When asked why he wants to be Maine’s next governor, Republican Matt Jacobson recalls one particular sleepless night.

Jacobson, who’s the president of a nonprofit corporation that recruits businesses to Maine, had just learned that a coveted manufacturing firm had chosen to invest elsewhere. He stayed up thinking about the young people of Maine, including his own two children, ages 8 and 4.

“Our kids deserve to have at least the opportunities that we had,” he told MaineToday Media’s endorsement board on Friday. Jacobson said that philosophy will drive his administration if he is elected.

“We will create real jobs in Maine,” he said. “Every decision that we make is going to be focused on getting people back to work.”

To achieve those goals, Jacobson said, the state must lower taxes and reduce the costs of energy and health care; the regulatory process for businesses must be streamlined and accelerated; and the education system must adapt to produce a world-class work force.

Jacobson, 49, of Cumberland, is among seven Republicans seeking the nomination in next month’s primary election.

An Air Force pilot who went on to a career in business, Jacobson has never held political office. From 1991 to 2005 he served in executive positions for various railroad companies.

He left his job with Canadian National Railways, based in Chicago, to become president and CEO of Maine & Co. in 2006. The corporation provides free consulting services to Maine businesses that are looking to expand, and to businesses that are considering moving here.

“The number one reason why companies don’t come to Maine and don’t reinvest in Maine is the energy costs,” Jacobson said. “The highest in the country is not where we want to be.”

He said the first thing Maine should do is strike a business deal with Emera Inc., the Nova Scotia-based utility that wants to run an underground electricity pipeline through Maine, along the interstate system. Electricity providers in Maine could tap into that source, and Emera has offered to pay the state a lease worth $10 billion over 20 years, Jacobson said.

That deal, he said, would free up the state to invest in research and development of alternative energy sources.