Maine Event

From the Sun Journal:

AUGUSTA — Gov. Paul LePage has ordered the removal of a 36-foot mural depicting Maine’s labor history from the lobby of the Department of Labor.

Worker advocates described the move as a “mean-spirited” provocation amid the administration’s high-tension standoff with unions.

extrememakeoverhomeeditionmaineOriginal DVD cover

Acting labor chief Laura Boyett emailed staff Tuesday about the mural’s pending removal, as well as another administration directive to rename several department conference rooms that carry the names of pro-labor icons such as Cesar Chavez.

According to LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt, the administration felt the mural and the conference room monikers showed “one-sided decor” not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals.


The mural was erected in 2008 following a jury selection by the Maine Arts Commission and a $60,000 federal grant. Judy Taylor, the artist from Seal Cove, said Tuesday that her piece was never meant to be political, simply a depiction of Maine’s labor history.

The 11-panel piece depicts several moments, including the 1937 shoe mill strike in Auburn and Lewiston, “Rosie the Riveter” at Bath Iron Works, and the paper mill workers’ strike of 1986 in Jay.


Taylor said the administration’s decision to remove the mural was “terrible.” She said her 2007 selection by the Maine Arts Commission was the “commission of a lifetime.”

Taylor said she’d never heard that her mural painted an unflattering picture of business.


Demeritt said the administration’s decision wasn’t designed to antagonize organized labor. In recent weeks, labor groups have been gathering at the State House to protest LePage’s budget, which proposes cuts in retirement benefits for unionized state workers and teachers. In addition, LePage has said the state “is going after right-to-work,” legislation that labor groups say is designed to destroy unions through a bleeding of finances.

Labor advocates had a strong reaction to the mural’s pending removal.

Mike Tipping, a spokesman for the Maine People’s Alliance, a progressive organization, said LePage had been “elected to create jobs, not to be the state’s interior decorator.”


Matt Schlobohm of the Maine chapter of the AFL-CIO said it was understandable for the administration to have different priorities. However, he said, a depiction of history should “rise above” political ideology.


Demeritt said he didn’t know when the mural would be removed. In her e-mail to the Labor Department, Boyett said there would be a contest to rename the committee rooms.

Demeritt said the rooms could be named “after mountains, counties or something.”

One of the current committee rooms is named after Frances Perkins, the U.S. labor secretary under President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Perkins became involved in labor reforms following the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire that resulted in the deaths of 146 garment workers in New York City.

Friday marks the 100th anniversary of that fire.

Perkins’ parents were from Maine.


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41 responses to “Maine Event

  1. Why not go all out and name the rooms after the types LePage admires? The Charles Ponzi Conference room, Bernie Madoff Auditorium, the Charles Keating Cafeteria, the Ebbers Atrium, and the Ken Lay archive room.

    (I missed you, Nonnie!!!!!!! 😀 )

  2. this guy is a complete and total christie (which is aka a shithead) — i still blame the media for all this – they love the soap opera and will NOT call any of them out – — while lepage is a turd to the nth degree – we have so many turds running this country we are almost at cess pool level

    • he’s a christie without a brain. i blame the media, too, dcAp. these guys are so unappealing in every way, and the media has turned them into folk heroes. what kind of shit is this? when’s the last time there’s been a substantial tea party event? it’s been a very long time, yet every time someone who calls themselves a member of the tea party sneezes, it gets reported. on the other hand, how often do we see the huge protests going on now on the news?

  3. I’m glad that Maine has no bigger problems than a mural that celebrates labor at the Department of Labor.

    Perhaps the state police headquarters should now put up some posters celebrating major criminals? You know, to be fair and all.

    • and isn’t it comforting to know that, even though they have such a horrible budget crisis, they can waste money on a new mural?

      • On the other hand, it’s nice to see the Republicans abandoning all pretense of caring about normal people. The idea that even a mural can’t celebrate working people is so absurd.

        Ugly, mean, and a waste of money … but at least he’s more honest than most, right?

        • it’s amazing to me that frank luntz isn’t telling these people that they look like heartless asswipes who don’t give a damn about ordinary people. of course, they’re not supposed to give a damn about ordinary people, but they aren’t supposed to look like it.

          • I think that they’ve hit the point that they really don’t care about looking like they do anymore.

            They’ve managed to make words like “compassion” into bad things that conservatives don’t admire. Either they call them buzzwords, or have simply derided the virtues until they’re seen as evil. The idea that Ayn Rand is celebrated by the Right now, when she was originally panned as a degenerate, really illustrates the point. The original “National Review” articles about her are amazing compared to how she’s viewed now.

