Three of the four candidates for governor met in Bangor last night to discuss solutions for Maine’s opioid crisis, which claimed more than 400 lives through overdose deaths last year. Republican Shawn Moody was initially scheduled to attend, but canceled in favor of attending a car show in Arundel, where he unveiled a stock car featuring his campaign logo.
The forum, hosted by the Bangor Daily News in the Bangor Arts Exchange ballroom, featured addiction, law enforcement and health experts, as well as family members of Mainers dealing with addiction and members of the public. They discussed a list of specific needs identified as crucial to confronting the crisis, including expanded treatment through Medicaid and other health care programs and reducing the stigma surrounding addiction.
Attorney General Janet Mills, the Democratic nominee for governor, criticized her Republican opponent for cancelling.
“It turns out the reason Shawn Moody couldn’t find time to work on this life-and-death issue was something else altogether — he was at a car show unveiling a NASCAR stock car with his campaign’s slogan on it,” she tweeted. “As AG, I’ve distributed naloxone across Maine, saving nearly 500 lives to date. This issue is personal to me, like it is to so many families across Maine, and it will always be one of my priorities — as a candidate, and as Governor.”
Moody sent campaign manager Lauren LePage, daughter of current Maine Governor Paul LePage, to attend in his place. The younger LePage also subbed for Moody during several debates during his primary election campaign.
Gov. LePage opposes many of the solutions discussed at the forum, including expanded access to Medicaid. He vetoed three bipartisan bills meant to help address the crisis last month and has repeatedly stated that he doesn’t believe overdose victims’ lives are worth saving through medical intervention. Lauren LePage’s presence and Moody’s cancellation may be a sign that the candidate plans to continue the policies of his Republican predecessor.
Someone should ask "the surrogate" why her father @Governor_LePage vetoed every single bill this session addressing the opioid crisis and whether her new boss would have vetoed those bills also #mepolitics https://t.co/IByxUunRF0
— Drew Gattine (@dgattine) July 19, 2018
Images via Mills official account, WGME screenshot