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This is Governor John Baldacci.

We don't have to look very hard to find evidence that the country is going through a challenging time.

Hours are getting cut back, people are getting laid off, plants are closing.

And our first priority must be to revive our economy and create jobs and get people back to work so they can support themselves and their families.

We have got to make our decisions with an eye toward the future and use this opportunity to better position Maine for that economic recovery.

I know that we can make the tough decisions today that will lay that groundwork for prosperity to come.

I am confident about the future of our State.

I am confident because we have the best abundant natural resources. We don’t have to import them. We have them right here in front of us.

I see it every day that I travel around the State doing the people's business.

From wood and water and wind, to our incredible outdoor recreation, Maine has what it needs to be successful.

But our strength goes beyond the thick forests, the clean water and strong winds. We also have the best people.

Mainers have the reputation around the world for being resourceful, hard-working and showing every single day the work they do in their communities and their involvement that their reputation is very well deserved.

But our assets – and the potential they hold for the future – don't relieve our obligation to change with the demands of a new age.

We cannot be afraid to change; we cannot be afraid to improve.

For government, that means we cannot keep obsolete, inefficient administrative structures in place that were designed decades ago.

I see firsthand the talent and drive of our people.

I understand how hard it is for them to make ends meet during this economic crisis.

And I know it is difficult to start and grow a business, especially now.

That's why I am so committed to reforming government.

Outdated, outmoded, redundant bureaucracies, draining resources from where we need them the most – with our teachers in the classrooms, with our students, in our laboratories and on the frontlines where government and people meet.

I met earlier this week with the Southern Maine Regional Water Council – and my hat is off to them.

Seven water districts in Southern Maine have come together and worked together in an effort to save money and better manage the natural resource.

That natural resource is the Sebago Lake and the Saco River – the drinking water sources for 250,000 people in Southern Maine.

Through their collaboration, they are saving money and they’re doing a better job of protecting an important natural resource.

And when it comes to those natural resources here in Maine, we are the envy of New England.

We need to put the strength of those natural resources to work and lay claim to a new era of energy independence and economic strength.

Right now in our State, there are billions of dollars worth of energy projects being proposed.

The offer before us is a tremendous opportunity.

I went to the opening of the largest wind in New England in Danforth, Maine a couple of weeks ago.

First Wind invested $50 million dollars with Maine businesses, created 350 jobs in just the development and construction of the project.

During good times, Maine has relied upon its manufacturing and production sectors. Our economy is changing and becoming more diverse, but our economic future and our energy future are still tied closely together.

Talk to Maine's largest industries and they'll tell you the biggest challenges in doing business here are the high energy costs and transportations costs.

And right now we have an opportunity to take and develop less expensive, renewable energy domestic to Maine, not having to be imported; invest in a transportation network that does more with rails – passenger and freight – becomes more efficient in moving people and goods.

We need to embrace the opportunities that we have in front of us and we need to invest in tomorrow.

But Maine can't do it alone. We need an active and supportive federal partner too.

The federal Stimulus package that has everyone's attention right now will help us continue those investments where they are needed the most, and will do the most to strengthen Maine's foundation for growth.

If Washington will act and give Maine – and other states – the support we need during this national recession, our economy will recover.

People will be able to get back to work, and they will do it in a way that supports themselves and their family not just for today, but for tomorrow.

It is important to me that you are aware of what is going on with the federal economic stimulus package, and it is going to be completely transparent and readily available to the people of Maine.

I have created a link on the State Web site for Mainers to keep up to date with the stimulus package – just visit maine-dot-gov and click on the link for The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Make no mistake, the short term will be difficult and it will be hard work.

And if we concentrate and focus on our natural strengths and ability, our resources and our people, we will move forward and we will do it together.

Thank you for listening, and have a great weekend.

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