BRUNSWICK — If she’s going to be blamed for the bad, she would like credit for the good.
That’s what Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell said during a campaign stop in Brunswick on Monday, when asked how she, as a veteran Maine lawmaker, would change Maine’s reputation for being unfriendly to business.
“If you’re going to give me the blame for all the national recession and the global recession, give me the credit for all the things we did well – maybe I’m responsible for all that’s going on at Brunswick Naval Air Station,” she said at a Brunswick Rotary meeting.
“Frankly, I don’t deserve all the credit or the blame,” she added. “But I’m proud of my record. I have fought to make sure our environment is good and clean because I think it’s very important for businesses who want to be here; I have fought to make sure our kids have access to health care.”
Maine must further streamline its government and reduce the income tax to be more business-friendly, Mitchell said.
Earlier in the day, she touted Brunswick’s efforts to redevelop the Brunswick Naval Air Station, which is largely vacant and will close officially in May, by creating a successful public-private partnership.
“Maine people know that the world is changing and the people of the midcoast did not go home and worry that the world was ending when the Brunswick Naval Air Station started to leave. They started planning,” she said.
A result of that planning – at the local, state and federal levels – is the Maine Advanced Technology Center in Brunswick, a part of Southern Maine Community College that focuses on composite manufacturing training. The facility is expected to move soon to Brunswick Landing, the new name for the Navy base. It will operate near companies like Kestrel Airlines.
Kestrel announced recently that it will develop and manufacture some of its new planes at the former air base. At full production, the investment would total $100 million and more than 300 jobs, company officials say.
“For these businesses, they’re voting with their feet, if you will. They are choosing to come here because it is a great place to bring their businesses and they are going to thrive here,” Mitchell said. “We want to eliminate barriers. We still want to protect the things that are important to us, the environment and everything else, but we can do both.”
Mitchell said it’s obvious that people are anxious because of the tough economy, but Mainers are known for their can-do spirit.
“It’s important to always focus on what we’ll do to make things better,” she said.
MaineToday Media State House Writer Rebekah Metzler can be contacted at 620-7016 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org