October 3, 2010

Moody would use business savvy in office

The independent, who built his garage into a small empire, says he understands the challenges facing Maine businesses.

By SCOTT MONROE Morning Sentinel

(Continued from page 3)

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Independent Shawn Moody delivers his opening remarks at the gubernatorial debate in Fairfield on Wednesday. He says many of the principles he's applied to his business could work in state government.

Michael G. Seamans/Kennebec Journal

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Shawn Moody

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Economy: Conduct “exit interviews” on businesses that have closed, relocated or downsized; create incentives for “micro” businesses; promote the “Buy in Maine” campaigns; use technology to put all state spending online and make it easily searchable.

Energy: Pursue wind, hydro, tidal, solar and more; upgrade existing hydro dams with newly designed turbines that use less water pressure; build more offshore wind projects; promote biomass electrical energy via steam-powered turbines.

Education: Require vocational teachers to “work” at least part of the year in their  fields; expand programs in the university system; consolidate classes with decreased enrollment and utilize Web-based technologies; institute merit-pay for teachers based on a comprehensive review.

Health care: Allow residents to purchase health care across state lines; pay health care providers what’s owed to them; update billing systems; create financial incentives that promote healthy behaviors.

Welfare: Transition people from welfare to “workfare” by redeploying some of the “lean” state work force to manage the program.



This is the fourth in a series of profiles of Maine’s gubernatorial candidates.

9/12: Libby Mitchell-D

9/19: Paul LePage-R

9/26: Eliot Cutler-I

TODAY: Shawn Moody-I

10/10: Kevin Scott-I

CHECK OUT OUR Governor's Race special section

Bob Harmon, president of Norway Savings Bank, said he has known Moody for about 30 years -- they played adult-league basketball together -- and he has been impressed with Moody's business savvy, especially without having a college degree. Moody's has banked with Norway Savings for about six years, he said.

In Harmon's opinion, Moody is "the type of guy who does business with a handshake."

"He has high integrity, a very honest person who gets along with people very well, and he has good organizational skills," Harmon said. "I think he has a long shot -- I told him that right from the get-go -- but I think he has ambition, a drive and a desire to really work hard at it. When he sets his mind to something, he usually tries to fulfill it."

Despite Moody's low poll numbers, Christina Moody thinks her husband's appeal of being "a real Mainer" is catching on with voters -- she points to his Facebook page, which has more than 3,700 friends.

At a live TV debate on Sept. 25, Moody's regular-guy image stood out. Asked what kind of vehicle he drives, Moody responded in his folksy, "Maine-ah" drawl: "Well, being in the business, we bought a pickup that someone had let go in the river, flooded up the dashboard. We cleaned it out, cleaned the fish out, and vacuumed it up and we're driving." Asked if his campaign had deployed "trackers" -- people who follow the other campaigns -- Moody said he "didn't know what a tracker was until this all started."

Eastman, his former high school principal, said he was initially skeptical when Moody told him about his run for governor, but the two talked through his ideas.

"It comes down to a collaborative approach to leadership, built on meeting customers' needs," Eastman said. "His desire is to build a model of government that understands issues and problems and uses a team approach to solving those issues. He believes in rewarding good work.

"I didn't sense a lot of hard-core political savvy," Eastman continued. "But I think he sees that as his strength."

Moody said he's learned a lot since starting his campaign.

"I'm a sponge for knowledge," he said.



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Additional Photos

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Shawn Moody grew up in Gorham and started working on cars at 14.

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