Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Thibodeau talks to a reporter at Run of the Mill restaurant in Saco on Friday. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Thibodeau talks to a reporter at Run of the Mill restaurant in Saco on Friday. LIZ GOTTHELF/Journal Tribune

SACO — Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Thibodeau said, if elected. he will bring his skill of bringing people together that he used in the Senate to Maine’s highest state office to create good public policy.

Thibodeau is a small business owner from Winterport and serves as president of the State Senate. He met with Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce + Industry Executive Director Craig Pendleton on Friday to tour some local businesses.

“Government doesn’t have all the answers,” said Thibodeau, “but if you really, really believe you can make a difference and pass good public policy and change the life of 1.25 million people in a positive way, it’s worth doing.”

He said as president of the State Senate, he had the opportunity to influence positive outcomes on legislation over the years and brought people together to find solutions in a very tough political climate. Thibodeau said he would use this same approach if elected governor.

Thibodeau led an effort to repeal a voter-passed bill that would have created a 3 percent surtax on individuals, families and businesses that earn more than $200,000, with the tax used to funding education. He said he was able to work with colleagues to honor the spirit of what the voters passed and put more money in education without harming the economy.

He is proud of this accomplishment, he said, which didn’t happen because he brow-beated people, but because he was clear in what needed to be done and worked with all people to accomplish the goal.

Thibodeau said the state needs to focus on job creation and and creating a climate to keep young people in Maine.

Maine is a great place to live and a wonderful place to raise a family, but the problem is a lack of job opportunities for young people who move elsewhere to find work.

“The one thing that will bring these young people back here, our children and our grandchildren, is a good paying job,” he said.

State government needs to do everything it can to support the state university system and help ensure affordable higher education, he said.

In addition, the state needs to make the tax structure more competitive to attract businesses.

For instance, he said, the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development needs to have the resources and staff to go out and attract companies from across the nation.

Many local chambers and community organizations do a good job of promoting their communities, Thibodeau said, but there needs to be a more focus on promoting Mainevat the state level to compliment the work done at the local level.

Thibodeau said the state needs to convince businesses that if they don’t choose Maine, they’re missing a good opportunity. Not only is there a good quality of life, but Maine also has the lowest electricity rates in the Northeast, he said.

“We need to make sure we’re doing a good job of selling ourselves and accentuate the positive,” Thibodeau said.

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

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