A conversation with outgoing Gov. John Baldacci

Gov. John Baldacci works on his State of the State speech at his office in the State House in Augusta  in 2009
AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach
Gov. John Baldacci works on his State of the State speech at his office in the State House in Augusta in 2009
Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell (right) talk with Maine philanthropist Harold Alfond before the start of the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox during Maine Appreciation Day at Fenway Park in Boston in 2004. Alfond threw out the first pitch and the Red Sox went on to beat the Tigers 6-1.
AP PHOTO BY MICHAEL DWYER
Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) and former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell (right) talk with Maine philanthropist Harold Alfond before the start of the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox during Maine Appreciation Day at Fenway Park in Boston in 2004. Alfond threw out the first pitch and the Red Sox went on to beat the Tigers 6-1.
Karen Baldacci and son Jack hold the Bible while Senate President Beverly Daggett swears in John Elias Baldacci as Maine's newest governor at the Augusta Civic Center in 2003.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY DENISE HENHOEFFER
Karen Baldacci and son Jack hold the Bible while Senate President Beverly Daggett swears in John Elias Baldacci as Maine's newest governor at the Augusta Civic Center in 2003.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (center) with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (left) and Governor John Baldacci during their visit to the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine in Orono in June 2010.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (center) with U.S. Sen. Susan Collins (left) and Governor John Baldacci during their visit to the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine in Orono in June 2010.
Author Stephen King and Gov. John Baldacci react to applause while stumping for the Kerry-Edwards presidential ticket at the University of Maine in Orono in 2004. &quotYou could write a horror book and it wouldn't compare to the administration in Washington right now," said Baldacci.
Author Stephen King and Gov. John Baldacci react to applause while stumping for the Kerry-Edwards presidential ticket at the University of Maine in Orono in 2004. "You could write a horror book and it wouldn't compare to the administration in Washington right now," said Baldacci.
Gov. John Baldacci (left) arrives in the House Chamber to give his State of the State address Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Gov. John Baldacci (left) arrives in the House Chamber to give his State of the State address Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
Gov. John Baldacci speaks at a news conference where he unveiled a two-year state budget that proposes deep cuts due to the recession on Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Gov. John Baldacci speaks at a news conference where he unveiled a two-year state budget that proposes deep cuts due to the recession on Friday, Jan. 9, 2009, at the State House in Augusta, Maine.
President Barack Obama (right) is greeted by Gov. John Baldacci and his wife, Karen Baldacci, shortly after arriving at the Bar Harbor Airport on July 16, 2010 for a weekend vacation on Mount Desert Island.
President Barack Obama (right) is greeted by Gov. John Baldacci and his wife, Karen Baldacci, shortly after arriving at the Bar Harbor Airport on July 16, 2010 for a weekend vacation on Mount Desert Island.
New York Gov. David Paterson, center, speaks to media outside West Wing of the White House in Washington on Feb. 22, 2010, after a meeting with President Barack Obama and members of the National Governors Association. From left are NGA Chairman Vermont Gov.  James H. Douglas, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Paterson, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, and Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
New York Gov. David Paterson, center, speaks to media outside West Wing of the White House in Washington on Feb. 22, 2010, after a meeting with President Barack Obama and members of the National Governors Association. From left are NGA Chairman Vermont Gov. James H. Douglas, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, Paterson, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, and Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
Eleanor Sawyer, 94, reacts to remarks from Maine Gov. John Baldacci during a news conference where a new program outlining the state's plan for people receiving prescription drug benefits was unveiled, in Augusta, Maine, on Nov. 29, 2005.
AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach
Eleanor Sawyer, 94, reacts to remarks from Maine Gov. John Baldacci during a news conference where a new program outlining the state's plan for people receiving prescription drug benefits was unveiled, in Augusta, Maine, on Nov. 29, 2005.
Rosemary Baldacci and her son U.S. Rep. John Baldacci.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS FILE PHOTO
