AUGUSTA — Political ad season is often met with an eye roll and a “brace yourself” response from Mainers weary of negativity in our public debate. We have all seen those ads – the good, the bad and the downright ugly – that make us tune out or tune in to the political discourse of the season.
However, a well-done, positive television ad has the ability to inform and uplift voters when it presents the facts and lets the viewers decide. One you will likely see, if you haven’t already, is particularly worth watching.
Produced by the Republican Governors Association and rolled out Tuesday, it is the first television ad supportive of Gov. LePage that we have seen since he was elected back in 2010.
Many people aren’t familiar with the LePage administration’s actual policy record, and many of his supporters often get frustrated that the governor’s positive accomplishments don’t seem to make it into the media this time of year. However, news from 2011 or 2012 is not breaking news today, and positive, well-done campaign ads can play a constructive role in reminding us of what the candidates have been up to over the years.
The 60-second ad starts off with individual Mainers admitting that Gov. LePage is blunt, candid and not your typical politician.
Speaking from my career in business, I can safely say that sometimes that’s what it takes to get things done. And getting things done has been the hallmark of Gov. LePage’s first term in office.
As the ad, titled “Working for Maine,” makes clear, the governor has an extraordinarily long list of accomplishments for just 3½ years in office.
Gov. LePage has reformed Maine’s tax code, giving working Maine families the largest tax cut in Maine’s history while implementing targeted tax incentives that help businesses grow.
For example, on Tuesday, the governor toured C&L Aviation in Bangor, which has expanded from 20 jobs in 2000 to 120 in 2014, thanks in part to tax reform. Gov. LePage implemented a repeal of the tax on aircraft parts and the tax on airplanes that stay in Maine for longer than 20 days. Aviation companies in Maine have credited this change with their ability to grow here and compete with businesses in other states.
The governor has also fought to ensure that our tax dollars are not being wasted by welfare abuse and that benefits are preserved for the truly needy.
By capping state welfare benefits at five years for able-bodied adults, we were able to devote more money to job training programs and cut our Temporary Assistance for Needy Families rolls in half. By stopping Obamacare’s welfare expansion, we are able to devote more money to our struggling nursing homes.
The ad highlights Gov. Le-Page’s successful, yet arduous, mission to pay off the state’s debt to its hospitals in full, a move that was as much about doing the right thing as it was about fiscal responsibility and improving our credit score. It also mentions how Gov. LePage cleaned up the Turnpike Authority, which had been racked with waste and corruption.
“Working for Maine” reminds us of Maine’s state of affairs when Gov. LePage took office, when state government had a $1.3 billion budget shortfall, and the governor’s move to balance the budget without the gimmicks that had become commonplace in Augusta.
Finally, the new ad also talks about some changes that haven’t gotten as much attention as the hospital debt or tax reform. It features a domestic violence survivor who points to Gov. Le-Page’s efforts to fight that horrible crime – a crime that has also touched the governor. It mentions his little-known repeal of the tax on nursing home meals and the state’s improving credit rating.
This fall, there will be plenty of advertisements from both sides that seek to attack and tear down the opposition, but “Working for Maine” gives viewers a chance to become acquainted with the positive record of achievement of Gov. LePage – a record that has led to Maine ranking third in the nation for employment growth since the recession and to critical reforms to Maine’s government and economy.
— Special to the Press Herald