Independent gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes takes notes while listening to Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce Director Craig Pendleton speak about workforce issues in downtown Saco on Wednesday afternoon.LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

Independent gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes takes notes while listening to Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce Director Craig Pendleton speak about workforce issues in downtown Saco on Wednesday afternoon.LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

SACO — If we want to attract skilled workers to Maine, we need to change the way we talk about our state says Maine State Treasurer Terry Hayes, independent candidate for Governor. 

The 59-year-old Buckfield resident visited Saco Wednesday afternoon to talk with local residents and take a tour of the city’s downtown.

Hayes spoke of a subject that concerns many, the lack of skilled workers to fill available jobs in Maine.

“You can’t be open for business if you don’t have any workers,” said Hayes.

Hayes said the state needs to be welcoming to people who wish to move here to fill positions, whether they are from another state or another country.

“We’re always talking about our challenges, and that’s the headline that is seen nationally, and that is the image that we leave with people,” said Hayes. “I would like to change that. One of the reasons I would like to be Maine’s next governor is that I don’t see Maine that way, I don’t see Maine’s blemishes at the top of my list.”

When talking about the state and the need for workers, people often undervalue the benefits, she said.

There are many advantages to living in Maine, not only are there beautiful open spaces, but those moving here from other states can avoid traffic and smog, she said.

Hayes said that not all young people in Maine leave the state, noting that her three children were born, raised and educated in Maine, and now live here as adults. 

She said the education system needs to do a better job of preparing students for the jobs of today and tomorrow so young people can stay on top of job trends. 

“We’re not particularly good story tellers, and we have to shift that,” she said.

Hayes served in the Maine House of Representatives as a Democrat in 2006 to 2014, and left the party in 2014. 

 “I made a conscious decision because the partisanship was in the way. And I tried to change it from the inside and I failed,” she said. “I gave it my best shot, and when I wasn’t adequately persuasive I said this is not how I want to do my policy work anymore,” she said.

Discussions on the state level need to be more inclusive and pragmatic, she said. It’s harder to accomplish anything if people are exchanging talking points on ideology, she said.
“We get stuck in these ideological silos, and we stay there, and its an echo chamber,” she said.

“I want to be Maine’s next governor because I want to partner with anyone who’s willing to help,” she said.  “I don’t want the partisanship. I’ll stop campaigning on election night and start transitioning to government.”

— Staff Writer Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or [email protected] 


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