Rosemary Baldacci and her son U.S. Rep. John Baldacci.
Gov. John E. Baldacci prepares to ceremonially sign LD 30, An Act To Establish Native American Veterans Day, as Charles Norman Shay, a Penobscot Indian who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War, expresses his gratitude for the law.
Photo by Dan Cashman
Gov. John E. Baldacci prepares to ceremonially sign LD 30, An Act To Establish Native American Veterans Day, as Charles Norman Shay, a Penobscot Indian who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War, expresses his gratitude for the law.
State troopers look over the scene of the accident where the sport utility vehicle in which Gov. Baldacci was riding went off the road and rolled over in Bowdoinham in 2004.
AP Photo/Pat Wellenbach
State troopers look over the scene of the accident where the sport utility vehicle in which Gov. Baldacci was riding went off the road and rolled over in Bowdoinham in 2004.
Gov. John Baldacci takes the oath of office to begin his second four-year term as Maine's chief executive as his son, Jack, holds the Bible and his wife, Karen, watches in 2007 at the Augusta Civic Center. Administering the oath of office is Senate President Beth Edmonds (left), D-Freeport.
Gov. John Baldacci takes the oath of office to begin his second four-year term as Maine's chief executive as his son, Jack, holds the Bible and his wife, Karen, watches in 2007 at the Augusta Civic Center. Administering the oath of office is Senate President Beth Edmonds (left), D-Freeport.
Gov. Angus King (left) welcomes Gov.-elect John Baldacci to the Blaine House, in Augusta in 2002.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Gov. Angus King (left) welcomes Gov.-elect John Baldacci to the Blaine House, in Augusta in 2002.
Maine's first lady Karen Baldacci talks about her plan to promote literacy, health and historic preservation during an interview at the Blaine House.
AP Photo by Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal
Maine's first lady Karen Baldacci talks about her plan to promote literacy, health and historic preservation during an interview at the Blaine House.
Former President Bill Clinton joins Maine Gov. John Baldacci on stage before speaking Oct. 16, 2006, during a fundraiser in Portland, Maine, for Baldacci's re-election campaign.
AP Photo/Joel Page
Former President Bill Clinton joins Maine Gov. John Baldacci on stage before speaking Oct. 16, 2006, during a fundraiser in Portland, Maine, for Baldacci's re-election campaign.
Cianbro Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue (right), Gov. John Baldacci and Cianbro Chairman Emeritus &quotBud" Ivel Cianchette (left) speak at Cianbro's Eastern Manufacturing Facility in Brewer, Maine on March 25, 2009. They and hundred of other dignitaries, including Cianbro employees and state and local politicians were on hand to celebrate the departure of the company's first module shipment.
Cianbro Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue (right), Gov. John Baldacci and Cianbro Chairman Emeritus "Bud" Ivel Cianchette (left) speak at Cianbro's Eastern Manufacturing Facility in Brewer, Maine on March 25, 2009. They and hundred of other dignitaries, including Cianbro employees and state and local politicians were on hand to celebrate the departure of the company's first module shipment.
Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue (left of center) and Gov. John Baldacci (right of center) talk while leading a tour of their Brewer facility to Statoil's technical manager Knut Erik Steen (right) and asset manager Sjur Bratland (not pictured) on Nov. 17, 2009.
Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue (left of center) and Gov. John Baldacci (right of center) talk while leading a tour of their Brewer facility to Statoil's technical manager Knut Erik Steen (right) and asset manager Sjur Bratland (not pictured) on Nov. 17, 2009.
Governor John Baldacci (right) talks to Wayne Newell of Indian Township (second from left) as Brian Altvater (left) and Fredda Paul (center) look on during a break from the Assembly of Governors and Chiefs on Thursday at the Veazie Salmon Club. The annual meeting brings together the five Wabanaki leaders with the Governor to discuss tribal and state issues.
Governor John Baldacci (right) talks to Wayne Newell of Indian Township (second from left) as Brian Altvater (left) and Fredda Paul (center) look on during a break from the Assembly of Governors and Chiefs on Thursday at the Veazie Salmon Club. The annual meeting brings together the five Wabanaki leaders with the Governor to discuss tribal and state issues.
Maj. Gen. John W. Libby (right), adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, (right) Gov. John Baldacci watch as members of Charlie Company 1-126th Aviation Regiment file into the Army Aviation Support Facility in Bangor after completing a nine month deployment in Iraq on Jan. 1, 2009.
Maj. Gen. John W. Libby (right), adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, (right) Gov. John Baldacci watch as members of Charlie Company 1-126th Aviation Regiment file into the Army Aviation Support Facility in Bangor after completing a nine month deployment in Iraq on Jan. 1, 2009.
