More students shame Gov. LePage with silent protest

More students shame Gov. LePage with silent protest

A dozen students from local schools stood in silent protest at Governor Paul LePage’s town hall in Lewiston last night, echoing the tactics and the message that two students at the University of Maine at Farmington used to shame him off of their campus a week ago. They held replicas of the orange sign with the words “LePage: Maine’s Shame” that UMF student Ally Hammond displayed at that event.

The students stood silently at the back of the room until they were escorted out by LePage’s security detail.

“We’re doing this because we want to show that we really are ashamed that he keeps making national news by degrading and insulting people who are dying of addiction, people of color and people who are poor,” said Carissa Tinker of Maine Student Action, the group that organized the protest. “We want Maine to be known as a positive place where our representatives actually respect and honor the people they are serving.”

Maine Student Action is a state-based, cross-campus organization formed last December, citing student movements connected to Black Lives Matter and the national campaign for a $15 minimum wage as influences.

The students also distributed fliers to the audience with a number of facts and figures on issues including immigration, public assistance, health care, climate change and the minimum wage that that LePage has lied about at previous town hall meetings.

“We’re working to dispel the narrative that college students are apathetic and don’t care about politics and what happens to Maine,” said Alex Serrano, a Southern Maine Community College student who participated in the protest. “We do have power and we do want to get things done. He keeps degrading and attacking disadvantaged people to making a buffoon of himself in the national spotlight. It’s not a good image for Maine.”

LePage halted his remarks to mock the protestors, telling them “you’re giving the United States a bad name.”

MESA members said their advocacy will continue and LePage might want to get used to seeing orange signs.

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