We need a business plan for incumbent protection and we should all contribute.  I know you best among the leadership so I am starting with you.

I know you guys are already thinking about it, but I wanted to make sure you know the Governor’s office is committed to making it a priority.  That is why Paul has asked me to direct both Communications and Legislative Affairs – we are going to spend a great deal of time making Heather Sirocki and Garret Mason look very effective. 

I am open to ideas, suggestions and changes.  These are my initial thoughts on the planning process:

• Identify in numerical order (maybe groups of 10) our most vulnerable members and get to work on raising their profiles.  Taking into consideration the demographics of their districts, their own abilities, and the strength of potential opponents we can prioritize so our resources are put to the best use.

o   New House members

o   New Senate members

o   House members getting ready to make the leap to the Senate

• Identify Target Districts for pick-ups.

o   Develop a list of districts where we have opportunities.

o   Find ways to get real time information into those districts to soften the ground

o   Find ways to get potential candidates engaged – Tony Couture of Jay lost a close house race and was at our Red Tape forum in Farmington.  He is running again.  Let’s start now.

§  Andre, I just copied you on a message I sent to Tony.  Jon, I will forward it to you. 

• Coordination

o   House and Senate Leadership

o   Senator Snowe is aggressively gearing up.  Let’s get her and her state offices involved in increasing the profile of our people.

o   Constitutional Officers

o   The LePage Administration – every department, every agency and the Governor himself.

§  Schedule Coordination

§  Sharing the spotlight on announcements & successes

§  Engaging members in the process

Example:  We are probably going to pay the hospital debt through 2009 as part of the supplemental budget – about $259 million.   We need to take several bites of the apple along the way – when we introduce the supplemental, when we pass it, when the Governor signs it.   And I’ll even make sure our members know the exact day the exact amount of State funding transferred (and the amount) to their local hospitals so our members can show up with a big symbolic check to make it a press event.  I like the visual of Garret Mason standing outside Central Maine Medical Center  with a plywood-sized check in his hand signed by Paul LePage for $40 Million Dollars (or whatever the actual amount is).

• Training

o   Train staff on identifying good opportunities

§  Introduced bill

§  Solved a problem

§  Cub scouts came to Augusta

o   Train staff on coordination

o   Train staff to use their time wisely.  Termed members have to take a back seat to freshmen.

o   Train staff to create low risk, high profile opportunities  (i.e. hospital rallies / red tape audits – fish in a barrel stuff)

o   Training Reps and Senators to be on the lookout themselves.

• Information I / we need on each member

o   Committee Assignments

o   Priorities

o   Local hot button issues / large employers (i.e. businesses, hospitals, colleges)

o   District media outlets – radio, weeklies, tv coverage, new media

o   Local Contacts we can use to push information into communities through email / face book / word of mouth

A well-run effort makes it easier to pass our change agenda and puts our members in a position to stick around long enough to see the process through to the end.

I’d like to connect the week before Christmas with you and key staff.  If you are not in town, we can hopefully get some of your staffs putting together some of the resources / information we are going to need to get rolling.  Once we take office, Paul will put 11,000 bureaucrats to work getting Republicans re-elected.