I’m not the smoothest talker or the best speechmaker.
I don’t seek out the headlines or the cameras.
Instead, as the Bangor Daily News said not so long ago, I have rolled up my sleeves, worked with my colleagues regardless of political affiliation and gotten things done — for our economy, for our veterans and for Maine.
I gave up my seat in Congress to run for governor this year because I believe that, under the right leadership, better days are ahead for our state.
I’m optimistic about our future and believe our state deserves better than it has gotten the last four years.
We’re all familiar with Gov. Paul LePage’s words: the name-calling, the made-up facts, the harsh language.
But I didn’t decide to run for governor because Gov. LePage has a foul mouth or because he can’t get along with others — even members of his own party.
I’m running for governor because this governor’s decisions are hurting our people, they’re killing jobs, they’re dividing us and they’re driving people away.
The stakes are so high and the policy differences between the governor and me are so stark.
Earlier this year, I introduced my Maine Made plan, which is a common-sense and practical way to get our economy moving again. And it’s also affordable.
My entire plan represents just 1 percent of the state budget, about $36 million a year, but it promises new investment in roads and bridges, college affordability, and access to local food and high-speed Internet.
Through my plan, we can make our homes warmer and reduce energy costs while putting Maine on the path to a clean, renewable energy future.
The entire cost of the plan is less than the surplus of $49 million that was left over at the end of the last fiscal year. It’s less than the cost of the failed non-emergency transportation contract for vulnerable people pushed through by Gov. LePage and the money lost through mismanagement at Riverview Psychiatric Center.
Maine Made puts people first.
Budgets are about priorities. Gov. LePage’s priority has been tax cuts to the wealthiest.
My priorities are improving education for all Maine students, regardless of where they live, making sure work pays and that people can see a doctor when they get sick.
A few weeks ago, I visited the Preble Street Resource Center, a homeless shelter in Portland, for breakfast and a forum held by Homeless Voices for Justice.
When I got there, I met my breakfast buddy, Rebecca. She walked me around, introducing me to the people at the shelter, her friends and colleagues who volunteer to empower our neighbors who have the least.
Rebecca made a real impression on me — her warm smile, her big heart, her optimism.
Rebecca passed away suddenly, not long after my visit to Preble Street, too young to go, and it broke my heart.
She didn’t have insurance. By the time she got the care she needed, it was too late.
Now her friends are terrified the same thing will happen to them. What a horrible fear, what a horrible burden to carry. It doesn’t have to be this way.
I know we can’t overcome all the challenges facing Maine overnight. But I do know that on Day One of my administration, I will submit legislation to make sure people like Rebecca have access to health care.
Too often, the message of elections gets lost in the day to day, back and forth of the campaigns, the negative attacks and who can give the best speech or launch the best zinger.
That’s not me, and it never has been.
Instead, I’m the same Mike Michaud who has dedicated my life to bringing people together, to listening and to solving problems. I’m the same Mike who worked for 29 years at Great Northern Paper, who punched a time clock and understands what working families are going through in this tough economy
And I’m the same Mike who will never stop fighting for the state I love.
I believe voters are ready for a change on Nov. 4, and I know I’m the best person to make it happen.
I’m asking for your vote and your support on Election Day. I know that together we can get Maine on the right track.
U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud is the Democratic nominee for governor.