Republican Les Otten says he wants to be Maine’s next governor so he can end the bureaucratic nightmare that makes it difficult to run a business in the state.

Otten, a former owner of the Sunday River ski area in Newry, was part of a group of investors who bought the Boston Red Sox in 2002. He now owns Maine Energy Systems and several other businesses.

He told the MaineToday Media endorsement board Thursday that he has learned firsthand the challenges that business owners face in clearing regulatory hurdles in Maine. “We work for the state, as opposed to the state working for us,” he said.

Otten is one of seven candidates seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination on June 8.

Among his key issues are taxes, which he said are too high. He has pledged not to raise taxes, and he supports cutting the state’s inheritance and capital gains taxes to keep wealth in Maine.

Otten said that balancing the state’s budget will require significant cuts to services. He said he would get rid of Dirigo Choice, the state-subsidized health insurance program. He said he would cut a couple hundred million dollars from human services and education.

He said school superintendents have convinced him that they could operate with less funding if they had control over educational quality. He supports charter schools and home schooling.

“We need to return the control of education back to communities,” he said.

Otten said is he concerned about a lack of planning in Maine for the day when oil prices return to $125 a barrel and the cost of gasoline shoots up. “We have said no to hydro, nuclear, thermal and biomass, and now wind. We keep finding ways of saying no,” he said.

Otten said the state should be diversifying by allowing a liquefied natural gas project and smart electricity metering while developing other energy sources.

When asked what he would do if someone handed him enough money to fix one problem in the state, he said that he couldn’t answer the question because that would never happen in the real world. Then he revised his answer.

“If I did get one wish, it would be to change the business climate, he said.



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