- Associated Press - Monday, January 5, 2015

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - Gov. Paul LePage deflected criticism about a new building that will house state health and labor offices when he cut the ribbon on it on Monday.

The 75,000-square-foot building will bring state Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Labor offices under the same roof, LePage said. The lease on the South Portland building is expected to save more than $23 million over the next 30 years compared with rates paid for the old offices, he said.

The health and human services department is currently located near downtown Portland. Critics have protested the move, saying the new location, near the Portland International Jetport, just over the Portland city line, will make it more difficult for many people to access state services.

LePage, a Republican, had a message for those critics: “Get over it.”

“For $23 million, taking the bus wouldn’t hurt anybody,” he said at a news conference.

The governor joined health Commissioner Mary Mayhew, labor Commissioner Jeanne Paquette and others to unveil the offices. They added that the new building will make it easier for clients to receive assistance from both departments.

South Portland Mayor Linda Cohen said the building will be served by buses.

“The people using this facility come from all over,” she said.



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