PORTLAND – Over the past several months, I have gotten to know many of my fellow candidates for mayor.

While we are a diverse group with different visions and experiences, I believe we all share a passion for Portland and a commitment to seeing our city succeed. Needless to say, there are a lot of good people in this race. But voters still have a clear choice come Nov. 8.

As this race has progressed, I have been struck by The Press Herald’s profiles of the candidates to date. In almost every account, the profiled candidate cites Portland as a great place to live with a lot of great things going on, but then he or she immediately promises to change everything.

I have been resolute that Portland is an extraordinary city and that we are heading in the right direction. Our diverse neighborhoods, thriving arts and cultural community and unmatched natural beauty are just a few examples of what make our city great.

Moreover, even in the worst recession of our lifetime, we have attracted investment that includes three new hotels downtown, expanded development along the Marginal Way corridor and the renovation of the Cumberland Cold Storage building on the waterfront. These investments not only create jobs but also enhance the character of our city.

Yet, my opponents want you to ignore this progress in an attempt to sell you a vague notion that we must blow things up and start all over.

I am offering a different vision for Portland. Instead of putting our character and momentum at risk, I will build on what is working to keep the good things going.

Don’t get me wrong; there are some things we must do differently. I have always believed that we are either improving or declining. And while Portland is a great place, we must keep our momentum going by making it easier to create jobs, prepare all of our children for the 21st century global economy and make our city healthier and greener.

To achieve this vision, we don’t need to bulldoze City Hall. What we need is a leader who can bring people together to solve tough problems. That is what I did when I co-chaired the East End Community School and Middle Schools building committees. That is what I did to help keep Pierce Atwood and its nearly 200 jobs from leaving the city. And that is what I did when I brought developers, neighbors and city councilors together around the Thompson’s Point development that will soon put 1,600 people to work.

This election is as much about the type of mayor we have as it is about the intentions of each candidate. We have a real opportunity to keep Portland on a prosperous course, but it won’t happen if we elect someone who may be looking ahead to run for higher office or score political points by picking fights with city councilors.

While the official duties are not that different from what I now do as mayor, I believe there are some distinct opportunities that can set the elected mayor apart, while keeping the good things going.

As a hands-on, full-time leader, I will play a major role in shaping our city’s future — from attracting new jobs, supporting improvements for our schools, as well as expanding our health initiatives and greening efforts.

Throughout my career, I have found that building consensus through trust, process and relationships is the only way to get things done. It is that type of collaborative approach I will bring to ensure that Portland is still a great city 50 years from now.

That is what I have done throughout my career and that is what I will do every day as Portland’s elected mayor.

We live in a great city. But I am not running for mayor because of what Portland is; I am running because of what Portland can be. We are on a successful course. With a slight change in priorities and the right kind of leader, we can keep the good things going and build an even brighter future for the place I know and love as Portland.

– Special to the Press Herald