I was glad to see some negotiated measure of school administration consolidation go through the legislature, even though I realize that it is controversial, if not unpopular. I do believe that all states must - within parameters that stay true to what in this case makes Maine great - plan for an economically viable future that insures that Mainers can, should they wish to, afford to stay and in fact thrive in Maine.
I believe that Opportunity Maine is an exciting step in that direction, although it appears to be perhaps a seed program at this time, from the little I have been able to find to read about it.
I ran for Governor in 2006, being from Maine and like many others with a great love of this state. Many told me that the Governor in his first term was not one to compromise, even arrogant in his approach. However, also being from Bangor myself, during the campaign many people, especially here, also told me of stories of how Governor Baldacci had been personally helpful to them in a meaningful way over the years.
And pride at seeing a local individual steadily working his way up.
I don't believe that one gets far in politics nor in life by being selfish, and even running for Governor (although my campaign was severely limited due to a major traffic accident in which I was hit by a truck while walking) I realized that it is more difficult than one might really imagine. There is a lot to be knowledgeable about, and being involved in managing the affairs of a state in which 1.2 million people reside may not sound like a lot, but when you start to meet these people one by one and in groups, you realize that this is also more than it might appear.
Maine requires, we all know, meaningful and responsible tax reform, that truly limits property taxes and doesn't unfairly shift the tax burden, etc. Also, now that we as a state seem more committed to economic development investments - which is a necessity for the creation of the good jobs of today and tomorrow - the sad truth also is that we are still not nearly sophisticated enough in regard to how we make those economic development investments, and if we don't improve substantially in that regard we won't get the maximum "bang for the buck" and will waste some money.
Gambling, I believe, is so attractive to some as economic development for their area (I discuss previously in Magic City Morning Star why I strongly do not consider gambling economic development) perhaps because they are not seeing what they consider to be viable alternatives.
Maine, in 2007 as always, is a great state. A great place to live and a great place to be. Let's all get involved, as we are inclined and able, to move things fully and responsibly forward.