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Good morning. This is Governor John Baldacci.

This week, I delivered the State of the State Address to a Joint Session of the Maine Legislature.

It’s an opportunity for our State to make a frank assessment of where we are and where we want to be.

I can not remember a time that has presented Maine with such hard choices and such great opportunities.

It’s a bit of a contradiction – to talk about economic hardship and opportunity in the same breath.

But that’s the situation we face today.

In the last 12 months, State revenues have fallen by $1.1 billion dollars. Unemployment has topped 8 percent; housing and businesses are struggling; and people are uncertain and anxious.

It’s a time of great turmoil.

But it’s also a time of incredible opportunity and revolutionary change.

A time when our State is breaking with the comfortable patterns of the past to blaze a brave new trail.

We have come together to say enough, to put our foot down and to put an end to the circumstances that have held our people and our economy hostage.

Today, we are laying the groundwork for economic revitalization and freedom from the tyranny of foreign oil.

Are we there yet? No.

But we are on the way.

Despite the difficulties we face, the hard choices and hard work ahead, the next chapter in Maine’s history will be one of resurgence, growth and opportunity.

Because I know beyond question or doubt that the people of this State – our greatest resource – can persevere and overcome any challenge.

I see a Maine that is energy secure, with highly educated and successful people.

Natural resources that are protected, accessible and put to work.

A place where innovation and creativity prevail.

And cities, towns and villages draw people from around the world to a quality of life unmatched.

We are in the midst of unprecedented times.

The choices we make will help to determine which way Maine goes.

On Thursday, I laid out an aggressive agenda that will help move Maine toward sustained prosperity.

It starts with a plan to balance the State budget without raising taxes.

There should be no illusions.

There are no easy answers.

We must balance core government functions while protecting the vulnerable and safeguarding our economy.

But we shouldn’t take any action that will jeopardize recovery.

The best way to help all Maine people is to promote job growth and economic recovery.

We can’t tax our way out of our problems, but we can grow our way out.

As former President Kennedy had said: “A rising tide lifts all ships.”

While we still have a long way to go, there are signs that things are beginning to turn around.

Last year on the day before the State of the State, I visited to Domtar in Washington County. The plant had just announced that it was indefinitely closing.

I’m happy to say that today, 300 workers are back on the job and the owners of the company are committed to finding a business model that will work.

Maine is ready to help. We want to keep those men and women working.

My agenda is built around job creation and job protection, and it begins with our people and our natural resources.

Right now, Maine is leading New England in onshore wind power generation.

And every day this important sector is growing.

Producing renewable and safe electricity.

But we have only begun to tap the potential for wind.

Work going on today by Habib Dagher at the University of Maine, with private-sector partners and critical support from the federal government, is positioning our State at the forefront of a new energy revolution.

We have it within our power to develop new, cutting edge sources of energy that can help to forever reshape the world.

In the coming weeks, I will submit legislation to continue our aggressive pursuit of offshore wind energy.

The plan, which is the result of my Ocean Energy Task Force, will help to spark this new industry and confirm Maine’s leadership role.

The project has earned nearly $25 million dollars in competitive grants and is in line for additional federal support.

Maine competed nationally and was one of just 12 sites in the entire country that has received this support to construct an offshore wind laboratory.

The plan has tremendous potential to create thousands of jobs in Maine and attract billions of dollars worth of investment.

Permitted and approved wind power development in Maine already represents more than $1 billion dollars of capital investment in our economy.

We face hurdles and hardships, but we are not afraid to make decisions, to break new ground and to build. To set the bar high.

Thank you and have a great weekend.

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