FALMOUTH — Maine would be a much better place today if independent Eliot Cutler had been elected governor in 2010.

I supported him four years ago because I liked his confidence that Maine could do better; his ideas about education and energy; his track record working for the environment and starting and running a business; and the idea that he would bring new people into Maine state government.

When he announced that he would run again in this year’s election, I decided to support him again for those same reasons. I am confident that he would be a much better leader than Republican Gov. Paul Le-Page has been and that Maine would be a better place under a Cutler administration. But I no longer believe that Eliot Cutler can win, and for that reason, I am giving my support to Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud.

The stakes for this election are enormous in very real terms.

The re-election of Gov. LePage would mean that 70,000 Mainers, including 3,000 veterans, will remain uninsured even though to insure them under the Affordable Care Act would cost Maine nothing in the first few years and very little after that.

It would mean returning to office someone who has so debased the level of political discourse in this state that it is embarrassing to talk about what comes out of his mouth with my children around the kitchen table, and we have become the object of ridicule, and pity, outside our borders.

It would mean returning to office a man whose chief qualification is his so-called business acumen but who has, in fact:

Made bad investments with our money (the Cate Street Capital debacle in Millinocket is only one of them).

Hired bad staff and consultants (let’s not forget the Alexander Group or Norm Olsen at the Department of Marine Resources).

Driven Statoil – one of the world’s largest energy companies in the world and poised to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our state to develop our offshore wind resource – out of the state because of an irrational opposition to renewable energy.

It would mean returning to office a man who has belittled and insulted those who teach our children, demonized those who most need a helping hand and hollowed out the key agencies that protect our environment, our health and our safety.

Maine people must not accept or excuse this type of behavior, rhetoric and spite in the person who holds the highest elected office in the state. We deserve so much better.

Mike Michaud is a far better candidate for governor than Gov. LePage. He is admittedly not the best debater, but he is also simply incapable of the false outrage, complete disrespect or uncontrollable temper tantrums that we have become all too familiar with after living with Gov. LePage for four years.

Congressman Michaud is honest, earnest, hardworking and dedicated to a state where lending a helping hand is not a burden but an honor and a privilege. He is pragmatic, not dogmatic. He is bipartisan, as shown by the support he has garnered from Republicans and independents during the course of this campaign.

He will be better for our environment, our economy and our self-respect. He is able to listen and is not afraid to change his mind or opinion if, in fact, he comes to the conclusion that doing so is the right thing to do.

And that is exactly what I have done. I have and will continue to have the highest regard for Eliot Cutler as a candidate, a person and a leader. But I cannot abide another four years of a crass, bombastic and mean person leading our state.

If you want to close the book on what has surely been one of the poorest-performing administrations in Maine’s history on the economy, the environment, health care and education, then I believe you must vote for U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud on Nov. 4.