In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Maine GOP Senators To Tea Partying Governor: Tone It Down

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Newscom

The senators, who represent a large chunk of the GOP's 20-14 majority over Democrats in the Senate, singled out LePage's handling of the Department of Labor mural for criticism, decrying the governor's unnecessary provocation of union supporters. LePage ordered a mural depicting a history of labor in Maine taken down last month in response to alleged complaints that it made business leaders uncomfortable and resembled North Korean propaganda. The move drew protests around the region and LePage said that he would "laugh at the idiots" who tried to prevent the mural being taken down through civil disobedience.

"Belittling comments, whether they come from the governor or his opponents, have no place in Maine public life," the lawmakers wrote. "By demeaning others, the governor also discourages people from taking part in debating the issues of the day - worrying if not only their ideas, but they themselves as people, will be the subject of scorn."

They added: "We are not the enemy of labor and labor is certainly not an enemy to us."

Maine has a tradition of electing moderate Republicans and the authors of the op-ed cited current GOP Sen. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins as well as former Sen. Margaret Chase Smith and former senator and defense secretary under President Clinton, William Cohen, as models for LePage to follow.

In a nod to bipartisanship, they also paid tribute in the piece to Maine's Democratic leaders, including former Gov. Edmund Muskie.