            When people think that “social justice” is a code phrase for something diabolical, then you’re free to be openly heartless.

  4. Your tax dollars in reverse????
    $60,000 Historic whitewash re labor.
    Maybe they can get a mural that depicts tax cuts for the wealthy….
    or just a glorified almighty dollar?

    How to combine all the elements of the corporate world:
    Bankruptcy, Corporate Welfare, Exploiting Labor
    A giant screw???

    Not all that abstract, Eh?

    • maybe he can commission a portrait of his big fat mouth. that’ll be big enough to cover all the walls, and it’s symbolic of what he would do for his corporate sponsors (kneepads sold separately).

  5. LePage’s spokesperson is named “Demeritt?” Yeah, the guy deserves a demerit for working for a tool like that.

  6. Sad fact is the well to do despise working people and the rest of us commoners not in the Lucky Vagina Club. The best murals will show a representative time line of what is relevant to where we are now, not some pipe dream. Just look back at the fuss made when Benton did a great mural depicting the evolution of Missouri that included the Pendergast political machine with a little obscure congressman in the backgound who threw off that corrupt influence to rise to President. Would it be proper to paint over Harry and pretend he wasn’t involved? Hell no, you use the example of overcoming the crooks and rising above it all as a redeeming point. It is really something watching all these new guys trying to get the Gaulieter of the Year award. And it is getting more bizarre with the revealed Email to Walker from some Goper big shot with a plan for a fake assasination plot to get public sympathies like Gabby. Sadly, she had to take a real bullet in the head and a lot of innocent people had to die from that 30 round magazine. Compare that to the California hunting regulation that you must have a plug (THREE bullets max) in hunting rifle or you are in major trouble with the law.

    • i think the greatest act of chutzpah was renaming the d.c. airport after st. ronnie, even though he had fired the air traffic controllers there. that’s what these people do. they literally rewrite history. that’s the case here, except their using paintbrushes instead of textbooks. they prattle on and on about how great this country is, yet they find it necessary to erase and/or edit most of its history.

  7. If they want to put up art that honestly depicts Republican themes, I nominate the LePage portrait at the top of this very post (for that matter, you could provide them with an endless supply). Or maybe this.

    • ewwwww!!!! that image is sick! it’s true, but it’s gross.

      if they want to commission a work from me, i would be very happy to take them up on the offer, as long as i decide what it will be. i don’t think i’ll be sitting by the phone waiting for their call. 😦

  8. Hmm, now Maine has been infected. A little too close to home for my liking. Incidentally, our pernicious Conservative government up here is about to fall today, giving us the chance to vote them out. Rejoice!

  9. Friend of the court

    they hate labor so much that they don’t even want to look at pictures of it. next they will change the name to the “Department of Owners.”

  10. I (sadly) read about this yesterday. The good thing is that you continue to create quickly!

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  12. jeb

    This just gives proof to the lie that all of these little St. Ronnie wannabees don’t hate unions, they’re just trying to balance budgets. In the meantime, St . Ronnie’s chickens continue to come home to roost. In the latest example two planes on Wednesday landed – ironically – at Reagan National Airport with no air traffic controller assistance. Seems that at night there is only one controller on duty and he disappeared for 15 minutes. Used to be there were at least two at all times in a major airport but that was just the damned union trying to ensure that their members were taken care of.

    As these greedy suckups continue to try their damndest to break the middle classs for their corporate masters, education will decline, safety will be in jeopardy and someone will have to dig up Upton Sinclair to document the new horrors.

    • people need to be reminded that unions don’t just look out for the safety of their members, but for the safety of the consumers. i, for one, would feel much more secure with a pilot who is in a union than one who isn’t. wouldn’t people feel safer when employees can address their fears of harm to consumers without worrying about losing their jobs? do you want the guy who is putting your new car together to feel like he can’t address his fears that the car is a deathtrap, because he’s afraid of being unemployed if he says something?

  13. Demerritt? LePage? Wait until the RNC finds out that French people have infiltrated their party! No Freedom Fries for them!

  14. jean-philippe

    When you look at his rough childhood, it’s very sad to see he doesn’t care about protecting the poorest people of Maine:

    • people who are bullied grow up and either are empathic toward other people, or they become even bigger douchebags than the people who bullied them. it seems his douchebag qualities kicked in early. he’s said that he used to steal candy from kids.

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