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This is Governor John Baldacci.

On Tuesday night, as America witnessed an historic election, it felt to me like the walls that have separated us as a country began to fall down.

Still in the glow of a strong victory, President-elect Barack Obama pushed aside the temptation of self-congratulations.

Instead, he offered a hand of friendship across the aisle. He set the tone for a new political compact in the United States.

Speaking to more than a hundred thousand folks in Chicago and millions more around the world, he said: “Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long.”

He said: “Let us remember that it was a man from this state (of Illinois) who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.”

He continued: “Those values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress.”

It’s a strong message, and that’s one that we all should take to heart.

The United States – and Maine – face incredible challenges, and we cannot overcome them by clinging to the divisions of the past.

Together we can overcome the problems before us.

In Maine, we learned Monday that our State’s economic picture is the same as the nation – marred in a recession.

Our leading economists have met to discuss the impact of this national recession and the impact it is having on the State of Maine.

The news was not good.

For our current fiscal year which ends this June 30th, revenues could fall short of projections by $150 million dollars.

While the number is daunting, my Administration has been laying the ground work for several months already to make sure our State can react.

Every State agency and Department has developed plans to reduce spending by 10 percent. In my office, we’ve already put those plans in place, taking advantage of those savings right now.

And we are also finalizing sharp reductions in spending that could be implemented immediately.

I have a Constitutional obligation to ensure that this State maintains a balanced budget. It is a serious responsibility that requires serious action.

I also have an obligation to make sure that we also have a safety net for the most vulnerable in our society. By combining those efforts and the steps that we are preparing to take, there will be sacrifices and cuts that will be put forward, and those decisions will be difficult.

But I am more certain today than ever, that if we can work together - across the aisles, republican and democrat, green and independent – if we can put the interest of the State of Maine first instead of the partisan political interest, we will be able to create a healthier, more stable and more robust economy.

You know, we have already begun the hard work on school administrative reduction and what we spend on unnecessary administration.

We must continue our efforts to streamline State government, county government, local government, school administrative government, government at all levels - to increase the efficiencies and replace outdated ideas with new ones that work better. And be able to make sure that we are still providing the important health and educational opportunities so that our citizens, our youth, our future have better opportunities and a firmer foundation in which to do business here and do business around the world.

These times demand action.

We cannot be afraid to change. We need to in order to have a brighter future.

We will have a new partner in the White House who understands the pressures placed upon states, and the need to work in a partnership to turn our economy and our country around.

This week, I spoke with Democratic and Republican leaders in the Maine House and Senate.

I told them – and they agreed – that it is time to replace the bitterness of the election campaign with a new commitment to work together - to put the best interest of the State first.

I know that we will not always be able to agree, and that there are real differences of opinion about how best to move forward.

But these are times that do demand bipartisanship and leadership.

And we have got to be ready to embrace the best ideas, no matter who they belong to.

As President-elect Obama said so eloquently Tuesday night, “The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. … [but] we as a people will get there…I promise you.”

Inspiring words.

Thank you for listening and have a nice weekend.

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