Regardless of our individual feelings about the outcome of Tuesday’s election, and as much as we all may be relieved that it’s now behind us, our responsibilities as citizens didn’t end with the act of voting this week.
In fact, the real work it’s going to take to put our state back on track is just beginning. The need to find ways to create more jobs that pay well, close huge structural state budget gaps, improve Maine education results and fix our crumbling roads and bridges is just as real today as it was during the campaign.
But in today’s political climate and after a hard-fought election campaign, the first great challenge we must face and overcome is to put our differences aside and work together for the good of all, not just for or against the party or candidate who won. We are in crisis, our situation is only getting worse and the people of Maine simply can’t afford to waste another minute of time or an ounce of energy on divisiveness and partisanship.
I’ve consistently maintained my faith in the pragmatic, hardworking nature of our state’s greatest asset — its people. As dire as our condition seems today, I have great hope that we can summon the will to take the steps necessary to right our ship, even if some steps will be painful.
Though there may be differences among us in political values or principles, I believe there are common beliefs among the great majority of Mainers around which we must come together. No Labels, the national nonpartisan movement that I’m leading in Maine, calls this “The Opportunity of Shared Purpose.” This is precisely what we have before us, not just as a nation but right here in Maine.
The ideals that No Labels encourages Americans to rally around can easily be tailored to fit in our state. Here’s my attempt:
Maine citizens are entitled to a government and political system that works and one that reflects common sense and a common purpose.
Mainers deserve a government that does better than managing from budget crisis to budget crisis. I’ve never thought of this as just a fiscally conservative idea. Responsible management, including aggressive elimination of waste and inefficiency, is the only way we will be able to continue funding our highest social priorities. Nothing could be more compassionate.
Mainers want a system that empowers people with the tools of success, from a world-class education to affordable health care, provided it does so in a fiscally prudent way. We must restore fundamental faith in government across a broad spectrum of citizens.
Mainers want a state government that ensures fair treatment, cares for those who truly cannot care for themselves and keeps us secure, provided it does so without unreasonably denying opportunity for the creation or growth of business and jobs.
So now that we’ve elected our next governor, it’s time to put politics aside and turn our attention to what we as a state are going to do next. With the immense challenges we face, now is time for action, vision and strong nonpartisan leadership. Mainers must take up the cause and let our incoming administration know the kind of leadership we’d like to see. We can all help make real change and a significant difference in Maine’s future and we can’t afford to wait any longer.
One of the best parts of the primary campaign was getting to know all the candidates. I learned firsthand that each and every one of them is a good person and they all have the best of intentions. Now let’s give Paul LePage our strong support and encouragement to put the kind of smart, capable people on his team we need regardless of whether they are Democrat, Republican or independent.
We’re all Mainers first.
Rosa Scarcelli is CEO of Stanford Management, an affordable housing provider in Maine and three other states. As a Democratic candidate for governor, she gained a strong following in the 2010 primary. To see more, go to www.rosaformaine.com. Learn more about the No Labels movement www.NoLabels.org.