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Maine GOP leaders attend 'Unity Rally' in Lewiston

The Maine Republican Party is hoping to come together and take control of the Maine Legislature and Congress.

LEWISTON, Maine — Maine Republicans say they need to come together to win in November. To start that process, leaders spoke Friday morning at a Unity Rally, primarily discussing inflation in Maine and on a national scale.

Democrats currently have control in the White House, the Blaine House, Congress, and the Maine legislature. But Republicans say Mainers want change.

"There’s no need of this. We know how to fix this," former U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin said, referring to the 40-year record inflation and adding that he believes Republicans can fix it.

Poliquin is running for his old seat in Congress, which has been occupied by Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, for four years.

"You stop spending more money than you need to fund the government," he said Friday at the Maine GOP Lewiston Headquarters. 

Other Republican candidates agreed. 

Former Gov. Paul LePage said there are a few things he would do if re-elected to lower the cost of gas, oil, and groceries, such as eliminating the gas tax, recycling tax, and income tax.

He did, however, note that income tax would take some time to completely eliminate.

"First year, seniors. No more income tax on pensions," he said.

He added it would go up from there, taxing only people who make a certain amount of money until the income tax is completely eliminated.

"So, you don’t start paying income tax until you get to higher rates," he said.

When asked about the Maine GOP platform finalized at the party’s convention, LePage said he was not interested in changing laws as it relates to marriage equality and would make minor changes to women’s reproductive freedom.

"If we’re gonna use public funds to abort babies, let's use public funds to have the young woman carry it to term and give it up for adoption," LePage said.

But when it comes to teaching LBGTQ+ issues in the classroom, he said: "For a teacher in kindergarten to tell a child that the doctor made a mistake is repulsive."

Ed Thelander, who is running against Democratic U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree in the first congressional district, also spoke to supporters.

He also expressed concerned about inflation and said there are more ways to combat this problem.

"One of the things that is just really going to help immensely is actually starting to pump oil again," he said.

Maine Democrats released a statement after the rally: 

“There is a reason Paul LePage left office as one of the least popular governors in the country. As governor, LePage was an embarrassment who ruled by threat, insult, and chaos, pushing failed policies that hurt Maine’s families, economy, and environment, and fighting with Mainers of all stripes along the way. Now he's back, and contrary to the "unity" theme of this rally, he's still fighting with his own party about Governor Mills' bipartisan inflation relief program. Under Gov. Mills, the economy has grown at the 11th fastest rate in the nation, we have doubled the Rainy Day Fund, and we have delivered one of the strongest inflation relief measures in the country. We can't let LePage drag us backward once again."

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