During the last two Maine gubernatorial elections, the public discourse centered on polling and spoiler candidates – both of which could be summed up in one question: “Who can win?” We never got to ask the critical question: “Who should win?” If the Legislature gets out of the way and implements ranked-choice voting, we might just have a shot at a real debate on ideas and vision in 2018.

Maine’s next governor must be able to crystallize and execute a clear roadmap of economic opportunity. Housing costs are rising dramatically, while mills are being shuttered and sold for scrap.

Bernie Sanders won 63 percent of Democratic caucus voters and Donald Trump won an Electoral College vote in rural Maine – because they both were able to accessibly speak the language of the unheard and oft-dismissed economic challenges people are genuinely facing. Their message of reform and opportunity resonated. The next governor must seriously work to address those economic challenges by reforming the systems that created them.

Addressing the opioid crisis must be a top priority for the new governor. With Gov. LePage’s refusal to expand Medicaid, progress has been minimal, because people often can’t afford treatment without it. Mainers will vote on expansion at the ballot box, but we need a governor committed to implementing it properly.

Expanding Medicaid will also insure roughly 70,000 Mainers, including 3,000 veterans, who are currently not insured. This one policy change would significantly improve the health, quality of life and economic circumstances for Maine families.

Rural Maine needs significant investment in its infrastructure, particularly broadband access. Susan Corbett of Axiom has done a remarkable job deploying broadband throughout Washington County, understanding its critical importance for building an economy that works for her region.

Her work should be replicated across the state, coupled with serious job training investments. Regions that have invested in broadband and job training together have seen dramatic shifts in their regional economies. We must invest in the tool, but we must also invest in teaching people how to effectively utilize that tool to their best advantage.

I introduced marijuana legalization measures three times in the Legislature, and last fall Maine voters passed a referendum legalizing commercial marijuana sales to adults over the age of 21. In a tourist state, proper implementation of this new system has significant potential to increase tax revenue – revenue that should be earmarked to build and maintain our schools and opioid addiction treatment programs.

Wall Street continues to disinvest in small businesses, and with the imminent repeal of key banking regulations enacted post-Great Recession, they are poised to make similar mistakes all over again. It’s time to invest dividends back on Main Street, and a state bank – like the Bank of North Dakota – would do just that. Even if Maine started small with an infrastructure bank designed to invest in our infrastructure, it would put taxpayer dollars to work more effectively. Roughly 40 percent of public works project costs are interest alone.

By reinvesting interest rates back into a state public bank – and not Wall Street – we could reduce overall infrastructure costs while earning a better return on investment for Maine taxpayers. If we broadened the mission beyond infrastructure, we could have an economic tool to put mill communities in better negotiating positions when mill companies play hardball.

As part of the team that brought the Opportunity Maine program into existence, I confess serious bias toward it. That said, the refundable tax credit to reimburse student loan payments for Maine graduates has been a growing success. It’s not just for students, though. Businesses can take the tax credit if they pay the student loans of their eligible employees.

The next governor should lead a public campaign to encourage all Maine businesses to offer the Opportunity Maine student loan repayment benefit to entice young graduates to stay in Maine. It also would better incentivize people who need to transition careers to attend and finish college, further increasing the talent pool of our state while reducing the skills gap.

We have work to do, and we need a leader who can chart a concrete course forward and engage Maine voters to see that agenda to fruition. The 2016 elections clearly show Maine is ready to support a reform candidate and that party status is secondary to a serious, accessible vision. Now, we just need some reform candidates.