AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. John Baldacci says he believes Maine will be a strong contender for $75 million in federal funding for education reform.

In his weekly radio address, Baldacci says Maine must show a commitment to improved K-12 education in order to receive funding that’s part of an education reform initiative called Race to the Top. He says Maine’s done that.

To be successful in Race to the Top, Baldacci said he’s submitting legislation to allow Maine to adopt national standards that identify where Maine schools excel and where they need improvement. He says steps to measure the effectiveness of teachers also will be proposed.

In the Republican response, Rep. Stacey Fitts of Pittsfield defends the Maine citizen initiative process as it is. Pitts warns that three bills before lawmakers would weaken the petition referendum process.