LePage To NAACP: “kiss my butt” 

Governor Paul LePage was already hearing it from critics for deciding not to attend Martin Luther King celebrations on Sunday and Monday.That was before Friday morning, when he fired off a few choice words for his critics.LePage is no stranger to speaking his mind, that’s what some voters found appealing about him. He had been invited to Martin Luther King day events taking place in Orono and Portland.The Governor declined the invitations saying he had prior commitments. The NAACP responded saying they felt like they were being neglected by LePage.In Sanford Friday morning Governor LePage responded to that criticism. “They are a special interest. End of story…and I’m not going to be held hostage by special interests. And if they want, they can look at my family picture. My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it,” LePage said. Then LePage told reporters the NAACP could “Kiss my butt.”George Mathis, the President of the Bangor Area Chapter of the NAACP responded to the Governor’s comments. “He said it. And I’m not going to pass judgement on the man you know, he just got into office,” Mathis says. “All I’ll say is that for someone who would tell the President of the United States to go to hell, it does not surprise me that he would say anything like this. He has a lot of work cut out for him. “I didn’t vote for the man. But I am rooting for him that he will do what’s right for the people of Maine.”Criticism over LePage’s remarks is also coming from the national chapter of the NAACP as well. The President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous has issued this statement: “Governor LePage’s decision to inflame racial tension on the eve of the King holiday denigrates his office. His words are a reminder of the worst aspects of Maine’s history and out of touch with our nation’s deep yearning for increased civility and racial healing.” LePage says if critics want to play the race card, they can talk to his son, Devon Richard. Richard is Jamaican and the LePage family took him in around 8-years ago. In the past, Maine governors have routinely attended the Martin Luther King day celebrations in Orono and Portland, alternating years between the sites. LePage was also invited to sit down with the prison branch of the NAACP, but declined, saying he didn’t want to meet with just black prisoners. George Mathis says nearly half of the members of the prison branch of the NAACP are white.Mathis, who had a strong relationship with the previous Governor, John Baldacci, says he would like to sit down and talk to Governor LePage at some point. “My conversation with him will be about how can he better serve or help the people of Maine, the veterans community. Not about this take on what he feels the NAACP represents.”