When Republican Paul LePage was serving as governor of Maine in 2012, he voiced his support for a program designed to protect survivors of domestic violence in that New England border state. But the Bangor Daily News’ Erin Rhoda is reporting that the money that was intended for that program was spent elsewhere.
Maine’s anti-domestic violence program came about after Maine resident Amy Bagley Lake and her two children were murdered in 2011 by her estranged husband, who was out on bail. The program called for the purchase of monitoring devices that would alert police whenever someone accused of domestic violence showed up at an alleged victim’s home or workplace. $18,000 was raised for the program, and LePage promised an additional $18,000 that was meant to come from a state contingency fund — bringing the total to $36,000.
Rhoda, however, is reporting that “most of the money never went to electronic monitoring programs.” Citing Ryan Thornell (former executive director of the Maine Board of Corrections) as a source, Rhoda reports that Page’s administration “ended up spending $26,000 of the total on day-to-day jail operations.”
Kelly Gay, a friend of Lake and supporter of the program, handed LePage a check for $18,000 at a press conference in 2012. And Gay told the Bangor Daily News that LePage let down domestic violence survivors in her state by not using all of that $36,000 for the program is was intended for.
“To hear that now the funds that we raised were basically given away to some other account without so much as a word to us about it makes me feel deeply saddened and sick inside,” Gay told the Bangor Daily News.
Gay had no kind words for LePage, asserting, “Why weren’t the lives of the women and children in the State of Maine worth the funds that it would have cost to run a proximity monitoring program? Why was the money left just sitting there and then given away? Is a high balance in the state’s bank account that makes you look like a great governor more important than saving lives?”
LePage, now 70, served two terms as governor of Maine but was term-limited in 2018. Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat and Maine’s former attorney general, won the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race, defeating Republican Shawn Moody in the general election.