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This is Governor John Baldacci.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated the unofficial start of the holiday season, Thanksgiving.

This holiday has traditionally been a day for families and friends to get together, have dinner, and offer thanks.

While Thanksgiving dinner may be gone – even if the leftovers aren't – we still have the opportunity to take stock of the blessings in our lives.

For me, the holidays are all about family and friends and the special people in my life.

One of the great privileges of being Governor is that I have met a lot of wonderful people in many different walks of life – small business owners, parents, teachers, doctors, firefighters, farmers and hundreds of others.

Most of them share in my belief that we live in a very special place.

Even during those dark financial times, when a national recession and global economic crisis are dragging down our economy, they remind me that we have weathered storms in the past, that we will weather this storm now.

And I know that people are struggling and I know that times are tough.

But we are Mainers. We have something that people from around the country and around the world want. Maine has limitless beauty and natural resources, but most importantly it has great people and a reputation for quality.

Even though the economy is bad, people are still choosing to invest in Maine and Maine people.

Last month, we made an announcement that Boston Financial had expanded into Maine. The company located in the former MBNA facility in Rockland. They project creating 200 jobs at that location before October of 2009.

When times are tough, financial companies specifically are not expanding or opening new facilities – but Boston Financial is a great company, with good paying jobs and benefits, and the company believed in Maine, believed in the people of Maine and they have made the investment in Maine.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I joined Gary Ferguson who is the CEO of NotifyMD for more good news. He announced that NotifyMD would be expanding into Winthrop.

Now, NotifyMD is a company that does all of the back office work for doctors so that they can spend more time giving quality care to their patients.

The company opened a call center in Farmington in 2007 and they have already earned a first class reputation with its employees and the community. They know the value of Maine workers – their facility in Farmington is the company's highest performing call center in the country.

So once Notify M-D saw that performance, the choice was easy for them to expand in Maine again. They expect to add new jobs over the next 12 months, and they are awarding all of those jobs to Maine residents…just as they did in Farmington.

And on the same day that Notify M-D announced its expansion, Barclays announced an expansion of its call center in Wilton. The company will be adding 25 more jobs to its existing work force of 70 people in Franklin County.

And I got a report that came out this week - it was the State New Economy Index. It measures the economic structures of States, and are they better prepared to deal with the new economy?

For example, in the new economy being global, it measures knowledge jobs, globalization, transformation to a digital economy, and technology innovation capacity.

Overall, Maine’s rank went up to 28th in the country from 32nd.

Maine ranked 15th overall in the transformation to a digital economy including the percentage of people in the State who are using online or IT services to deliver those services more efficiently.

Maine ranked 2nd in the country in terms of technology in the schools, meaning that our future workforce is going to be more universally trained to be able to attract good paying jobs and benefits.

Maine ranks 5th in the country in terms of online agriculture. Farmers with internet access are using computers for business.

Maine has moved from 42nd to 32nd in terms of the number of patents issued to individuals or companies per one thousand workers. Those patents mean start-up businesses are going to be occurring. It is the largest growth in the country.

Maine ranks 5th in the country moving toward a green economy, and 5th in the country in terms of alternative energy use.

So, as the weather turns cold and the global economy continues to struggle, remember all that Maine has to be thankful for.

We have great people; we have great Yankee ingenuity and a worldwide reputation as a State with people who work hard and produce results. So when given a level playing field and an equal chance, Maine people can – and will – succeed.

Thank you for listening and have a great weekend.

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