For the past six years, in my capacity as executive director of the Biddeford+Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry, I’ve participated in one of the greatest regional economic resurgences in generations.

Biddeford and Saco have been brought to life by wise local investment from hardworking individuals who saw the area for what it could become, not what it was believed to be. No longer are we has-been mill towns. Instead, we are the booming economic generator for York County.

We have witnessed over $200 million of investment to fund this resurgence, and much of it is due to changing the message. When an area can sing its own praise, promote its natural attributes and show entrepreneurs that our location is like nowhere else in the world, progress begins. The positive messaging works and we are committed to it.

Long-term actions and recent negative comments delivered by our governor can stop prosperity in its tracks. These words were recently captured in an Associated Press story that was published nationwide.

I’ve been contacted by friends and colleagues from Maine to Iowa and from California to Illinois asking if our governor is for real. I watched Twitter blow up my phone with #boycottMaine and people calling us racists. Yes, they called us, the citizens of Maine, racists – not just Gov. LePage. Is this how we want to be known? Is this the fertile field we all have been planting for investment only to have it destroyed?

Having Maine depicted as a racist state with an unstable governor doesn’t encourage economic development. Businesses need stability and assurances that there is strong potential that they will benefit from their investment. With the governor spewing obscenities over the phone and making international news with his actions, I firmly believe that he’s cost Maine businesses significant revenue and worse, damaged the good name of Maine citizens.

Craig A. Pendleton

executive director, Biddeford+Saco Chamber of Commerce & Industry