Articles By Peter Mills
August 2, 2005
I have decided to run for Governor. As the minority party, we Republicans owe it to Maine people to explain what we will do if we are put in charge by next year’s election. We need a plan that satisfies independents and disaffected Democrats as well as our fellow Republicans.
We must start by recognizing that Maine is in trouble. The necessary remedies are painful, but they will become more painful the longer we delay.
The majority party attempted to delay action this spring by borrowing hundreds of million dollars just to keep their programs funded. This was out of touch with what we require to bring Maine back to economic health.
I was a leader in the People’s Veto effort to overturn the borrowing but that was just a beginning step in a journey to turn Maine around.
Because my direct ancestors have lived in Maine for over two hundred years, it pains me to think of my native state as the "sick man of New England;" but the real first step on the road to recovery is to face the condition honestly.
Maine has a greater number of dependent people than other states. We are an older population with more than our share of low income and disabled citizens. We have 41% more people working in health care and social services than is the norm for other states. Although our wages are not low, we have fewer people working which accounts for low household incomes. Our costs of government are high, in part, because we have more people to care for.
So where do we start? Attached is a "Twelve Step Program toward Accountable Government." Only a Republican can make it happen. Mainline Democrats will not willingly reform the state’s pension system. Nor will they agree to increased accountability for educational and social services.
Management and accountability are the keys to progress.
Although people like the dominant Republican message of cutting expenses and shrinking government, they want to hear more about how to do it effectively. Most important of all, they want a way to measure value and progress from the government we pay for.
Republicans, of all people, should have answers to such questions. People trust our management instincts. But if Republicans are going to lead, then we need something more than a paper mache platform to run on.
People need a plan to lead us out of the wilderness, one that goes beyond merely hoping for efficiency. People want to know how we will do it. If we are going to ask people for their trust, we owe them specifics on how to change the structure and functions of government.
A plan is important. A Governor elected with a plan can claim a mandate to get it passed. Otherwise, it will be torn apart by lobbyists and special interests.
We Republicans need unity, but it is the unity that comes from a forged, cohesive platform with which to reach out to Maine people to make our case for Maine’s future.