Actions Speak Louder Than Words
By Governor Paul R. LePage
Growing up homeless on the streets of Lewiston, I never would have imagined that one day I would be Governor of our great state. With the help of some excellent mentors, a good education and a successful business career, I have been fortunate to have lived the American Dream.
Now it’s my turn to make sure every man, woman and child in Maine has the opportunity to carve out their own piece of the American Dream.
It’s been an eventful four years, to say the least, but my first term in office has left me more convinced than ever of how special a place Maine is and how awe-inspiring its people really are. Our state has been dealt a tough hand for decades, but we are turning things around.
No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I’m sure I have made decisions that you disagree with. But that’s how you know we’ve had a productive four years. A politician who tries to please everybody ultimately fails them all.
A leader makes the tough decisions and leaves no question where he stands or why. I think we can all agree I’ve done that.
Despite the headlines claiming I have not worked across the aisle, my quarrel is not with the other party. There are some good Democratic lawmakers, and I have worked with them to pass meaningful legislation for the people of Maine. My disagreements are with the extreme liberal leadership that has taken over the party.
They are more interested in playing politics than doing what’s right for the Maine people. That is unacceptable. I am so passionate about moving this state forward that sometimes my words get ahead of me. My wife, Ann, will tell you that’s not unique to the past four years.
Most people agree that what’s really important is action. In my first term, we put Maine’s fiscal house in order by cutting our pension shortfall nearly in half, paying off our hospital debt, balancing the budget without gimmicks and borrowing responsibly while improving our credit.
We reformed welfare by finally capping lifetime cash benefits at five years, like most other states; requiring the drug testing of recipients convicted of drug-related crimes; requiring healthy welfare recipients to either work, go to school or volunteer; and so much more.
We helped create over 22,000 new private-sector jobs while trimming some 4,000 government positions by reforming regulations, reducing taxes, improving the responsiveness of government agencies and aggressively recruiting new employers to Maine. Another 9,000 jobs are listed on the Maine Job Bank. Maine now ranks among the top three states in the nation for employment growth since the recession.
We have worked hard to move Maine forward, but there is a long way to go.
I speak with businesspeople every day who tell me they have jobs available, but they require specific skills that our schools and colleges simply aren’t teaching. I know firsthand that education can change your life.
We must reform our community college system to provide training for the skilled trades and to strengthen the Bridge Year program to help high school students get a head start on college. My plan to reduce student debt by offering tax incentives to employers who help young workers won the endorsement of the University of Maine’s student newspaper. Our community colleges and universities must also be focused on the needs of older and transitioning workers.
Finally, Maine families and businesses are spending too much money for heat and electricity, and it’s making Maine less competitive for new jobs while taking money out of household budgets. In my second term, we will increase our efforts to attract investment in pipelines for lower-cost natural gas and to get renewable hydropower right here in Maine.
On Tuesday, you have a choice. You can choose a 30-year career politician who values words over actions or a Washington, D.C. lawyer. Both are liberals who will raise your taxes, grow government, and expand welfare. One will tell you how much he will raise your taxes; the other won’t.
But if your biggest concern is growing Maine’s economy and reforming state government, then I am your guy. That’s why I am asking for your vote on Tuesday.
I am thankful that you gave this Franco-American kid from Lewiston an opportunity to make our state a better place to live and work. It has been my honor to serve you, and I look forward to four more years of doing the right thing for Maine people.
Governor Paul R. LePage is the 74th governor of the State of Maine.