Thursday, January 04, 2018


In June 2015, Good Will-Hinckley, a charitable organisation for at-risk youths that runs two schools in the State of Maine, hired Democratic House Speaker Mark Eves to be their next president. Governor Paul LePage, however, threatened to withhold $500,000 of state funding for the school if they hired Eves, due to his voting record against charter schools in the state. LePage’s choice to do so was labelled as ‘blackmail’ as well as ‘political interference’. As governor, he has made controversial remarks regarding abortion, the LGBTQ community, racial minorities, the death penalty, voting rights, campaign financing, the government and the environment that has sparked widespread national criticism including calls for impeachment. The Good Will-Hinckley board of directors rescinded its offer to Eves to be the next president of the organisation.

Why do I single out this example of political chicanery from the year before the shadow of the dire Drumpf fell upon the whole of the United States? Because the offer made to Mark Eve was that proposed to my father in 1955, albeit at a salary rather less than the annual $120,000 offered to the Democratic House Speaker. Pa accepted the position, moved us as a family from Scotland to the banks of the Kennebec River and for a couple of years ran Good Will-Hinckley in the spirit of its founder. I noted in my memoir as follows: "Founded in 1889 by Rev. George Walter Hinckley, Good Will was seen as both a philanthropic and educational venture. It was dedicated to the provision not only of schooling but also a true home ‘dedicated to the needy and deserving youth of character and ability from either broken homes or homes of extreme destitution’ to quote a 1958 brochure. The Good Will Home Association; an altruistic experiment in a three thousand acre campus.” Averill High School, where I graduated in 1957, was part of this quasi-utopia in which at the time a dangerous clown like Paul LePage could never have been imagined.

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