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Good morning. This is John Baldacci.

For the past eight years, I have had the privilege to serve the People of Maine as Governor.

As my term in office comes to an end, I want to thank you for your support, your kindness and the trust you have placed in me.

We have worked together, through good times and bad, to make our State a better place.

In Maine, government is still close to the people. And the people are never reluctant to let you know what they think.

The people of this State have treated me and my family warmly, even when we have disagreed.

I began my political career more than 30 years ago on the Bangor City Council, and I have had the great honor to serve in the State Senate, in the United States Congress and as Governor.

At each step along the way, I have tried to always put the best interests of Maine ahead of all other concerns.

My mother and father, who inspired me to become engaged in public service, made sure that I understood that politics and government are about making sure everyone has an opportunity to be successful, about making our communities better.

My father challenged me with the question: “What have you done for the people today?”

And each day since, I have tried to live up to the answers that question demands.

As I’ve looked back on the last eight years, the common theme of many of the interviews I’ve had is that I was “unlucky,” that I was called to serve during very difficult economic times.

I used to joke that on the day I took office, if we weren’t at the bottom we certainly could see it from where we were standing.

But I’ve never considered my time as Governor in those terms.

Serving as Governor presents unpredictable challenges.

The weight of your decisions and the impacts they have on the lives of people can be heavy at times. And the long days and long hours can take away from time with family and friends.

But I believe serving this State is the greatest job a person can have.

I consider the opportunity to serve a blessing and a tremendous honor.

And I will never forget the generosity Mainers have shown to me throughout my career.

Each Governor, I believe, has the obligation to try to leave the State in a better position than he found it.

I have worked hard for eight years to do just that.

With a new administration just days away from taking office, Maine is beginning to recover from the recession.

State revenues are improving. Corporate profits are up. There’s no short-term borrowing to pay the bills.

Unemployment is more than two points lower than the national average.

And the holiday shopping season was brightened by renewed consumer spending.

No doubt the challenges facing Governor-elect LePage will still be considerable.

And the greatest of those may well be a new crisis that today is unforeseeable.

None of us can predict the future or know for certain what tomorrow will bring.

I wish the new Governor, his wife, his team, and the new members of the Legislature, only the best as they work to chart the course for our State.

And I want to thank you all for your support through the years, and for giving me the opportunity to serve.

It has been both a privilege and an honor.

God Bless you. God Bless Maine. And have a very Happy New Year.

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