STAND ALONE FEA PHOTO
Dan Cashman | AP
STAND ALONE FEA PHOTO
Richard Chasson Sr. of Lewiston reads about John Baldacci's win in the race for governor while behind him Baldacci holds a press conference at Simones' restaurant in Lewiston in 2002.
Richard Chasson Sr. of Lewiston reads about John Baldacci's win in the race for governor while behind him Baldacci holds a press conference at Simones' restaurant in Lewiston in 2002.
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at a 2008 campaign rally for his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in Portland. Also present are Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) and State Sen. Elizabeth Mitchell.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at a 2008 campaign rally for his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in Portland. Also present are Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) and State Sen. Elizabeth Mitchell.
U.S. Rep. John Baldacci shares a playful moment with his son, Jack, at the family's Bangor home in 2001.
U.S. Rep. John Baldacci shares a playful moment with his son, Jack, at the family's Bangor home in 2001.
Joined by local leaders, state officials and cannery personnel,  Gov. John Baldacci (far left)  talks with the media during his visit to the former Stinson Cannery on February 23, 2010. Standing nearby is Thaxter Trafton, state commisioner of economic and community development. Gov. Baldacci met with employees and local officials to discuss the announced closure of the Stinson Seafood sardine cannery in the village of Prospect Harbor.
Joined by local leaders, state officials and cannery personnel, Gov. John Baldacci (far left) talks with the media during his visit to the former Stinson Cannery on February 23, 2010. Standing nearby is Thaxter Trafton, state commisioner of economic and community development. Gov. Baldacci met with employees and local officials to discuss the announced closure of the Stinson Seafood sardine cannery in the village of Prospect Harbor.
Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
John (from left), Rosemary, Robert and Paul Baldacci pose in an undated photo.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BALDACCI FAMILY
John (from left), Rosemary, Robert and Paul Baldacci pose in an undated photo.
HOLD FOR PUBLICATION
Kevin Bennett
HOLD FOR PUBLICATION
Gov. John Baldacci views the UPC Mars Hill wind farm from the air on March 25, 2008. During a press conference at Big Rock Ski Area, Baldacci spoke highly of the benefits of wind energy and cited Mars Hill and new wind projects in Danforth and around the state as the future of renewable energy for Maine.
Gov. John Baldacci views the UPC Mars Hill wind farm from the air on March 25, 2008. During a press conference at Big Rock Ski Area, Baldacci spoke highly of the benefits of wind energy and cited Mars Hill and new wind projects in Danforth and around the state as the future of renewable energy for Maine.
Governor John Baldacci checks a washed out culvert on Slab City Road in Lincolnville during his tour of storm damaged towns in the mid-coast area.  The governor made stops in several towns to speak with officials and looked at the damage caused by Monday night's storm.
Governor John Baldacci checks a washed out culvert on Slab City Road in Lincolnville during his tour of storm damaged towns in the mid-coast area. The governor made stops in several towns to speak with officials and looked at the damage caused by Monday night's storm.
JAN. 2008 FILE PHOTO
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
JAN. 2008 FILE PHOTO
Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) serves spaghetti at a fundraising event to benefit the Preble Street Resource Center, an agency that helps the homeless in Portland, in April 2010.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) serves spaghetti at a fundraising event to benefit the Preble Street Resource Center, an agency that helps the homeless in Portland, in April 2010.
A state official examines the overturned vehicle that Gov. John Baldacci was injured in while traveling southbound on I-295 in Bowdoinham, Maine, on Feb. 4, 2004. Officials insisted March 1, 2004, that the governor was wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred even though computer data captured from the demolished SUV indicate he wasn't buckled up. The governor suffered a mild concussion and broken rib during the accident.
AP Photo by Pat Wellenbach
A state official examines the overturned vehicle that Gov. John Baldacci was injured in while traveling southbound on I-295 in Bowdoinham, Maine, on Feb. 4, 2004. Officials insisted March 1, 2004, that the governor was wearing a seat belt when the crash occurred even though computer data captured from the demolished SUV indicate he wasn't buckled up. The governor suffered a mild concussion and broken rib during the accident.
Gov. John E. Baldacci speaks to a reporter during an interview at his office at the State House in Augusta in 2003.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Gov. John E. Baldacci speaks to a reporter during an interview at his office at the State House in Augusta in 2003.
