I appreciated Alan Caron’s Jan. 29 column, “Maine Community College System deserves support, not meddling.” It was a sobering read that seems on target in describing the price we’re paying in electing Gov. LePage, whose policies flow from a narrow ideological belief system unfettered by facts, logic or even common courtesy.

I recently heard an interview with Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio. The contrast in tone between him and LePage was striking. The combativeness, anger and divisiveness were absent from Kasich’s responses.

Kasich talked sincerely, passionately and proudly about Ohio’s economic “rebirth,” about the state’s success with “advanced manufacturing” and about the cloud computing and other cutting-edge initiatives that Ohio is attracting.

He repeatedly stressed the importance of lifelong education and job training and retraining and the belief that everyone can get ahead. He referred to the need to be “idea-oriented.”

There was no mention of fights with his attorney general or people “feeling his wrath” if they didn’t follow his orders. Kasich never used the terms “medical” or “municipal” in reference to welfare. He didn’t denigrate those with different political beliefs.

I was especially moved by his thoughts regarding Ohio’s expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a move Kasich strongly advocated for. He spoke of helping “those in the shadows” get onto their feet, making reference to the mentally ill in particular. He quoted from the New Testament in regard to our collective responsibility for our fellowmen.

Maine and Ohio are vastly different places, and the reasons that a state thrives are complicated. Yet if I were going to wager on which state will emerge with a healthier economy by the end of this decade, I’d put my money on Ohio. In the final analysis, I believe Kasich’s leadership, vision and compassion will make all the difference.

Mary Ann Larson