BAR HARBOR – Since we became incorporated as a state in 1820, Maine people have been highly respected and revered throughout the rest of the United States and the world.

Right from our humble beginnings, our people recognized that we have a unique and special environment.

We daily marvel over this incredible place that we call home.

I once mentioned to a Maine lobsterman that the view of Mount Desert Island from the sea was just spectacular.

His comment was, “Bob, you never want to take this place we live and work in for granted.” That lobsterman’s insightful observation goes for the entire state of Maine.

How does one go about describing the many images of Maine? Here are some examples: Canoeing and camping on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway with our families; absorbing the beauty of the Maine potato fields of Aroostook County while in blossom; sharing with another hiker her sense of accomplishment after reaching Baxter Peak at Mount Katahdin for the first time; raking blueberries on a blueberry barren in Washington County; the sighting of finback whales feeding just off the shore of Lubec or Eastport; or fly fishing for Atlantic salmon on the Machias River.

Here are some more: Riding your bike to the summit of Cadillac Mountain to watch the sun rise; the inspired feeling you get when you first sight the magical, mystical Monhegan Island; walking along the warm, sparkling sands of Popham Beach on a hot July day; cruising among the picturesque islands of Casco Bay; snowmobiling at Rangeley, the Switzerland of Maine; or skiing down the awesome trails of the many Maine ski resorts.

And there are also these: Swimming, boating and fishing on Sebago, Moosehead, and thousands of other pristine Maine lakes and ponds; experiencing a thrill-a-minute white-water rafting down the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers.

Each of us has our own very special and personal images of Maine.

We Mainers are the finest kind. We have cherished the close relationship with our natural environment that we have passionately stewarded for almost two centuries.

Our work ethic is second to none. Our craftsmen are tops in our country in boat and shipbuilding. Our men and women are creative, ingenious entrepreneurs.

Our lobster industry has the best conservation practices in the nation. Our state is covered with more forests than any other, providing pulpwood for paper manufacturing and pellets for heating of homes and businesses.

The Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association is a national leader in organic dairy, beef, and vegetable farming practices.

We are innovators of alternative, green energy — wind, solar, and tidal power. Our colleges, universities, high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools are among the best in the nation.

Our citizens receive excellent medical care from our highly qualified health care providers. We are a recognized leader in biomedical research.

We Mainers are a generous and giving lot, whether supporting returning troops from Iraq or Afghanistan or helping to care for those who are less fortunate. Mainers are shining examples of what it means to be good neighbors.

We have a good image of ourselves, and visitors from away, who visit us by the millions each summer, concur.

The strength of the Maine character has been personified by senators such as Margaret Chase Smith and George Mitchell who, among others, have distinguished themselves as statesmen.

Maine people are proud of their great state, their outstanding citizens, and their notable heritage.

So, when Gov. Paul LePage makes off-the-cuff, denigrating comments, he insults all Mainers. His most recent derogatory comment has tarnished the wonderful image of the great state of Maine and its proud people.

Maine and Mainers deserve a governor whose image reflects statesmanship. 

– Special to the Press Herald