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Good morning. This is Maine Governor Paul LePage.

This Monday, January 17th is the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

I talk a lot about putting people first. Dr. King is someone who spent and ultimately gave his life making sure that people got a fair shake regardless of race.

He got his start in 1955 as a civil rights leader in Montgomery, Alabama at a time when blacks had to give up their seats and move to the back of the bus in deference to white passengers.

Dr. King led a 382-day boycott of the city’s bus lines. He was arrested, subject to violent harassment and his house was bombed.

Throughout it all, he stuck to his beliefs of non-violent protest and the Supreme Court ultimately determined that bus segregation was unconstitutional.

After the decision, Dr. King said, “We have gained a new sense of dignity and destiny. We have discovered a new and powerful weapon: Non-Violent Resistance.”

Which brings me to the recent deadly shooting in Arizona.

One young man resorted to the unthinkable.

One week ago, a gunman opened fire at a constituent event held by U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, killing six people and wounding 14 others. Representative Giffords, who police say was targeted for assassination, was critically wounded.

My thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the shooting. My condolences go out to the families of U.S. District Judge John Roll, Gabe Zimmerman, Dorothy Morris, Dorwin Stoddard, Phyllis Scheck, and Christina Taylor Greene.

This violence that was unleashed cannot be tolerated. This carnage is not what the United States of America was built upon.

You may be hearing blame being put on one political side or another for this ugly incident.

Some people have blamed the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country on the shootings. But the fact of the matter is no democrat, republican, green or independent politician pulled the trigger.

We, as a society need to come together for the people to find out why there is so much hostility surrounding the world today. Why our young people are being led astray.

As Governor, it is my mission to interact with the people I serve. It is my duty to understand how Mainers are doing.

It’s been a difficult few years for many people. The recession has taken hold of many lives. Home foreclosures topped one million for the first time ever. Times are really tough.

I will do everything I can to help Mainers have a better quality of life, grow business and help the truly needy. It’s why I am here. I will be held accountable for my actions and those who turn to violence will be too.

I hope this weekend as we celebrate Martin Luther King Juniors life we all take a moment to reflect on the other lives that have been lost in our great nation this week.

We have come far through the years, but the journey continues to make Dr. King’s Dreams a reality.

Thank you and please enjoy the holiday weekend.

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