Endorsements 2010

Posted Oct. 29, 2010, at 6:44 p.m.

Eliot Cutler for Governor

Maine has a rare opportunity to remake its government. State finances demand it. The public, increasingly aware that big changes are needed for the state to prosper, wants it.

Only one candidate for governor — Eliot Cutler — has the skills, vision and detailed plans to lead this work.

Faced with a $1 billion budget shortfall, Mr. Cutler understands that programs and services must be cut, but in a way that does not harm the state’s most vulnerable residents nor its businesses, which can meet tough environmental and safety regulations if they are clear and consistent.

While Republican Paul LePage, the mayor of Waterville, has common-sense-sounding proposals to improve education and to help those on welfare find and keep jobs, he undermines those ideas with false promises and angry outbursts. Democrat Libby Mitchell made history as the first woman in the country to lead both a state House and Senate. But her proposals to nibble around the edges of the state budget gap don’t match the severity of the problem.

Maine faces crucial decisions in the next four years. The state can continue to limp from budget crisis to budget crisis with Libby Mitchell, or state spending can be slashed in haphazard and counterproductive ways under Paul LePage. A better way would be to elect a governor who will remake government so it is focused, effective and affordable.

In the remaining days before Tuesday’s election, voters must take a close look at the candidates (including independents Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott) and their plans. They will see that Eliot Cutler is the only candidate with the vision and skills to match Maine’s challenges.

Michaud for 2nd District

Maine’s 2nd Congressional District Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democrat who is seeking a fifth term, has steadily worked on issues crucial to Maine.

The process has been slower than many — including the congressman — would like, but the results are what matters. Because of Rep. Michaud’s focus and determination, veterans in rural parts of Maine can now get medical care closer to home, shipping opportunities have been expanded in Eastport and a commission to focus on the needs of the Northeastern states has been established.

These may not be headline-grabbing projects, but they help Maine people and businesses.

Mike Michaud should be re-elected to continue this work.

Pingree for 1st District

Rep. Chellie Pingree, the Democrat from North Haven, was on the right side of the health care restructuring bill that will rein in the escalating costs that threatened to thwart small-business growth. She was right to vote in favor of the stimulus package, which helped rebuild the nation’s infrastructure and held the line on unemployment. She also voted with the administration on bills that protect consumers from predatory credit card lenders and brought stricter regulation to banks.

Rep. Pingree has earned a reputation as a persuasive, pragmatic lawmaker. She deserves another term.

No on Question 1

The casino proposed for Oxford County will not be a balm for Maine’s ailing economy, and it unfairly changes the law to the detriment of Maine’s only operating racino, Hollywood Slots of Bangor. For these reasons, Question 1 should be defeated.

The investors hoping to build the Oxford County casino have successful business track records and have real ties to Maine, making this better than previous casino proposals.

Proponents say the casino will create jobs and bring in out-of-state visitors, while retaining Mainers — and their money — who now travel to Connecticut to gamble. But how many new dollars will be spent in Maine that otherwise would not be spent here remains an open question. And the Maine brand as a proven tourist draw may be tarnished with a full-fledged casino.

We can do better. Vote no on Question 1.

No on Question 2

Maine has a shortage of dentists that will get worse in the next decade. At the same time, rising costs and decreased insurance coverage make dental care increasingly unaffordable to many. Backers of Question 2, a $5 million bond for a dental school and dental clinics, have not made a persuasive case that spending this money is the best answer.

Yes on Question 3

Voting in favor of bond funding for the popular Land for Maine’s Future program is more than just a feel-good affirmation of land preservation for outdoor recreation. It guarantees Mainers will have access to shorefront lands, fishing piers, unbroken forests and other important places. It also ensures a critical investment in an essential part of the state’s economic development strategy, sustaining Maine’s valuable quality of place. That quality of place, which consultants have urged Maine to retain and improve, is sought out by corporations looking to relocate, young entrepreneurs starting businesses and retirees considering a move to Maine, all of whom help prime the state’s economic pump.

That’s why voters should support Question 3.

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