However you’ve been following the race for Governor this election season, you’ve been hearing it from all sides, so we’ll make this one brief. We urge you to vote for Michael Michaud.
Somewhere along the way, people got it into their heads that effective legislators first needed to prove themselves as CEOs and corporate account managers. That’s the primary argument being leveled at Congressman Michaud from his opponents, independent Eliot Cutler and Republican incumbent Paul LePage. We think there’s something fishy about that worldview. As we’ve seen from the last four years of LePage, a business manager for more than two decades, excessive ties to the private sector and corporate management can just as easily be a corruptor of government, not a solution to it.
Yes, proper governance requires attention to the state budget, and lending a guiding hand to assist local private enterprises and small businesses. But it also needs a sobering look at what helps Maine citizens the most, and the legislative wherewithal to ensure that can happen.
We think Michaud can do that. A former paper mill worker and union affiliate, we’re impressed with his Maine Made Plan, which carefully delineates improvements to farms and fisheries, minimum wage increases, and promoting Maine’s products and industries to markets across the nation. His healthcare plan would expand Medicaid to 70,000 Mainers who presently don’t have insurance, accepting the federal money that Governor LePage so disastrously rejected. And we think his plan to make the sophomore year of college free to in-state students at Maine universities is a great idea, and has the potential to make up for the decrease in state funding and save the University of Maine System.
The Phoenix, under different editorship, endorsed Eliot Cutler four years ago. And under different circumstances, we might be inclined to do so again today. We think Cutler is savvy and likeable, a deft orator, and has an impressive platform on social and environmental issues. And we like that he’s unequivocal about the need to raise the minimum wage and expand healthcare.
But in a state ravaged by four years of Paul LePage and his odious Tea Party platforms, we need a return to building worker protections and state services. We’re wary of Cutler’s ties to big business in the state, and unconvinced on his position on tax reform, concentrated heavily on relieving property taxes and income taxes while increasing the sales tax. That’s a mixed bag—taxing tourists during the summer months seems like a logical idea (and removing the exemption on taxing golf courses, an environmentally problematic monoculture, is long overdue), but sales is a regressive tax that predominately hits poor people hardest.
Of all three candidates, Michaud seems most likely to look out for laborers, balancing justice with the need for growth. The other candidates tout their experience at the top of the management ladder, but in this case, we trust Michaud’s experience working with the masses of people in middle and lower classes. His endorsement from the Maine Small Business Coalition only reinforces this.
And then there’s the other thing.
Here we are in late October, and it’s getting pretty clear with each passing day that Eliot Cutler cannot win. Recent polls have suggested slight leads for both Michaud and LePage, but Cutler hasn’t experienced the surge he did in 2010. No major external poll conducted in October has Cutler with more than 17 percent of the vote.