By Dr. Demi Kouzounas
Congratulations are in order. We wish Janet Mills well as she begins what will be the toughest job in the state of Maine.
Janet Mills takes office after Governor Paul LePage did the tough work of turning Maine around. Maine’s economy is strong, growing and breaking records. Maine’s budget is balanced without gimmicks or one-time accounting tricks. Our hospital debts are paid off and the state pension crisis has been averted.
Maine’s most recent budget surplus is large enough to give every middle-class Maine family a healthy tax cut, and it has been accomplished without punishing the success of Maine’s business community.
Our unemployment systems, welfare programs, workers compensation and regulatory structures have been repaired and reformed more to what they were originally intended to be. Our students and parents have choices in their education instead of being trapped by their ZIP codes. Our infrastructure has been improved without taking on massive new debt. The Maine people are earning more money than ever in Maine’s history.
In summary, Maine is in a much better place now than it was eight years ago when Paul LePage took office and began this epic American turnaround.
It is now on Janet Mills to navigate a path forward that will maintain Maine’s record economic strength. This path will be difficult with the dozens of special interest groups that helped elect Janet Mills who will soon be demanding destructive economic policy and government handouts and favors.
The so-called “new direction” Janet Mills has promised will be a return to the Baldacci era, with budget and pension shortfalls, economic failures and piles of new debt if Janet Mills cannot resist the worst impulses of the special interest coalition that has fought for eight years to regain power. This could be incredibly painful for the people of Maine.
We hope Governor Mills will learn quickly that the best interests of the Maine people and the desires of her political base are not one and the same thing.
Dr. Demi Kouzounas is chairwoman of the Maine Republican Party.