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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

For the past several weeks, members of the Maine Legislature have been meeting in committees to consider nominations to a number of important state boards and commissions.

The men and women of the Senate and the House of Representatives reviewed credentials, asked tough questions and made their recommendations for the Senate, which voted on Wednesday to confirm more than 70 nominees.

I’m always impressed by the willingness of Mainers to serve.

The Legislature is a fine example. These men and women receive very little compensation for what is technically a part-time job.

It’s not.

To serve in the Legislature requires a strong commitment to the State, long hours, time away from family and hard work, all for little pay. It’s a full-time job and then some.

And during this summer session, these men and women came to Augusta to consider the qualifications of a host of citizen volunteers, most willing to serve their communities for little or no compensation.

These folks help small businesses to succeed, protect our environment, lead our universities and community colleges, make sure our elections are fair, mediate disputes and help government to run smoothly and efficiently.

These boards and commissions that do important work for our State.

They draw on the expertise that exists in our communities, and they help to ensure that Maine government never gets too far from the people.

They help to set standards for professional conduct and ensure that Mainers have access to legal services.

They help to manage the Turnpike, to redevelop the former Loring Air Force Base and the Brunswick Naval Air Station.

They help our agricultural community, to protect our quality of place and to improve the rules that govern new development.

Their experiences help policymakers to set the right course for public education and higher education.

And they help to hold down the cost of Workers’ Compensation Insurance while also protecting folks who get hurt on the job.

In many cases, the work is controversial or complex, requiring long hours of study and preparation.

And there are few thank yous when the job is done.

But the Maine ethic of public service starts early, and is one of the cornerstones of our State.

Last week, I helped to recognize nearly 40 students who participated in the Maine State Government Summer Internship Program.

This program is administered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at the University of Maine. The program places students from around the State into government agencies.

While there, these students do important and wide-ranging work that includes research, planning and analysis.

These young men and women have made incredible contributions to their State, while also learning about government and the things that government does.

They helped to protect watersheds and provide education opportunities to students.

They were policy planners and conducted research on business start-ups.

They helped with public information, recycling and keeping our forests healthy.

These interns did good work.

And then I think about the nine-year-old girl I met earlier this month.

Her name is Reilly Gilliland, and she lives in Parsonsfield.

Reilly sold snacks and lemonade from a roadside stand and donated the money to the State to help improve school bus safety.

Her hard work and her efforts to make sure other school children are safe are inspiring.

It’s gratifying to see a new generation of Mainer’s answer the call for public service and doing good work in their communities.

Whether it’s serving in the Legislature, as a member of an important board or commission, working as a summer intern or running a lemonade stand for a good cause, Mainers show everyday that they are committed to their State.

From the college students helping to make our government stronger to the men and women who give their time and energy to serve Maine, our citizens demonstrate over and over again that our government is truly by the people and for the people.

The foundation of a healthy democracy is citizen participation.

And I’m glad to say that in Maine, our democracy is strong because of the men and woman who put themselves forward, take a stand and make a difference for their neighbors, their communities and our State.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

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