November 29, 2010

On LePage's transition team

By Susan M. Cover
State House Bureau

and Rebekah Metzler
MaineToday Media State House Writer

Last week, Gov.-elect Paul LePage announced the names of 35 volunteers who would aid his transition.

Many names were well-known in political or business circles, from outgoing state Sen. Lisa Marrache, a Waterville Democrat, to Mary Adams, a conservative advocate and staunch TABOR proponent, to Peter Geiger of Lewiston-based Geiger Bros.

And while the LePage team provided descriptive, if brief, biographies for most named, there were a few names that resulted in more questions than answers.

"Bill has worked in the energy business for over 30 years, holding upper level management jobs both in the United States and England. Thirteen years ago, he started and ran his own energy brokering business, which he sold this last spring," stated the entire bio for William W. Boeschenstein.

Then there's the trio connected to the small, Midcoast town of Bristol: Philip Congdon, Dana Dyer and Ralph Hassenpflug. All three are active in the local community, serving on local boards and committees, according to the release, which also provided these details:

  • (Congdon), currently retired, has an extensive background in management, primarily his role as director of Texas Instruments' System Technology Laboratories.
  • Dyer, a retired captain for United Airlines (flying primarily international routes to South America, the release stated), has volunteered for Boy Scouts of America and served as a public affairs director for the Mormon Church in South Florida.
  • Hassenpflug is a registered Maine Guide and a homeschooling dad, with a background in "teaching at the college level and investment management."

LePage spokesman Dan Demeritt later provided more context about how the governor-elect came to know each one.

"Bill Boeschenstein is a 40-year friend of Bruce Poliquin; they went to Andover and Harvard together," Demeritt said.

Poliquin, a former Wall Street hedge fund manager, is LePage's former Republican primary opponent and current pick for state treasurer.

Boeschenstein, a former Conoco executive, has extensive experience in the energy field. After leaving Conoco in 1994, he served as a derivatives broker for energy markets, helping companies such as BP hedge their exposures in the commodities market, Demeritt said.

As for the big Bristol three, a tipster who said he knew Dyer and Hassenpflug said they were were "members of the Constitutionalists."

Demeritt said the trio — Congdon, Dyer and Hassenpflug — all supported LePage before the primary, and that Lepage met them on the campaign trail.

"They are constitutionalists, and I think they prefer you use that more as an adjective than a noun," said Demeritt. "I talked to (Dyer) and he said it's kind of serendipitous that they live in the same area, but that's kind of how they all connected, the three of them anyway."

Dyer also teaches classes for the National Center for Constitutional Studies, Demeritt said.

"He's met with them informally many times during the course of the campaign," Demeritt said. "They have a lot of great contacts and just insight from the business world. So that's why they are on the committee, because they have been kind of informal advisers to Paul; just smart guys he likes to talk to, is what they are. They have a lot of experience, and they don't want jobs in government. They just want to help Paul do a good job."

All of which is to say, LePage's transition team is diverse and loyal to his core supporters.

Speaking of transition

The LePage transition has also begun soliciting donations to help defray costs of their efforts.

The team is provided just $5,000 in General Funds, as well as office space.

It is tradition for incoming administrations to raise funds privately. The money is completely unregulated.

(Continued on page 2)

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