Governor-elect John Baldacci (right) gets help from from his sister Rosemary as they and workers from Fox & Ginn Movers load items from the home of Baldacci's late mother, Rosemary, in Bangor for the move to the Blaine House in Augusta in 2003.
BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY STEPHEN M. KATZ
Governor-elect John Baldacci (right) gets help from from his sister Rosemary as they and workers from Fox & Ginn Movers load items from the home of Baldacci's late mother, Rosemary, in Bangor for the move to the Blaine House in Augusta in 2003.
Gov. John Baldacci (left) prepares to cut a cluster of tomatoes from the vine in 2009 during a ceremony at Backyard Farms in Madison. The company, which produces vine-ripened tomatoes, was celebrating the first harvest from its new 18-acre greenhouse. Looking on is Backyard Farms President and CEO Roy Lubetkin.
Gov. John Baldacci (left) prepares to cut a cluster of tomatoes from the vine in 2009 during a ceremony at Backyard Farms in Madison. The company, which produces vine-ripened tomatoes, was celebrating the first harvest from its new 18-acre greenhouse. Looking on is Backyard Farms President and CEO Roy Lubetkin.
Sgt. Jodi Pelletier of Fort Kent shakes hands with Gov. John Baldacci in May 2010 during a Freedom Salute Ceremony for the 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Maine Army National Guard. The event took place at Peakes Auditorium in Bangor, Maine. The ceremony honored the battalion's 81 soldiers, their families, as well as community members who provided support during the soldiers' deployment. The soldiers recently returned from a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.
Sgt. Jodi Pelletier of Fort Kent shakes hands with Gov. John Baldacci in May 2010 during a Freedom Salute Ceremony for the 286th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, Maine Army National Guard. The event took place at Peakes Auditorium in Bangor, Maine. The ceremony honored the battalion's 81 soldiers, their families, as well as community members who provided support during the soldiers' deployment. The soldiers recently returned from a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.
John Baldacci, Bangor, Maine, drives out of a bunker on the 18th hole at Bangor Muni in July 2009.
John Baldacci, Bangor, Maine, drives out of a bunker on the 18th hole at Bangor Muni in July 2009.
Governor John E. Baldacci prepares to ceremonially sign LD 30, An Act To Establish Native American Veterans Day, as Charles Norman Shay expresses his gratitude for the law.  Shay is a Penobscot Indian who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War.
Photo from Dan Cashman
Governor John E. Baldacci prepares to ceremonially sign LD 30, An Act To Establish Native American Veterans Day, as Charles Norman Shay expresses his gratitude for the law. Shay is a Penobscot Indian who served during World War II, the Korean War and the Cold War.
Gov. John Baldacci takes the oath of office to begin his second four-year term as Maine's chief executive as his son, Jack, holds the bible and his wife, Karen, watches Wednesday night at the Augusta Civic Center. Administering the oath of office is Senate President Beth Edmonds (left), D-Freeport.
Gov. John Baldacci takes the oath of office to begin his second four-year term as Maine's chief executive as his son, Jack, holds the bible and his wife, Karen, watches Wednesday night at the Augusta Civic Center. Administering the oath of office is Senate President Beth Edmonds (left), D-Freeport.
Cianbro Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue, right , Governor John Baldacci and catch up with Cianbro Chairman Emeritus &quotBud" Ivel Cianchette,left, at Cianbro's Eastern Manufacturing Facility in Brewer in March 2009. They and hundred of other dignitaries, including Cianbro employees and state and local politicians were on hand to celebrate the departure of the company's first module shipment.
Cianbro Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue, right , Governor John Baldacci and catch up with Cianbro Chairman Emeritus "Bud" Ivel Cianchette,left, at Cianbro's Eastern Manufacturing Facility in Brewer in March 2009. They and hundred of other dignitaries, including Cianbro employees and state and local politicians were on hand to celebrate the departure of the company's first module shipment.
Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue (left of center) and Governor John Baldacci (right of center) talk while leading a tour of their Brewer facility to Statoil's technical manager Knut Erik Steen (right), and asset manager Sjur Bratland (not pictured) in November 2009. The Norway-based company developed the world's first floating turbine and Maine officials are hoping to partner with them to help develop off-shore wind energy in Maine.
