned about his record on race.

The took questions for over an hour, as he said he would, and thanked the crowd for their patience at the event’s conclusion.

“I want to thank you all,” he said. “Despite the commotion, I survived it.” 

© 2017 WCSH-TV


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