The notion of "quality of place" (mentioned above) has all but vanished from our statewide dialogue, and I think it's important to recognize it as a critical economic development tool. By virtue of our location, we have high transportation energy costs. We also have high taxes caused in part by a small, aging and relatively poor population.
While there may be ways to make marginal improvements, those factors are not likely going to fundamentally change - The best thing we can use to attract business investment is use Maine itself -- those elements and assets that make us different from other states. We have astonishing natural beauty, excellent cultural resources, a great sense of place, and lots of unused infrastructure in the form of historic downtowns. Let's devise policies that capitalize on and continue to preserve those assets.
Environmental protection is important for both moral and practical reasons. My Dad was the author of a Sierra Club natural history guide to New England and another book about the New England landscape, and so I was brought up with experiences that made me acutely aware of our region's natural resources, as well as ecology and conservation issues. We can't abandon our hard-won environmental protections. I am honored to have been endorsed by Maine Conservation Voters.
When the economy is flat is the best time to think about how to manage growth. We need to maintain our commitment to land and natural resource conservation while also continuing to invest in education and other forms of workforce development. Let's dust off the Brookings Report and move ahead in a concerted fashion.'