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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

On Tuesday, voters in Maine and around the country will go to the polls to cast their ballots.

It’s an opportunity for your voice to be heard.

In Maine, we have a Governor’s race, two Congressional campaigns, statewide referenda, 186 seats in the Legislature and a broad range of local offices and questions to be decided.

It’s an important day that will set the course of the State for years to come.

Every person who has put themselves forward deserves credit, win or lose.

It’s takes courage to stand before voters and ask for their judgment and their support.

With many competitive races this year, the election has been hard-fought. And there have been a lot of insults hurled and accusations made. Some of them fair and some of them not.

But campaigns, even tough ones, are where ideas are tested and the character of candidate is put on display.

The rough-and-tumble nature of process lets voters see how the men and women who wish to lead the State will handle themselves under stress.

To some folks, an election might seem distasteful by the end of a long campaign.

But I believe our political system has endured and is the strongest in the world because the power to move government rests with our people.

And that success depends on voters knowing the candidates and the issues and then casting an informed ballot.

In Maine, our people vote.

During the last presidential election, more than 70 percent of Mainers voted, ranking our State second in the nation for participation.

And I think that high level of participation helps to explain why Maine’s political leaders have been able to work together regardless of political parties.

You might not know it by the campaign rhetoric, but the Maine Legislature has passed the last five budgets it has considered with bipartisan super-majorities.

On significant issues, such as energy independence, transportation, and bonds, members of different political parties have been able to work together.

That cooperation sets our State apart from much of the country, and I believe it can be attributed to the close connection Maine people have with their Governor and their Legislature.

In addition to the candidates on Tuesday’s ballot, voters will decide three statewide ballot questions and a host of local issues.

Question 1 would allow a casino to be built in Oxford County.

My position on gambling is no secret. I don’t support its expansion. But I know it’s up to the people of Maine to decide whether they think gambling can live up to the promises being made.

Question 2 asks voters to approve a $5 million bond that would be used to expand access to dentists in rural areas and to help create a dental school in Maine.

Maine has a shortage of dentists. And poor dental health can contribute to a wide range of significant medical issues, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and other chronic ailments.

While Question 2 is no silver bullet, it will help train new dentists in Maine and make sure more people can see a dentist when they need one.

Question 3 asks voters to invest almost $10 million to protect Maine’s working waterfronts, access to outdoor recreation, our State parks and other pristine areas.

Maine’s economy is closely tied to our natural resources and our outdoor heritage.

So protecting Maine’s most important areas, making sure that hunters and fishermen have access, and protecting a way of life for people earning a living on the water is critical.

I will be supporting both Question 2 and Question 3.

Come Tuesday, the choice is yours.

I encourage everyone to cast a ballot, and let your voice be heard.

The challenges facing our State are real, and it is up to the voters to decide how we move forward.

Through a long career in public service, I have always trusted in the judgment of the people.

While elections are necessarily partisan and divisive, we have always been able to come back together for the good of our State.

And I have no doubt that we will again.

Vote. Be heard.

Thank you. And have a great weekend.

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