I have had the opportunity, in the course of this gubernatorial campaign, to spend a lot of time with the other three candidates in this race, all of whom I like and admire. As I’ve said many times in public debates and forums, all of them are good people. But not all of them would be good governors.

Of the three candidates remaining in this race, only one has the experience, the intelligence and the toughness to do this job. Only one candidate is ready to step into the job, on day one, to tackle the challenges we face and move Maine forward.

After participating in countless forums and debates with these three candidates, I can tell you what I have seen: Democrat Janet Mills is that leader.

That’s why this Monday, when I withdrew from the race, I heartily endorsed Janet Mills as our next governor. It’s also why I’m doing everything that I can, between now and Election Day, to help her win.

Janet and I have known each other for many years, and we’ve worked together on issues affecting Maine people. I know her as someone who cares deeply about Maine people and has worked tirelessly to make Maine a better state.

Maine has lost many things over the past eight years. We’ve lost civility, common sense and decency. And we’ve lost countless opportunities. We cannot stay on the path we’ve been on, as a state. We cannot afford eight more years of hyperpartisan gridlock and division.

We need leadership with a vision for the future and a real plan to bring people together, grow our economy, lower the cost of health care and improve our education system.

Janet Mills is that leader.

Alan Caron

Freeport