Cianbro CEO Pete Vigue (left of center) and Governor John Baldacci (right of center) talk while leading a tour of their Brewer facility to Statoil's technical manager Knut Erik Steen (right), and asset manager Sjur Bratland (not pictured) in November 2009. The Norway-based company developed the world's first floating turbine and Maine officials are hoping to partner with them to help develop off-shore wind energy in Maine.
Governor John Baldacci (right) talks to Wayne Newell of Indian Township (second from left) as Brian Altvater (left) and Fredda Paul (center) look on during a break from the Assembly of Governors and Chiefs on Thursday at the Veazie Salmon Club. The annual meeting brings together the five Wabanaki leaders with the Governor to discuss tribal and state issues.
Governor John Baldacci (right) talks to Wayne Newell of Indian Township (second from left) as Brian Altvater (left) and Fredda Paul (center) look on during a break from the Assembly of Governors and Chiefs on Thursday at the Veazie Salmon Club. The annual meeting brings together the five Wabanaki leaders with the Governor to discuss tribal and state issues.
Maj. Gen. John W. Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, (right) and Gov. John Baldacci watch as members of Charlie Company 1-126th Aviation Regiment file into the Army Aviation Support Facility in Bangor after completing a nine month deployment in Iraq in January 2009.
Maj. Gen. John W. Libby, adjutant general of the Maine National Guard, (right) and Gov. John Baldacci watch as members of Charlie Company 1-126th Aviation Regiment file into the Army Aviation Support Facility in Bangor after completing a nine month deployment in Iraq in January 2009.
Maine Gov. John  Baldacci, center canoe , and his crew set out for 15 miles of canoeing the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Sept. 2007. In the front canoe is Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan and his daughter Chelsea.
AP Photo/Courtesy of Gov. Baldacci
Maine Gov. John Baldacci, center canoe , and his crew set out for 15 miles of canoeing the Allagash Wilderness Waterway in Sept. 2007. In the front canoe is Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan and his daughter Chelsea.
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at a campaign rally for his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in Portland in 2008.  Also present are Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) and state Sen. Elizabeth Mitchell.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at a campaign rally for his wife, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., in Portland in 2008. Also present are Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) and state Sen. Elizabeth Mitchell.
Joined by local leaders, state officials and cannery personnel,  Gov. John Baldacci (far left) talks with the media during his visit to the former Stinson Cannery on Feb. 23, 2010. Standing nearby is Thaxter Trafton, state Commisioner of Economic and Community Development. Gov. Baldacci met with employees and local officials to discuss the announced closure of the Stinson Seafood sardine cannery in the village of Prospect Harbor.
Joined by local leaders, state officials and cannery personnel, Gov. John Baldacci (far left) talks with the media during his visit to the former Stinson Cannery on Feb. 23, 2010. Standing nearby is Thaxter Trafton, state Commisioner of Economic and Community Development. Gov. Baldacci met with employees and local officials to discuss the announced closure of the Stinson Seafood sardine cannery in the village of Prospect Harbor.
Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Gov. John Baldacci.
Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) serves spaghetti at a fundraising event to benefit the Preble Street Resource Center, an agency that helps the homeless in Portland, in 2010.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Maine Gov. John Baldacci (left) serves spaghetti at a fundraising event to benefit the Preble Street Resource Center, an agency that helps the homeless in Portland, in 2010.
Gen. Raymond Johns (center), commander of the Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., speaks to reporters during a visit to the Maine National Guard's 101st Air Refueling Wing on Nov. 4, 2010, in Bangor, Maine. Sen. Susan Collins (left), R-Maine, and Gov. John Baldacci listen to Gen. Johns' remarks. The visit is part of an assessment that will determine the future of the so-called air bridge that provides in-air refueling for aircraft going to and coming from Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq.
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Gen. Raymond Johns (center), commander of the Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., speaks to reporters during a visit to the Maine National Guard's 101st Air Refueling Wing on Nov. 4, 2010, in Bangor, Maine. Sen. Susan Collins (left), R-Maine, and Gov. John Baldacci listen to Gen. Johns' remarks. The visit is part of an assessment that will determine the future of the so-called air bridge that provides in-air refueling for aircraft going to and coming from Europe, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Posted Nov. 19, 2010, at 11:04 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 21, 2010, at 8:30 p.m.

