Grégoire Faucher ’16 had no idea he was going to be one of the stars of Governor Paul Lepage’s State of the State address before he walked into the State House on Tuesday night.
Faucher first met LePage last fall when the governor visited professor Christian Potholm’s Maine Politics course.
Following the visit, LePage invited the class to Blaine House, the governor’s residence to discuss how to keep young people in Maine through adulthood.
Faucher didn’t hear from LePage again until two weeks ago, when he received an email from LePage’s press secretary, Adrienne Bennett, and his director of communications, Peter Steele, who invited him to attend the address at the State House on LePage’s behalf.
The invitation did not mention that Faucher would be featured so prominently in the speech.
When he arrived at the State House, Faucher was told that he would be mentioned in the speech and that LePage wanted to have a brief conversation with him in French during the speech.
“It sent chills down my spine when I found out he was going to be talking to me,” Faucher said. “It was orchestrated to an extent, I just didn’t know what he was going to say and of course I didn’t know what I was going to say.”
During the exchange, Faucher thanked LePage in French and said it was an honor to be at the State House. LePage replied that it was his pleasure to have Faucher there.
LePage used Faucher to highlight the importance of keeping young people in Maine to grow the economy.
“Greg and his classmates are exactly the kind of people that we want here moving our state forward,” LePage said in his address.
LePage also referred to his visit to Potholm’s class and the policy suggestions the students made.
“It made me proud to be a Bowdoin student just because he singled us out out of any other college,” Faucher said.
Faucher hoped that he hopes LePage does his best to implement the policies he discussed with the class, which included forgiving loans to students who work in Maine after graduation and bringing modern industries to the state.
“Whether you agree with governor LePage’s policies and options, that doesn’t really matter,” Faucher said. “He’s still the governor of Maine and it’s an honor to be invited to something like that.”