Moody’s Focus: Best Man for Job
Moody’s Focus: Best Man for Job
With polls giving unenrolled gubernatorial candidate Shawn Moody about 5 percent of voter support, it is easy to question why the self-made businessman from Gorham is investing time and money in the race.Moody’s answer to the implied question has remained steadfast since he entered the race: “The reason I’m running for governor of the great state of Maine is I truly believe that with my life experience and track record of success, I am the best man for the job,” he said.
The youngest of three children, Moody began working on cars in his mother’s garage when he was 13. At 15, he rebuilt his first high-performance engine. A year later, he did his first “all-over” car paint job.
When he turned 17, he bought a quarter-acre lot for $1,000, borrowed $6,000 from a local savings and loan and helped construct a three-bay garage on the lot.
Entering his senior year at Gorham High School, Moody was a local property taxpayer and a small business owner.
Today, that business, Moody’s Collision Center, is the largest auto collision repair business in New England, with five locations serving more than 7,000 customers a year.
Applying his business acumen to running the state first occurred to Moody in 2008 when his frustration with the status quo became unbearable.
“I saw the direction our country was headed, the big banking crisis, and I was motivated to get involved,” he said. “I saw small businesses and working people paying for big corporate failure.”
Moody’s involvement took the form of his candidacy and his desire to apply his skills and experience to state government and “pulling people to the middle of the aisle.”
“It’s time for a small-business person to be in the Blaine House,” he said.
Moody believes the experience of a small business owner would be well suited to tackle one of the bigger challenges facing Maine’s next governor: “re-inspiring the small-business economy.”
He said there are 30,000 small businesses in the state and if each one was able to hire one additional employee, 30,000 new jobs would be created.
“I want to implement private business practices into state government,” he said. “We need to run the government mean and lean — reduce the size and scope of state government.”
He cited the health-care system in New Hampshire, which has 14 insurance companies writing policies at premiums that are 30 to 40 percent lower than similar policies in Maine.
“We need to increase competition and increase choice for the consumers in Maine,” he said. “Why reinvent the wheel? They’ve got a system that works. We could implement their legislative mandates and requirements.”
Moody said having a business person in the Blaine House would inspire business confidence, as changes are made to make the state’s tax and regulatory environment fairer and remove barriers to growth.
He said he would implement “surplus sharing,” a version of profit sharing that exists in the private sector. Applying the concept, he said, would give departments incentive to save.
“Now, if they don’t spend the entire budget, they don’t get it the next year,” he said.
Like profit sharing, surplus sharing would reward government workers with bonuses for saving money.
“We need to get workers more engaged in being part of the solution,” he said. “You’ve got to make it cool to save again.”
Moody believes Maine’s high school dropout rate is another issue that should be addressed by the next governor.
He said he would advocate cooperative programs between schools and businesses, in which high school students would earn academic credit for on-the-job training.
“I want to offer the most comprehensive vocational programs available and focus on private-public partnerships,” he said. “We need to make sure the skills we’re teaching are parallel to what the workplace needs.”
As governor, Moody also would address welfare in Maine.
He said he favors “converting welfare to workfare,” as a way to preserve individual dignity and sense of purpose, while easing the economic burden at the local, county and state levels.