I have lived in Aroostook County most of my life. My wife and I raised our family here because of the honest, hard-working people, the beauty and the safety.
We’re very concerned about the economy of northern Maine.
The facts about Aroostook County speak for themselves:
— Our workforce population has dropped from 42 percent to 29 percent over the last 20 years.
— Many of our young people are leaving The County because they believe there is no work up here.
— Issues with transportation and its infrastructure plague The County.
— The poverty level is extremely high, at 15.9 percent.
We believe independent Eliot Cutler can help us when he is voted in as the next governor of Maine.
As Cutler states in his book, “ A State of Opportunity,” Maine has a “tax structure that is unfair, inhibits growth and spends hundreds and hundreds of million dollars in tax giveaways every year without sufﬁcient review by the governor or the legislature. … We have failed to make capital investments that would protect and leverage our competitive advantages — even though the ratio of per capita debt to per capita GDP is the lowest in New England and lower than the average among all states and even though interest rates have been at record lows. And we have failed to build a Maine brand that would yield higher prices for Maine’s quality products, including our tourist experience. Even as callous state policies bar access to preventive health care for thousands of Maine citizens, a greater and greater percentage of our state revenues is gobbled up by health care and related program costs.”
Cutler also states in his book: “There are so many things right with Maine that we have no business accepting these circumstances as givens. “
Although these particular comments refer to the entire state, he has identified issues that are specific to Aroostook County. He addresses property tax relief in northern Maine and even has an online calculator to help you find out how much your property taxes would be reduced under his plan.
Cutler has strategies for branding for both the state and its counties and a proposal to deal with environmental issues throughout the state. I haven’t seen many plans for Aroostook County’s future from any of the other candidates. While Cutler is looking forward and planning, the other candidates are looking back, talking about what they’ve done or what their life has been like in the past.
Cutler cares about Aroostook County. He is genuinely concerned with the economy, the education and outmigration of our young people, transportation and other issues that we’re dealing with. He has solutions to these problems. He also realizes that what happens in Aroostook County has a significant impact on the entire state.
Of the three major candidates in this election, Cutler is the only one who has the skills and experience to bring more high-quality jobs to the state of Maine. He has defined the challenges that Maine is facing, and he has formulated ways to address them. He is the only one who has a definite plan for the state.
And he is talking from experience. Cutler has started two companies that hire Mainers, promote Maine products in the global market, and support the livelihood of hundreds of more workers in the seafood and agricultural industries of Maine. He knows about economic and social development.
Some people don’t want to vote for Cutler because they think, as an independent, he’ll split the vote, or they think that even though he’d do a great job, he might not win, so it’s better to vote for someone else.
How can he split the vote? Why can’t people say that Rep. Mike Michaud is splitting the vote, or that Gov. Paul LePage is splitting it? If people think Cutler will do the best job, why not vote for him? It’s crucial to the welfare of this county that we vote for a man who will help us — someone who will look out for Aroostook County.
That man is Eliot Cutler.
Ray Gauvin of Mapleton is a lifelong resident and business owner in Aroostook County.