How we do things matters. I learned this as a kid growing up in Maine. My mother was diagnosed and committed to the Augusta Mental Health Institute when I was 8. My father died in an accident when I was 11. My childhood wasn’t easy, and I had choices to make. I could be bitter and resentful, or I could be thankful for my extended family who helped to raise me, and I could look for ways to make things better for myself and others. The choices I made back then mattered, and they continue to matter.
Spirited campaigning is a hallmark of American politics. After all, elections are meant to be competitive. But it used to be that on election night, campaigning stopped and “winners” began the transition to governing as “leaders.”
Too many of our elected leaders in Augusta don’t make that transition these days. They don’t understand that governing, when done well, is a collaborative process. They fail to see how a deteriorating process has resulted in poor and false choices that have harmed our state. We can’t afford four or eight more years of divisive partisanship in Augusta.
CALLING FOR COLLABORATION
I’m running as an independent, Clean Election candidate for governor to offer Maine people a different path – the opportunity to unite Maine, fix the broken parts of our system and lead our state in a bold new direction.
The parties aren’t the problem. The partisanship is the problem.
Governing by news release isn’t governing. Going tit-for-tat on the front page of the newspaper doesn’t solve problems. Never-ending, negative campaigning and the lack of civility toward one another have created barriers to success in Augusta.
Republicans and Democrats have twice elected me to serve as Maine’s first independent state treasurer because they trust me to work with both sides to get the job done. They know I’m not sitting on either side of the aisle; I’m standing in the aisle, bridging divides and solving problems.
As governor, I will work with all parties to implement voter-approved ranked-choice voting, open Maine’s primaries to all voters, end partisan redistricting and gerrymandering and embrace ethics reforms that make government more transparent and accountable to the people.
Most people don’t run for office because they want to bang their heads against the wall and get nothing done – they actually want to solve problems. But they need a partner in the Blaine House who feels the same way, and who has the experience, independence and courage to change the rules and level the playing field, so we can get better outcomes. That’s why I’m running.
Getting big money out of politics is critical to fixing a broken system. Nothing has done more to undermine our political process than the obscene and ever-increasing amount of big money that floods our electoral process. Maine’s leaders must respect the will of voters who have twice voted at the ballot box in favor of the Clean Election program.
BIG MONEY ERODES CIVIC INSTITUTIONS
While most candidates who are running for governor this year will talk about curbing the influence of big money in politics, only several of us are committed to doing it by using Clean Elections to fund our campaigns. Each of us who is committed to getting big money out of politics needs 3,200 Maine voters to make $5 qualifying contributions to the Maine Clean Election fund by the April 2 deadline.
If you agree that big money is eroding our civic institutions, support those of us who have the courage and conviction to use it. Demonstrate your support for the Clean Election law.
When we show that a gubernatorial candidate can win using Clean Elections, others will follow. Modeling the way is critically important to changing the culture of campaigning in Maine and loosening the grip of big money in politics. As Maine’s third independent and first Clean Election governor, I won’t owe anything to anybody, except the people of Maine. My administration will hire the best and brightest talent regardless of party. I will invite everyone to the table and begin each day with a commitment to leading with integrity and modeling civility.
Together, we will set our sights on a higher purpose to make Maine an even better place for our children and grandchildren to raise their families, earn a good living and enjoy an unmatched quality of life.
Terry Hayes of Buckfield is Maine state treasurer and an independent Clean Election candidate for governor.