AUGUSTA — On Jan. 5, thousands of spectators will gather in Augusta to watch as Democratic Gov. John Baldacci officially steps aside and the administration of Republican Paul LePage completes the two-month-long transition into power.

For Baldacci, the LePage inauguration will mark the end of a political career that began in the Bangor City Council chambers and took him to the State House, to the corridors of power in Washington, D.C., and last to the Blaine House.

Now, more than 30 years after entering public office, Baldacci and his wife, Karen, are planning their own transition to a more private lifestyle as the couple resettles in the Bangor region.

“I just like the area,” Baldacci said Friday during an interview in his State House office. “I grew up in the area. I was born and raised in the area. That’s home.”

So what, exactly, is next for the soon-to-be former governor?

“What I’ve told people is I’m not interested in running for any other political office,” he said.

But like most governors before him, Baldacci does not plan to withdraw from public life entirely just because he has left public office. While he was mum on specifics, Baldacci said he wants to stay active working on energy — a major focus of his administration in recent years — as well as health care issues.

He also plans to continue working with at-risk youth, including continuing his service as chairman of the board of directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates, a national nonprofit with programs in Maine.

The governor said several schools also have spoken to him about leading seminars or teaching at the college level, but he said those likely would be further down the line.

“I haven’t got any plans at this point,” Baldacci said. “What people have told me is ‘Figure out what gives you passion … and what do you want to be doing that motivates you.’”

Baldacci’s interest in working on energy issues post-governor is no secret. He has made development of renewable energy — particularly wind energy — a major focal point of his administration even before the oil crisis of 2008 when “going green” became a national trend.

The administration enacted rules to expedite the regulatory review process for land-based wind farms — much to the dismay of the industry’s critics and some landowners — and has also sought to streamline the permitting process for projects that tap into the winds and tides in the Gulf of Maine to produce electricity.

The Baldacci administration has touted the use of biomass energy and invested large sums in household and commercial weatherization projects.

“I want us to maximize those resources so that we can become more energy dependent on our own resources and not dependent on others, and I think that’s what our country needs to do more of,” Baldacci said.

“I’m very passionate about that and I care about that. So I would imagine wherever I’m located I will try to continue to espouse those themes.”

A Bangor native, Baldacci was one of eight children and got his start in politics at age 23 when he was elected to the Bangor City Council. He would later represent the city for 12 years in the state Legislature before voters in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District sent him to Washington, D.C., in 1994.

After eight years on Capitol Hill, Baldacci captured 47 percent of the votes to beat out three other candidates for the Blaine House in November 2002. He was re-elected in November 2006 with 38 percent of the vote in a five-way race.

Seated in his office, Baldacci said he was looking forward to moving back to the Bangor region but said, in the meantime, there is ample work to fill his hours during the next six-plus weeks.

On Friday, Baldacci was one among the hundreds of mourners who attended the Augusta funeral for Cpl. Andrew Hutchins, a New Portland native who was killed earlier this month while serving in Afghanistan. Baldacci described such duties as some of the most difficult but important responsibilities of his office.

Also this past week Baldacci has involved himself in the contract negotiations between hospital administrators and nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center as well as a dispute between two railroads that threatens up to 650 jobs at a Madawaska paper mill.

“It is a job that goes 24-7 and you have to make sure you are giving it 100 percent every single day,” he said. “At the same time, as we work with the new administration since the election, you have to make sure they have all of the tools and resources and support so that they’ll be completely prepared to take office on Jan. 5.”

Now 55, Baldacci and his wife plan to move into their recently purchased home in Holden after taking a few weeks off to spend time with family on the beach and near the golf courses in Florida. Their son, Jack, is a student at the University of Maine.

Asked his thoughts about moving back home, Baldacci ticked off a host of reasons he is excited about the Bangor region, including the redevelopment of the waterfront area, the revitalization of downtown, and UMaine’s academic, athletic and research programs.

“It’s nice to see the energy in the region,” he said.

For years before the governor made a name for himself in politics, the Baldacci name was arguably best known in the Bangor area for his family’s Italian restaurant.

After he was elected to Congress and the Blaine House, Baldacci continued to occasionally put in hours in the restaurant kitchen and even took the meals on the road, serving spaghetti dinners and meeting voters in small towns across Maine.

Momma Baldacci’s closed in 2006 not long after the death of the governor’s brother Paul, who ran the restaurant in its later years. It reopened briefly under the name Baldacci’s, but ever since serving its last meal, there has been talk that the family would reopen the restaurant in a new location.

Asked whether that might be one of his post-political endeavors, Baldacci acknowledged that he was interested in the business but said that was “probably further down the road” after his feet were more firmly replanted in the community.

“I want to start hooking back up with people and get those roots firmly established again and be with my brothers and sisters,” he said.

But he added: “I’ve still got all of the recipes.”

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