Unlike Cutler, Mitchell works for people

Posted Oct. 22, 2010, at 7:03 p.m.

Maine’s economy is transitioning from one powered by factories and mills to one powered by computers and composite technologies. This transition has been painful, and the pain has been exacerbated by Wall Street greed and predatory lenders. The millworker who lost his job and the small-business owner who closed her Main Street store did not cause this mess, but they are the ones who are suffering the most.

Corporate America brought the economy to its knees, and Maine people are paying the price. This is our economic reality and the backdrop for Maine’s gubernatorial race.

Maine people need economic development that looks to the future. They need a quality education for themselves and their children so they have the skills required for today’s jobs. Maine people need a responsible and efficient government to ensure that our infrastructure is strong and that our natural resources are protected.

These are the things that Libby Mitchell has been fighting for throughout her entire career. Libby made Maine the first state to invest in Head Start. She passed groundbreaking affordable-housing legislation and she has led the effort to jump-start the green energy revolution. All the candidates talk about helping Maine families, but Libby has made it her life’s work.

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When you compare the candidates, consider what their priorities and values have been throughout their careers. Libby has been in Maine, working for us. Not all the candidates can say the same.

I was disappointed that the Bangor Daily News chose to endorse Eliot Cutler. While Libby Mitchell has been improving the lives of Maine families, Cutler has spent 30 years working as an attorney and lobbyist at one of Washington, D.C.’s powerhouse law firms. He talks a lot about growing up in Bangor, but he has given little detail about the corporate interests that made him a millionaire.

A person’s past is a great way to tell something about their goals going forward. And this election must be about moving Maine families forward.

Libby Mitchell has laid out, in detail, her ideas to create jobs, improve schools and reform state government. She will expand tax credits that attract venture capital because she understands that small businesses are the biggest job creators. She will invest in our infrastructure and renewable energy to create jobs and keep us from being dependent on foreign oil.

She knows that our children must enter school ready to learn and must graduate ready to succeed. She will create a universal preschool program, provide a grant so that every qualified graduate can attend college, and cut the dropout rate in half by putting a Jobs for Maine’s Graduates program in every high school.

Maine people need to know that their government is on their side. Libby Mitchell will crack down on waste by making sure contractors provide the services that taxpayers hired them to deliver. She will require every political appointee to disclose more detail about their personal finances so conflicts of interest play no role in the decisions of policymakers.

People are at the heart of Libby Mitchell’s agenda. They always have been. The same cannot be said for Cutler.

The BDN said they liked the detail that Cutler provided, but they failed to discuss his proposals that consistently favor lobbyists and special interests over working men and women.

Cutler wants to abolish the Board of Environmental Protection and replace it with a three-judge panel. This may work for lawyers, but it will take citizens’ voices out of the process that protects our families and our treasured natural resources.

Cutler touts a public power authority as a panacea for the high cost of energy when, in fact, it will actually shift the financial risk from large developers to Maine taxpayers. Frankly, I am tired of footing the bill for big corporations.

When the BDN endorsed Cutler, they endorsed a candidate whose guiding philosophy seems to favor wealthy corporate interests over Maine people. I ask that you not make that same mistake. We need a governor who will fight for us, a governor who has a plan to move our economy forward by focusing on people, not on corporations.

Libby Mitchell will be that governor.

Gwethalyn M. Phillips of Bangor is a former chair of the Maine Democratic Party.

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