The criticism surrounding Maine Gov Paul LePage’s (R) plan to abolish the state income tax continued on Thursday, when a former state lawmaker confronted him during a town hall and left him with a momento — a jar of vaseline.
According to the Huffington Post, ex-state Rep. Joanne Twomey (D) challenged LePage over his proposed budget, which she said would hurt the state’s poorest residents.
“With all due respect, I was elected to speak truth to power, and I was in the state legislature for eight years, said Twomey, who was in office from 1998 to 2006. “I sat on those tax committees when they wanted to tax haircuts and tax you to go to the movies. But poor people, governor, can’t go to Disneyland.”
“Madam, you’re wrong,” LePage responded. Footage of the encounter shows a group of men approach Towney and pull her away by the arm, prompting boos from the crowd. She then approaches the stage with her back to the camera. As she is pulled away again, the small vaseline jar can be seen at the stage at LePage’s feet. The governor then ended the forum.
Twomey later said that the vaseline was a reference to a remark LePage made in 2013 about another Democratic lawmaker, state Sen. Troy Jackson.
“Senator Jackson claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline,” LePage said at the time. “He is bad. He has no brains, and he has a black heart.”
The Bangor Daily News reported that Twomey also criticized the forum, saying it was not “very democratic.”
“When he engaged and asked me a question I stood up and started to talk with him and answer him and try to tell him what I thought was wrong,” she said.
A spokesperson for the state Republican Party, Jason Savage, called on Democrats to “tone down” their rhetoric following the incident.
“We hear a lot from them about civility and tolerance,” Savage said. “Yet every time there’s an over-the-top attack scenario where something like this happens, it’s a Democratic activist.”
LePage was recently in a public row with author Stephen King, who blasted LePage for making him part of the issue by claiming King did not pay his state income taxes.
The confrontation, as posted online, can be seen below.