The race for governor this year has many qualified candidates. So it is the duty of Maine’s undecided voters to decipher what the mass media tell us and to discern the truth.

Sensationalism is what gets our attention. Don’t let yourself be entertained. Motivate yourself to get educated. I challenge you to research the issues, talk to your neighbors, talk to the candidates and learn the facts. You will need a clear and informed mind come Nov. 2.

Maine is at a crossroads, as is our nation. We haven’t experienced such economic hardships since the Great Depression. My parents’ stories of the 1930s are beginning to have new meaning for me. Maine is hurting, and we need financial wisdom.

We all want to make Maine a better place to live, work and educate our children. The person elected to actually address these issues will not have all the answers.

This person will need a team of people with diverse talents and skills. The elected governor will need to be a sound decision-maker who is not afraid to speak the bold truth, especially to the media. It is time to support a businessman, instead of just a politician.

Paul LePage understands that jobs are essential to improving Maine’s economy. He will look more closely at the stimulus money and recognize that “free” money isn’t free at all. It’s our money. Let’s use it wisely to get Maine working again.

As a public school teacher for 31 years and a school board member for 15 years, I support Paul LePage because he will create a climate in Maine that will foster job growth and fiscal responsibility.

Dwight Tibbetts

Windsor

On the one issue – education – that trumps all others in its capacity to affect, for better or worse, all others, only gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell has consistently voiced an intention to focus educational resources where they will do the most good – on children and their families.

The other candidates talk of so-called reform measures that can never solve the problems that arise from socio-economic conditions that cause many children to begin school behind their peers and to depend on tax-funded support systems not only for the dozen years they are in school but for their entire lives.

Libby Mitchell is the only candidate who talks of implementing programs, such as statewide pre-kindergarten, that lay the foundation for lifelong cognitive and emotional stability.

Numerous studies show that students who attend pre-kindergarten are more likely to graduate, pass achievement tests, enroll in college and find viable employment. They are less likely to require special education services, commit crimes or become pregnant.

Mitchell also talks of expanding programs, such as Jobs for Maine Graduates, that might help older students overcome pre-established barriers to learning and success.

But because she knows that no jobs program, no charter school, no streamlining of the Education Department, no district consolidation and no merit pay system can break the cycle of dependence that builds these barriers, Mitchell builds her educational plan on the indisputable understanding that the first few years of a child’s development are the most important.

Her plan to target the very young is the most promising of all other campaign platforms combined; it has, by extension, the capacity to rebuild our economy, to interrupt generational welfare, to foster environmental stewardship and to promote healthy lifestyles.

Early childhood education is all the reason you need to vote for Libby Mitchell.

Mary Paine

Mount Vernon

 

This is the first election that I am voting in since I decided to make Maine my home. I would like to contribute my small share to the place that has allowed me to implement my educational vision of change. Lately, I have heard people saying: “I like Eliot Cutler but I am afraid that if I vote for him, Paul LePage will win. So I will vote for Libby Mitchell.”

I can only share how I see the world and hopefully my thoughts might inspire others, particularly those of you who are still undecided or afraid to vote for Cutler.

I believe that matters of a state should not be determined by party affiliation but by whoever is the most qualified candidate. For me, the most important criterion is how a candidate connects and interacts with not only large crowds, but with ordinary citizens and their needs.

The ability to make real connections is hard when campaigning. I believe Cutler has this ability. One Sunday morning, I joined his group at one of the local farm market sites in Windham as a volunteer photographer.

He was an engaging and active listener, skills that are generally very hard to practice. He was listening, following up on questions and sharing himself in a most genuine way.

The way he connected with everyone in that micro setting convinced me that he has the ability to promote collaboration on a larger scale in order to create the paradigm shifts necessary for moving Maine forward.

When we are motivated by fear, nothing real can happen. If each of us has the courage to trust and follow our hearts, and not our fear, we will triumph. Let’s be courageous and vote for Eliot Cutler.

Laura Val

Portland

 

Mainers have always elected governors, whether Republican, Democrat or independent, that have been sensible, reasonable and moderate. But now, with the unprecedented rise of Paul LePage, I fear that Maine might finally be losing its connection to that old-fashioned brand of reasonableness and moderation.

Libby Mitchell is intelligent, experienced, moderate, thoughtful and reasonable – in keeping with our state’s political history and tradition. (Eliot Cutler does fit the Maine character well enough, too. But a vote for him is surely a vote for LePage – and as counterproductive as a vote for Nader was in 2000).

