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As I grow older and watch my son mature into a fine young man, I often think of my father and mother and the lessons they taught me.

One in particular guides me today.

When I was a state Senator, representing my hometown of Bangor, I was running the family business and my wife had a good job as a registered dietician.

To put it simply: I was comfortable and we were comfortable.

My father told me that my responsibility was NOT to be comfortable or satisfied. He told me that it was time after six terms to either move up or move out. He told me that I owed it to the people who had elected me and who trusted me with their votes to keep moving, to keep up the fight for their interests, and to challenge myself to do more.

It was his urging that prompted my first run for Congress, and ultimately my campaign for governor.

I have been blessed by the people of this state, who have given me their trust and support.

And I continue to hear that challenge from my father to cast off the comfortable and to be challenged by “What did I do for the people today?”

Maine has tremendous natural resources, an innovative and determined workforce, and a quality of life that attracts people from around the world.

But our assets cannot protect us against the changes of a new century.

We must change just as the world is changing around us.

The government structures that have worked so well for so long - they’re no longer sufficient. We spend too much on administration, too many levels of government, too much overhead and more and more of our resources are drained away from where they need to do the most good. In higher education, scholarships, and research and development. Providing platforms for opportunities and prosperities to do business here and around the world.

We are facing a future with a government from the past.

The United States is facing uncertain economic times. Revenues are mirroring the national trend, and we have to be prepared.

I am committed to make the changes necessary to ensure Maine’s financial health and the prosperity of all our people.

It’s time for us to rattle the shelves, and probably break a few dishes, but to recognize in doing so that we are going to have better opportunities for all Maine citizens so our young people, when they graduate from school, they will find their opportunities here and not have to go elsewhere.

We owe it to them. We owe it to their future. And it’s our responsibility in this generation to do the work that is necessary.

We started earlier this year. We’ve already tackled reforming K-12 education administration. The debate was spirited and it continues in some quarters, but the truth is we are well on our way to a successful reform.

We have gone from from 290 administrative units to less than 80.

We’ve added more transparency to the school budget process, and put more resources into the classroom, where they can do the most good.

But we have to continue to attack inefficiencies by looking at government at all levels, administrations in all areas, and move Maine ahead.

In August, I began a conversation over the future of the state’s prisons and jails.

The way we house prisoners is dysfunctional and places unnecessary pressures on prison personnel, taxpayers and inmates.

A unified corrections administration system will save taxpayers money, and deliver better outcomes for the inmates - the mentally ill, women with substance abuse.

Entrenched interests oppose the plan, fearful that they’ll loose some of their authority. But the change must come.

While there are some questions about existing county debt that need to be resolved, I am confident we can find a solution that works for every taxpayer in the state.

And I’m not going to just stop there.

As I’ve indicated before, every area needs to be reviewed.

My administration right now is reviewing a possible merger between the Maine Turnpike Authority and the Department of Transportation. Here are two organizations that basically perform the same functions.

They both maintain roads.

And we have to be able to work together to wring out the efficiencies, the duplications and the overlaps out of those two systems.

We’re also looking at our natural resource agencies in state government. These departments are populated by dedicated and skilled public servants, but we have a lot of administration, and we need to be able to break down the walls that separate our experts into these little silos.

The issues that face Maine in the future require coordinated responses and new approaches. We just can’t do things the way we’ve been doing them or we’re not going to change the results. And the results we need are not the ones we have been getting.

In order for better opportunities, better results, and a future where prosperity will be for every single Maine citizen, we need to change.

With your help, I know that we’re going to be successful.

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