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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

Maine voters went to the polls this week and have made their choices to lead our State.

They elected a new Governor, a new Legislature, re-elected Congressman Mike Michaud and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, and set the stage for at least the next two years.

They also made important decisions regarding investments in Maine’s future and about gambling.

I’m gratified that voters supported our efforts to protect the natural areas and to improve our State parks.

And I believe the investment that they approved for dental health will expand access and help people, especially in rural areas where dentists can be scarce.

And I want to congratulate again Waterville Mayor Paul LePage for his election as Governor and the Maine Republican Party for significant gains in the Maine House and Senate.

I also want to recognize all the candidates who put themselves forward.

It takes a lot of courage to run for office and to risk the judgment of your community.

Elections can be tough, and it takes someone dedicated to public service to run for office.

Winning an election is only the first test for new leaders.

Once the ballots are cast and the voters have made their decision, it becomes time to govern – to protect public health and safety, to ensure every child has access to a quality education and to implement policies that give our people an opportunity for success.

The rhetoric of a campaign can be harsh.

Rumors and misinformation can take on a life of their own.

Good people – under stress to succeed – can say the wrong thing or make a bad decision.

But once the dust settles, voters expect the people they elect to work together for the good of the State.

On Wednesday, I reached out to Governor-elect LePage, Eliot Cutler, Libby Mitchell and Shawn Moody.

The candidates deserve our respect and our thanks.

In early January, Maine will inaugurate a new governor.

Until then the work of government will continue.

My administration will do everything possible to ensure that we have a smooth and efficient transition of power to Governor-Elect LePage and the new leaders in the Legislature.

They face challenges ahead, and have earned an opportunity to be successful.

I understand that the bitterness of the campaign may linger for some. But time and again, Maine leaders have shown that they can work together for the good of our State.

When it comes to the State budget, energy policy, bonds and many of the most important issues we face, Democrats, Republicans and Independents have come together to do the right thing.

While there will be real changes in the people who are leading the Governor’s Office and the Legislature, I hope the spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation that we have seen for most of the last eight years can continue.

For Democrats, Election Day was difficult – both in Maine and nationally.

But just two years ago, the pundits were wondering if the Republican Party had become a permanent minority or limited to just a regional influence.

Today, the shoe’s on the other foot.

I was first elected to Congress in 1994. I was one of only two freshmen Democrats elected during that historic Republican year.

And what I’ve learned is that there is an inevitable cycle in politics.

Political parties and their ideas ebb and flow.

But it is the competition and the compromise between Democrats, Republicans and Independents that keep our government and our politics invigorated.

Mainers pay attention to what’s going on and are close to their government. They expect results.

I want to again wish Governor-Elect LePage and all the new and returning Legislators good luck as they prepare for the challenges of the future.

We may be of different political parties, but I believe that all of us want the very best for our State and its people.

Thank you and have a nice weekend.

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