BOSTON (CBS) – Maine Governor Paul LePage, under fire for an obscene voicemail left for another legislator, is also angering people in Massachusetts for a completely different reason.
At a meeting of New England governors in Boston Monday, a reporter asked LePage about the opioid crisis in the region and people bringing drugs from other states into Maine.
“Meth labs arrests are white. They’re Mainers,” LePage told the State House News Service.
“The heroin-fentanyl arrests are not white people. They’re Hispanic and they’re black and they’re from Lowell and Lawrence, Massachusetts, Waterbury, Connecticut, the Bronx and Brooklyn. So, I didn’t make up the rules, that’s how it turns out. But that’s a fact. It’s a fact. I don’t know what you do, you know. What do you want me to lie?”
That didn’t sit well with Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera.
“We could try to make boogeymen out of people that don’t look like him and some of the people that live in Maine, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to get to work on this together,” he told WBZ NewsRadio 1030 Tuesday.
In an interview with WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton, Rivera added that LePage should be working with his neighboring states to try to solve the problem instead of placing blame.
“We’re the New England states. We should be working together. We shouldn’t try to figure out who to point fingers at. At the end of the day it is a national problem,” Rivera said.
Lowell Mayor Ed Kennedy said Maine’s governor should get his facts straight.
“I was not so much surprised given Gov. LePage’s history for making outlandish remarks. But I was angry that he was pointing a finger towards Merrimack Valley. I think the Merrimack Valley is not the source of everyone’s problems and it’s almost ridiculous to put that notion forward,” he told WBZ.
“I was a little bit outraged and surprised. I think it just shows that the governor of Maine is ill-informed on the issue completely and doesn’t have a good understanding of it.”
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said the opioid crisis “doesn’t have boundaries.”
“The opioid crisis is not just a Massachusetts or a Maine crisis it’s a United States of America crisis and this is one area where the New England region may be able to engage the federal government in a collaborative approach to doing something about trafficking and that’s the way I think we should be thinking about it,” he told reporters Tuesday.
LePage said he is considering whether he should finish out his term as governor, but later added any reports of his “political demise are greatly exaggerated.”