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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

This week, the Legislature finished on a high note.

After a weekend of hard work, Democrats and Republicans came together to pass an investment plan that will start to create jobs this summer.

At times, it seemed like the prospects for consensus were slim. The two parties were divided, and talks had stalled.

The outlook was uncertain.

But we all kept at it.

The good relationships that had developed during a difficult year when Maine had been buffeted by the worst recession since the Great Depression carried the day.

Senator President Libby Mitchell, House Speaker Hannah Pingree, and Minority Leaders Kevin Raye and Josh Tardy kept working.

For hours on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, we sat in my office talking about our priorities and how we could find common ground.

At the end of the day, both sides compromised.

And the real winners are the Maine people.

On Monday, the Legislative session ended with a bipartisan agreement on bonds that will create or protect thousands of Maine jobs.

We overcame partisan differences and did what was right for our State and our people.

Democratic and Republican Leaders, including members of the Appropriations Committee, worked together in good faith on a plan that will put people to work this year, make critical investments in highways, rails and ports, and strengthen Maine’s economy.

The bond package includes about $25 million dollars for highway construction and repair.

$16 million dollars for rail, including a critical investment that will help to save rail service in Aroostook County, which is important to the entire State;

$7 million dollars for ports, including a new deep-water pier in Portland;

$5 million dollars to advance the development of wind energy technology at the University of Maine;

And $5 million dollars to expand access to dental care in the State and for a community-based teaching clinic.

While the negotiations on the bonds were difficult, I knew that if we kept talking we could find a solution.

We’ve demonstrated that all year long.

When the Legislature began its work in January, it faced incredible challenges.

State revenues were declining while the needs of our people were increasing.

With an election pending and the political rhetoric on the national level running hot, there was danger for a stalemate.

We see it around the country. Political differences rule the day.

Maine is different.

The two political parties came together to balance the State budget.

Protected the most vulnerable.

Made important investments in education and improved our schools so our kids have the best opportunity for success.

We reduced State spending and made changes that will reduce costs going forward.

We began to rebuild our reserves. And we did it without raising taxes.

We have moved Maine farther down the road to energy independence and security.

And protected Maine’s air and water.

Helped Maine businesses.

And improved health care for our people.

Now, as the Legislative session has drawn to a close, we can begin to see the results of a job well done.

State revenues are beginning to slowly recover. Maine finished March with revenues above projections.

And while the economy is still fragile and it’s critical that we make important investments to prevent further decline, things are improving.

In Prospect Harbor, a deal is close at hand to reopen the Stinson cannery to process seafood, including lobster.

In Portland, Idexx announced its intention to expand, creating 500 good-paying jobs with benefits.

And at the Italian Heritage Center, more than 800 people turned out in one night to support the Preble Street Homeless Shelter and enjoy a plate of homemade spaghetti.

All in all, that makes for a pretty good couple of weeks.

This spring and fall, as campaigns heat up and people running for office try to stand out from the crowd, you’ll hear a lot of things about the folks who have been working for you in Augusta.

The fashion of the day is to throw stones at the men and women who serve and to second guess their decisions and their actions.

That’s politics.

But I remain deeply impressed with the work accomplished this year, when partisanship gave way to cooperation.

From energy to bonds to the budget, Democrats and Republicans found a way to get the job done and put the people of Maine first.

For that, I’m thankful.

Have a good weekend and a great Patriots’ Day.

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