PORTLAND – My name is Bruce Forsley, and with less than a week before Election Day, I’d like to speak out on behalf of Paul LePage, the Republican candidate for governor.

I’ve known Paul for more than 25 years as a good customer, keen business consultant, tough competitor on the racquetball court and most recently as the mayor of Waterville.

I believe we need a leader in government who has faced the challenges of managing a small business and understands the burdens that prevent us from growing.

We need a leader who also sees the advantages and opportunities that our state offers. Paul LePage has that experience and will be that leader.

We need to give young people the confidence that Maine can provide a prosperous future.

Paul LePage put himself through school. His belief in education is born from the importance of education in his own life. He recognizes the importance of emphasizing education, job training and job creation to retain our talent pool. Maine needn’t be the ‘oldest’ state in the country.

It disappoints me to hear detractors refer to Paul as a “loose cannon” who makes “snap decisions.”

A man who has faced economic hardship and prospered, overcome great odds through discipline and self-reliance and rose to be a Republican mayor in a city dominated by Democrats could not have succeeded by being a “loose cannon.”

Paul LePage has the ability to connect people from different sides and societies. He is a listener who will seek a consensus, as he has through his life as a businessman and a politician.

I believe we need a man with common sense, practical experience and the courage to challenge the role of government and the way we spend our assets.

We need a man who is loyal to Maine’s values, wise in the ways of the private sector and has compassion for all citizens.

This election, to paraphrase a friend, will be won by a leader who can truly inspire people with his vision and universal values while offering pragmatic solutions to key issues that can bring genuine change and hope to Maine people.

That leader is Paul LePage.

Please join me in supporting him on Tuesday.