AUGUSTA – The four Democrats running for governor told 225 retired state employees Wednesday about their vision for the future of the state work force.

The retirees gathered at the Augusta Civic Center for the 23rd Annual Maine State Employees Association Retirees Day.

The union invited the 11 major party candidates for governor to give brief introductory remarks and talk about their plans for health insurance and retirement security for state workers.

Democrats Rosa Scarcelli, Steve Rowe, Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell and Patrick McGowan addressed the crowd; none of the seven Republicans attended.

Election Day is Tuesday.

The union has not and will not endorse any candidate in the primary but will meet later this month to consider whether to issue an endorsement for the fall gubernatorial election, said Mary Anne Turowski, director of politics and legislation for the union.

The union represents 15,000 retired and current state workers, along with some private sector employees.

It endorsed Gov. John Baldacci, a Democrat, in 2002 and 2006, she said.

Scarcelli, who spoke first after a random drawing, said her private sector experience managing 115 employees at her housing company shows she knows how to create an efficient work force.

Rowe, a former attorney general and House Speaker, said state employees should be proud of their service.

He said health reforms passed at the federal level will ease the state’s burden to pay for retiree health insurance.

Mitchell, the Senate president who was first elected to the House in 1974, said she sponsored a bill to protect state retirees from losing money if the cost of living goes down. She also said she worked to make the state retirement system more transparent.

McGowan, who left his post as commissioner of the Department of Conservation to run for governor, asked retirees to vote for him on Tuesday.

He said while he is concerned about retiree benefits, he has a plan to boost the economy.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

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