Pat McGowan
Hallowell Democrat
He’s a staunch advocate for land conservation   

When University of Maine Professor Habib Dagher asked to see the coast of Maine for potential wind sites, Pat McGowan put him in a plane he was flying and showed him.

McGowan, one of four Democratic candidates for governor, told MaineToday Media’s editorial board on Monday that he’s a hands-on person who understands the state’s economy and has a vision for its future.

McGowan, of Hallowell, has a long record of public service. He was a legislator from Somerset County in the 1980s, regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration in New England, and was most recently commissioner of the Maine Department of Conservation.

As a former state representative, McGowan sponsored the Land for Maine’s Future program, which has put a half-million acres into conservation.

McGowan said one of the first proposals he will bring forward if he’s elected governor is to advance the Great Maine Forest Initiative.

“We need to get back to the best days of Maine economically, when the natural resources and energy were linked together to add the most value and give the best benefit as far as jobs and the future of the economy,” McGowan said.

He said his objective is to link forest resources with long-term contracts for the paper and wood products industries and link renewable energy, whether it’s biomass, wind power or other opportunities with hydro Quebec.

“I have met with the premier of Quebec and the president of Hydro Quebec,” McGowan said. “I know what they are doing. They are going to build 20,000 new megawatts of electricity from hydro and they don’t have a place to sell it. There are opportunities.”

McGowan said he will also focus on small businesses. He said his work has been owning and operating small businesses, and helping small businesses gain access to access to capital, technical assistance and training.

“It’s the backbone of the Maine economy, small businesses,” McGowan said. “I know what it needs.”

McGowan has proposed an initiative to consolidate the state’s planning office, the bureau of professional regulation, and the department of economic and community development. He said the departments need to be looking at and talking to each other and seeing the same end result.

“That’s a better economy with more coordination from government,” McGowan said.

On taxes, McGowan said his objective is to not take another penny out of a Maine family’s pocket. He also said he would be willing to look at other revenues that don’t impact families like non-resident property owners. 

— Staff Writer
Melanie Creamer

Bruce Poliquin
Georgetown Republican
‘Business as usual’ won’t improve business climate’

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Poliquin keeps in touch with many of the former baseball and softball players he mentored over nearly two decades as a college, high school and Little League coach.

Unfortunately, many of the talks are long-distance.

Young people are being driven out of Maine because the state has failed to attract businesses and to create new job opportunities here, Poliquin said.

“They’re forced to flee the place they love,” the businessman told MaineToday Media’s endorsement board on Monday. Poliquin is one of seven Republicans seeking the party nomination in next month’s primary election.

“We have one of the worst business climates in the country,” Poliquin said. “What we do not need is more business-as-usual political experience that’s gotten us into this mess.”

Poliquin, 56, is a business investor and housing developer who grew up in Waterville. He now lives in Georgetown.

Poliquin has never held political office, and says that is one reason why his campaign will appeal to voters who are dissatisfied with Maine’s $1 billion budget gap. Several times during Monday’s meeting he discussed his work with Avatar Investors Associates Corp.

From 1981 until 1996, Poliquin served as a managing partner for the firm, which managed worker pension funds for corporations including Bath Iron Works and International Paper. Poliquin said he managed more than $5 billion in assets on a daily basis.

In order to turn Maine’s economy around, the state first needs to stop spending more money than it brings in, Poliquin said. He said he would veto any tax increase or new fee proposed by the Legislature.

One way to cut costs would be an overhaul of the state welfare system. Benefits provided through MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program, should be brought in line with national averages, Poliquin said.

He said recipients also should need to live in Maine for a period of time before they are eligible, and there should be lifetime limits on benefits. Getting thousands of Mainers back to work would also free up money for those who cannot provide for themselves, Poliquin said.

“We cannot be everything to everybody,” he said.

Poliquin also wants to import cheap energy from Canada, and he would push for the creation of an energy corridor that would run from Canada south to the large metropolitan areas on the east coast.

“We need someone who will tackle these problems and not worry about the next election,” he said.

— Staff Writer
Trevor Maxwell