Maine was fortunate to have several fine candidates for governor. They had ideas, energy, and commitment to what each of them felt were the best interests of Maine people.

Paul LePage won with just 38 percent of the votes. Many who might have supported his principles voted for others because of concerns about his ability to deal effectively with those who disagree or question. Even some proponents shared those concerns.

Mr. LePage could surprise his critics and doubters by following the lead of the greatest Republican, Abraham Lincoln. As Doris Kearns relates in “Team of Rivals,” Lincoln won in 1860 against a formidable field of men who dismissed him as a hick and did their best to tear him down.

Yet to whom did he turn for his Cabinet? Those same men. He put their abilities above their liabilities, their talents above their tirades. His wisdom was validated when each of them played a vital role in the conflict which followed.

Gov.-elect LePage has a similar opportunity. Imagine Eliot Cutler leading the Department of Economic and Community Development; Libby Mitchell heading the Department of Environmental Protection; Shawn Moody managing the Department of Professional and Financial Regulation. What better way to demonstrate a willingness to work across party lines and to consider good ideas wherever they can be found?

Lincoln listened to all ideas, but once he made a decision, he demanded that it be accepted. LePage would have to do likewise. Lincoln’s rivals learned to set ego aside in favor of cooperation and accomplishment. LePage’s rivals would have to do likewise.

Idealistic? Yes. Potential for problems? Of course. But radical steps are required if gridlock is to be minimized. The potential gain for Maine is more than worth the risk.

William Richards
Yarmouth

 

The Supreme Court rules to allow corporations to anonymously contribute to the political campaign process one year. The next year spending on political campaigning soars to an obscene all-time high. Republicans sweep the elections. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

David Butler
Windham

 

Isn’t it ironic that these same people, most of whom live paycheck to paycheck (or worse) are the ones who proudly voted for Paul LePage and his merry band of rich thieves. These same voters are the ones who stand to be hurt the most as LePage works his great mischief up in Augusta!

Why does Maine’s economic underclass perpetually vote against its best interests? I am convinced that the working poor of this state will be throttled by this incoming administration and Legislature.

David Puff
Arrowsic

 

The past six months knocking on doors and meeting so many wonderful people in Berwick and Lebanon has been a privilege and an honor.

Many of you opened your doors wide and shared your views on the state of our economy, our educational system, the delivery of health care and so much more. It is difficult to express the gratitude that I have for each and every one of you who came out to support me and deliver a decisive win for smaller government, lower taxes and more individual liberty.

Although my opponent, Thomas Wright, and I disagree on many of the issues, I would like to thank him for his service and dedication to the people of this district and commend him for running a good clean campaign.

I offer my sincere thanks to all of you and look forward to serving you well in Augusta in the 125th Legislature.

Yours In Liberty,

Beth A. O’Connor
District 145 rep.-elect
Berwick

 

According to the latest numbers I’ve seen, more than 340,000 people voted against Paul LePage versus 215,000 for him, but he won anyway. In 2010 it isn’t much of an issue for the majority of citizens. The divisions between Paul LePage and Eliot Cutler are minor compared to the gap between either of them and Libby Mitchell.

That will not always be the case. One could argue that many people voted for Paul LePage, rather than Eliot Cutler, because they feared voting for an independent could split the conservative vote badly enough so that Libby Mitchell would be elected.

Personally, I supported Paul LePage, but I would rather see him functioning in an environment where the citizens and Legislature know he commands the support of a majority of voters, instead of a strong third.

But you don’t need a majority of the votes to be governor in Maine. Given some of the things Augusta spends money on, is a runoff election too much to ask for?

If we want effective government, actively supported by the citizens, knowing that 62 percent of the voters voted for someone other than the man in the Blaine House isn’t the best start we can give a governor.

Chuck Shaw
Lyman

 

To flip an Elvis Costello phrase, once I was amused, but now I’m just disgusted. Maine’s gubernatorial election highlights a number of deep problems with the means and methods we use to elect our leaders.

First was the flood of difficult to track cash from outside the state in the wake of the reactionary Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

Second, related to the first, was the relentless negative campaigning. Whatever became of candidates setting forth their positions and discussing what they would do to solve the problems or build on the strengths of the state?

