PORTLAND — “Maine: The way life should be.” We all know the saying, but the reality is that under Gov. LePage’s watch, it’s becoming less true for younger Mainers.

Our state’s economy has a long way to go before it fully recovers from the recession. Mainers who are trying to get established and secure a solid foundation for their families are especially hurting.

A recent report from the Maine Center for Economic Policy confirms what many of us knew on a gut level: Job creation is lagging badly in our state, and Mainers of prime working age are bearing the brunt of the governor’s poor performance.

These disturbing trends come at a time when Maine is trying to keep young people in the state and address the challenges of an increasingly aging population. How are we to move forward when the employment level of Mainers in the prime of the working years, those between 25 and 54, has not improved since the end of the recession?

It’s ironic because the governor touts his businessman background as a “turnaround specialist.” In his State of the State address, he told us, “Having spent my career in business, I know what grows an economy.”

Maine has been scraping along the bottom when it comes to job creation. We’ve been stuck in the back of the pack in total job growth since 2011, unable to gain traction and catch up.

Maine has recovered only about half of lost jobs, putting us in last place in New England. As a region, New England has regained all of its lost jobs and then some. The United States as a whole has recovered 95 percent.

The governor is the CEO of our state. We need to take a look at his performance record.

We have seen job growth opportunities go by the wayside because of the governor. More than once, he’s sat on voter-approved bonds, sidelining Mainers who want to get back to work. His obstruction has led to budget cuts in the University of Maine system.

We are now seeing the effects of these devastating cuts at the University of Southern Maine, where we face the prospect of losing jobs and programs important to our students and their future careers.

We need policies that support our current and future workforce, our Maine-grown businesses and their communities.

The Legislature passed laws to strengthen early childhood education, address college affordability and barriers to degree completion and build on areas like the marine economy, where we already enjoy a competitive advantage.


The governor, meanwhile, went on a veto spree whose targets included a key bond proposal to help small businesses grow. Lawmakers overrode that truly misguided veto.

Instead of making smart decisions to create jobs both now and in the future, our governor has mismanaged his administration and misused taxpayer dollars.

As Maine’s CEO, the governor secretly gave a $1 million no-bid contract to a discredited consultant, Gary Alexander, who made a $575 million math error in his report and didn’t even manage to turn his work in on time. In the end, taxpayer money went to a set of talking points from a tea party crony.

On his watch, the governor’s administration became the subject of a federal investigation that found that he interfered with the work of quasi-judicial unemployment hearing officers. His administration is also under fire for shredding public documents.

The governor’s administration also lost $20 million in federal funding for the state’s psychiatric hospital by ignoring federal law. Federal officials warned the administration about the problems and terminated the provider agreement after an unannounced visit.

The LePage administration is also responsible for the debacle of the MaineCare rides system, one that 45,000 Mainers rely on to get to dialysis, mental health and other appointments. Mainers missed thousands of appointments because of dysfunction in the system. The most problematic contractor got paid an extra $2.6 million in recent months for reasons the administration can’t explain.

And in an unprecedented development, the governor failed to propose a supplemental budget. Working with the Legislature on a budget is a major part of his job, but he chose to disregard his duty. He then vetoed the budget crafted by lawmakers and saw that veto overturned.

This administration has demonstrated a serious lack of accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility. It’s not a record that inspires confidence in our CEO.

Maine deserves effective leadership that can move our state, our economy and our people forward.