The state of Maine is in a state of gubernatorial uncertainty: a recent poll shows Paul LePage (R) faltering, with Eliot Cutler (I) rising. Candidates are calling, and people are wondering who to vote for. The answer to that question doesn't begin in the booth, but in Maine's mountains and islands, in its forests and its fish.
There is no question that Maine is a unique state. It boasts deep, healthy woods, a rocky coast without peer and high energy bills through long, cold winters. For Maine to remain Maine, it needs to preserve the first two and solve the third. Of all the candidates asking for your vote to be Maine's next governor, Eliot Cutler has, without question, the most experience. He has my vote, and I hope he will have yours.
The final weeks of any campaign is a time for questions regarding candidate's conduct -- and, in the case of Paul LePage, questionable conduct. But one question was settled before the race began: Eliot Cutler has, by far, the best environmental credentials of any candidate. In fact, it's hard to find another candidate in all the gubernatorial races across the country that has such an exemplary track record of promoting energy solutions and environmental protection.
Consider where Cutler has been, and what he's done:
• Cutler helped write the first tough Federal oil spill cleanup law - important to remember in light of the recent BP oil spill.
• Cutler worked for Senator Ed Muskie, where he helped write the 1970 Clean Air Act and the 1972 Clean Water Act .
• And he has worked with national environmental bureaus, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Park Service and the Forest Service, to whom he restored funding.
Even before he ran for Governor, Cutler has done more to help maintain he quality of Maine's natural resources than any of the other candidates will likely do in their tenure.
The Republican candidate Paul LePage, for instance, wants to weaken environmental regulations and open the coast to offshore oil exploration. In one debate, he argued that the state's regulatory burden was excessive for businesses by citing a non-existent study about buffalos. Libby Mitchell, the Democratic nominee, is better than LePage, but not nearly as good as Cutler.
When you hike, or fish or hunt, you don't thank a political party. But when you're thankful for our state's clean air and water, you can be thankful for the work Cutler has already done. Just think of the work he can do as Maine's next governor.
In a speech to the Maine Maine Forest Products Council, Cutler expressed what so many Mainers feel: "The North woods, like the Maine coast, is the heart and soul of the state. Period."
I couldn't agree more.