BANGOR, Maine — Eliot Cutler, running on a platform of energy independence, health care reform and reducing government spending, officially announced his candidacy Wednesday to become Maine’s next governor.
The independent candidate and native of Bangor held events in Portland and Bangor to throw his name into a crowded and growing field of 2010 gubernatorial candidates.
The 63-year-old Cutler said he’s not worried about any of the other candidates and believes his political independence will resonate with Maine voters, who have elected two independents in the past 35 years.
“It’s wide open now, but if you look back at history, you’ll find that things narrow pretty quickly,” Cutler said Wednesday during an interview at a hotel at Bangor International Airport. “By September of next year, there are likely to be four candidates, and I expect to be one of them.”
Cutler initially cut his political teeth under longtime lawmaker Edmund Muskie, a Democrat who spent 20 years representing Maine in the U.S. Senate after spending four years as Maine’s governor. Cutler also worked in Democratic President Jimmy Carter’s administration. Cutler admitted that he was a Democrat at the time, when the party was one of reform.
“The [Democratic] party today is a shadow of what it once was,” Cutler explained. “In fact, both sides are dominated by the extremes. An independent voice is what Maine needs.”
Cutler, an attorney with considerable wealth, is running a privately funded campaign. In his announcement speech Wednesday, he touched upon some of the things he would tackle as Maine’s governor.
“Mainers are worried, discouraged and angry,” he said. “They don’t believe government is on their side. But I know we can make Maine work again.”
Cutler outlined three initiatives that he sees as crucial:
— Maine Energy Resources, a public power authority that generates electricity throughout Maine from renewable resources and stops the exportation of electricity.
— Maine Wellness, a new statewide framework to deliver essential health services affordably.
— Maine Change, a task force that would do the tough work of eliminating government programs that are either redundant or don’t work.
More information on Cutler’s policy positions and initiatives can be found online at www.cutler2010.com.