My name is Marpheen Chann-Berry, and I am the student vice president at the University of Southern Maine and chair of the USM College Democrats.

It took me a lot of thinking and some time to finally say that, as a Democrat, I am voting for Eliot Cutler in 2014.

I like Mike Michaud and I have considered the Democratic Party family, but I am a Democrat in the sense that I believe in democracy, that I have the right and the privilege to vote for who I think is the best candidate and for who and what I think is best for the state of Maine.

This is what I believe as a Democrat, with all my heart. That I am a catalyst for change simply because I can vote. That as a citizen, I can do what is best for Maine by voting for who and what I think is best.

That is a fundamental principle of democracy, and that is what Maine has been and should continue to be. Having met with Eliot Cutler and discussed the challenges that face our state, I have made the difficult choice, as a Democrat, to support who I think has the best solutions for a state with so much untapped potential.

This year’s election should not be about politics as usual, politics that have left our state stagnant for the last decade with Democrats and Republicans in power. Our choice is to continue down this path or create change.

Political risk? I believe it is politically riskier to do the same thing with undoubtedly the same outcome.

2014 brings us all to a crossroads. There is the left and there is the right. The answer is to move boldly forward as a people and as a state to do what is best for Maine – and that is with Eliot Cutler.

M.S. Chann-Berry

chairman, University of Southern Maine College Democrats

Portland