Next was voter turnout. We seem proud that 55 percent of the registered voters in Maine showed up to cast a ballot. While better than the American average, it still is far from a robust showing. Fewer than 22 percent of registered voters cast a ballot for Paul LePage.

The questions no one seems inclined to ask are: “Why didn’t 45 percent of registered voters go to the polls? Is it apathy or a form of protest against a broken system?”

I’ll end by noting that our plurality voting system only works well for the two major parties. It is time to change the system. I favor instant runoff balloting.

And to answer the secretary of state’s caution that such a change would incur added costs, when vast sums are being expended to influence election outcomes, the state spending a bit more to open up the process and make alternative party and independent candidates more viable would be money well spent.

Christopher White
Windham

 

I am sure that someone has complained before about this, but I think candidates of all elections need to be reminded. Is there a certain time-frame when political signs should be removed?

I would think that a couple of days after an election should be long enough, meaning long enough to either savor the victories or mourn the losses.

For future political races, the candidates should actually think and realize that placing multiple signs in a row, like the 10 I saw in one spot, is not the way to make me vote for them.

One more question: When is it too soon to put up a political sign? I am trying to remember if I read somewhere that 30 days before any election is soon enough. Maybe communities could hire people at $1 above minimum wage to stack them in a truck and take them either to a landfill or use as firewood. At least there would be some more people working.

Or maybe they could get paid per sign picked up and bill the candidates.

Debi Kelly
South Portland

 

It’s still 2010, not magically 1959 when June Cleaver baked pie and everything was “gee whiz” and “golly,” and people from far away stayed far away, and men were men and women were women and, darn it, that’s the way it should be.

We woke up from that cloudy haze a very long time ago, and we’re not going back.

This week’s election results are not a move backwards, so don’t act so downtrodden if you lost, or so high and mighty if you won.

Today is about a new era of negotiation, conversation, consideration, consolidation and, yes, argumentation. But we must find our common ground or suffer an ever-widening us/them gap that serves no one but the media and politicians.

Even if your neighbors’ candidates won, they are surely hurting too in 2010 and expecting a lot from their winners.

It is the media that took humanity out of America and tossed raw meat at us to fight over. It is a hoax, a trick, slight of hand, smoke and mirrors. We must find our commonality. Conversation is our tool. This is our power.

Do it today in line at the store. Just smile and say “hello.” The last thing any governing body wants is its population actually working together. So mess ’em up — play nice!

Julie Michals
South Portland

 

I’m French, I’m Catholic, and I’m embarrassed by Paul LePage. Despite his advertising, he knows nothing about business development, education, science or his own religion.

The unemployment rate in Waterville has increased under his tenure with no demonstrable job creation during his seven years as mayor. From January 2003 through August 2010, the unemployment rose from 6.8 percent to 7.5 percent (www.maine.gov/labor/lmis/laus.html).

As economists note, the 0.7 percent increase in unemployment is significant. LePage cut jobs in the public sector without commensurate job creation in the private sector. His actions did nothing to stimulate the local economy while taking away services. Minimum wage jobs without benefits is the direction he intends to take Maine.

The Catholic church has acknowledged the veracity of evolution but has yet to reconcile 2,000 years of Christian dogma with the pseudo-science of creationism, the religion that LePage advocates be taught in Maine’s schools though “there is no inherent opposition between faith and the scientific discovery that life evolved from lower forms to higher forms over many millions of years” (www.holyspiritinteractive.net). From a Catholic perspective, creationism is heresy and historically punishable by excommunication.

LePage has never taught. His “Student-Focused Education Reform” statements (www.lepage2010.com) are political jargon without substance or practicality. Tie teacher pay to student performance? I agree. From now on, all my students arbitrarily receive A’s. I expect my bonus check is in the mail.

“As your governor, you’re going to be seeing a lot of me on the front page, saying ‘Gov. LePage tells Obama to go to hell’? (LePage, Sept. 26, 2010).

LePage has made a fool of himself, which is fine. He is, after all, an uninformed, uneducated tea partier. It’s unfathomable to believe, however, that he is now the public face of Maine. Embarrassing.

Paul C. Trahan
Saco