Don’t let Maine get caught by those churning currents of unreason and anger rampaging now. Don’t let it drift from the political mainstream where it has always held a steady, measured course.

Peter Agrafiotis

Cape Neddick

 

Be sure to vote in the governor’s race – just not for Libby Mitchell.

Vote for Paul LePage, a positive person who has worked all his life.

Has Mitchell removed the law that prohibits us from shopping across state borders for health insurance? No. Even though she ruled the House, then the Senate, she did nothing. With state employee insurance she doesn’t have to shop for bargains.

Did Mitchell nix the law the Legislature passed to tax services? No. It would have required the lad who shovels your driveway to bill you for that as a service and send the sales tax to the state. Mitchell apparently liked that bill, but the Maine citizens overwhelmingly voted to overturn it.

Mitchell was once a teacher. She loves the teachers’ union and they love her, too. They endorsed her even though the teacher’s retirement fund has plunged into the red.

Why do they still love her? Because she agrees with them that we should prohibit charter schools. After all, if charter schools are successful compared to traditional public schools, teachers would have to change their methodology and show accountability, putting poor teachers at risk of losing their jobs.

Edward G. Bossom

Scarborough

 

Since 2003, Maine has sought a governor that would maintain our unique state identity while keeping our citizens on an even keel with the rest of the nation. This 2010 election has provided us with three distinct options to choose from in order to achieve this goal.

We can see that Paul LePage is a conservative Republican and that Libby Mitchell is a liberal Democrat. Have we really asked if either of those options is what we need?

I hope Maine has not forgotten the successes of Angus King’s independent gubernatorial term. I hope Maine has not forgotten that there are more than two options to select from this year.

Eliot Cutler has stepped onto the scene as a longshot to take control in Augusta, but since his entry in the fray, he has done nothing but deliver sensible solutions for our state’s many problems.

Maine can’t fall into the quicksand of partisan politics and settle for a big party candidate. We must rise and take a national stand by electing Eliot Cutler and rejecting another partisan gubernatorial term in 2010.

Michael Ollen

Topsham

 

A short while ago, Paul LePage boasted that “I’d tell President Obama to go to hell” and do so often. After that, Libby Mitchell apologized for a picture she’s holding of President Bush with a label calling him an “international terrorist.”

Enough is enough! Has either of these two gubernatorial candidates demonstrated the ability (or even a desire) to rise above petty partisan politics?

This is not the time for politics as usual. Our problems are not the result of the Bush administration, or the last two years of the Obama administration. The causes go back further; the roots run much deeper.

For too long we’ve been spending at a rate that’s unsustainable. We’ve borrowed from tomorrow to live better today.

Putting Maine and our country on the road to recovery will not be easy. With financial resources likely to be scarce, it will require an innovative, non-traditional approach to governance. To effectively lead, our next governor will need an honesty and integrity that Mainers, regardless of party or interest affiliation, can admire and respect.

Independent candidate Shawn Moody is the founder of a successful Maine business that’s been recognized for both business excellence and environmental stewardship.

He has made his workers co-owners in the business. He understands what it’s like to grow up in a single-parent household without much money. He understands what it takes to run a successful business and create good Maine jobs.

In short, Shawn Moody has lived his life – and run his campaign – admirably. While new to politics, he’s proven to be a quick study. He has an impressive record of success, and we’d do well to elect Shawn Moody Maine’s next governor.

Todd F. Bachelder

Farmingdale

 

Maine voters have five candidates for governor. Whom should we choose? The key question is: How do we feel about the performance and leadership Maine has received from Augusta these past two decades?

If, looking back, we’re very happy, we vote for Democrat Libby Mitchell. If we’re generally happy but would like a few tweaks of improvement, we vote for independent Eliot Cutler.

If we are not happy, if we see major problems, if we want real change, if we do not want more of the same, we vote for either Republican Paul LePage or independents Kevin Scott and Shawn Moody. These are the candidates of change in Maine in 2010.

Personally, I do not want more of the same. I do not want to look back eight years from now and see a larger state government; more unfunded mandates; even more power having flowed from local communities to Augusta; more interference by the state in the lives of individuals, families and businesses; a still-lousy business climate.

This would be more of the same, and this I definitely do not want.

State government cannot do everything for everyone, and so should stop trying to do so. It should do a few things and do them well. To make these points, I will be voting for change Nov. 2.

Michael McCabe

Whiting