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Governor Reaffirms No Decision to Reduce Maine National Guard, Sends Letter to President Obama
May 22, 2014
For Immediate Release: May 22, 2014
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, (207) 287-2531
AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today reaffirmed his commitment to the Maine Army National Guard under his watch as Commander-in-Chief. Governor LePage this morning met with Adjutant General of the Maine National Guard, Brigadier General James Campbell, who provided a another briefing on the federal government’s scheme to reduce the National Guard across the country.
“Once again, no decision has been made, nor will it be for years,” said Governor LePage. “This issue has been mischaracterized in the media and politicized by liberal Democratic Representatives Chellie Pingree—whose office leaked the information to reporters—and Mike Michaud, who are trying to make it a campaign issue. It is shameful they would use the Maine National Guard members as pawns in their election-year tactics. I will say it again: While I am Commander-in-Chief, I will not do anything to harm the dedicated men and women of the Maine National Guard.”
On Thursday, Governor LePage sent a letter to President Barack Obama renewing requests to reconsider cuts to the Army National Guard. Under the President’s plan, the Guard would fall from about 355,000 to 335,000 personnel by 2017. Further reductions will take place if sequestration remains intact during fiscal 2016, dropping the Guard to 315,000.
“I am writing as the Commander-in-Chief of the Maine National Guard to express grave concern with your Administration’s proposal to significantly cut National Guard forces across the country,” the Governor stated in the letter. “I believe these cuts will harm national security and dramatically reduce the State of the Maine’s homeland security and emergency management capabilities.”
Governor LePage calls the cuts irresponsible, advocating that National Guard units are a cost-effective way to maintain combat capability while providing each State with a reliable and capable force to help maintain public safety and security.
“I understand fiscal restraints facing the federal government,” the Governor wrote. “Growth of welfare and entitlement programs and federal government bureaucracy have so consumed government that it is now forced to cut back on core government functions, like defense of the homeland. This proposal, however, is penny wise but pound foolish.”
The full letter is below.
In January, Governor LePage wrote a letter to the 49 other governors, urging them to contact their Congressional delegations and object to the federal government’s plan to reduce the National Guard.
In February, all 50 governors signed a letter to President Obama opposing the cuts to the National Guard.