Wednesday, January 24th, 2018

Eliot Cutler for governor

Posted on October 25, 2010 in Our Opinion, Perspectives
By USM Free Press

In this hotly-contested race for governor, Eliot Cutler stands out from the bitter partisan politics as the best overall candidate.

The Republican candidate, Paul LePage, was effective at tapping into the rage of an electorate struggling with near 10 percent unemployment. It made for exciting television. But it also made him incoherent, and ultimately, an embarrassment to Maine on the national stage.

The Democratic candidate, Libby Mitchell, ran a strong campaign and we applaud many of her ideas. If we were choosing a candidate based solely on their education plan, Mitchell would likely be our choice. But ultimately, her other ideas failed to measure up to the magnitude of reform Maine needs to spur job growth, and her insistence on touting her years of experience in the state house failed to inspire faith in her ability to change state government.

(We would like to acknowledge that Mitchell was the only candidate to reply to a questionnaire we distributed to all five candidates, proving that she respects college students enough to reply to their e-mails.)

We commend Cutler for recognizing the fact that governors cannot directly create jobs. At a time of high unemployment, other candidates have based large parts of their campaigns on pushing forth the notion that they will somehow create jobs. This is somewhat dishonest, and we feel that Cutler has taken a more realistic approach. What a governor can do is help to create the conditions necessary to stimulate economic growth in our state. Cutler recognizes that the high costs of doing business in Maine discourage new industries from locating here. He proposes reducing these costs, including healthcare and electricity costs, to entice businesses to invest in Maine. In addition, he proposes cutting government expenditures, which will help to reduce the tax burden on Maine businesses. We feel that this is a common sense approach to economic stimulus in our state.

In addition, Cutler recognizes that cutting taxes across the board is not the route to fixing our state’s budget deficit. It’s easy, and politically attractive, to make this campaign promise, but it is an irresponsible policy. Cutler has promised to make our state government more efficient and more cost-effective. We feel that this is a much more desirable approach to correcting our state’s budget. We commend Cutler not making (empty) promises of wide-ranging tax cuts.

Cutler has also stressed the importance of improving our state’s education system, and we agree that there is a need for reform. He recognizes that our teachers are underpaid, and realizes there is not enough incentive to bring and keep quality educators in our schools. One particularly creative idea is Cutler’s education plan to change the lock-step salary schedule in favor of a system that rewards educators who provide the state’s children with superior service.

We believe that although giving teachers an incentive to improve the quality of education sounds good on paper, it could be very difficult to implement a merit-based pay system for teachers and caution Cutler that the gauge of a good teacher isn’t always reflected in test scores.

Cutler acknowledges the key role played by public schools in our states many small communities by not supporting mass consolidation. Cutler also believes that our state’s community colleges and public universities need to work more closely together to deliver the secondary education necessary for the success of our generation and future generations. Greater coordination among these institutions is a key part of his education plan. However we encourage Cutler to recognize the very different roles university and community colleges play in this state; one is not interchangeable with the other.

Cutler has devoted nearly his entire career to public service. He helped former Maine Senator Ed Muskie craft both the Clean Air (1963) and Clean Water (1972) Acts. These two hugely important pieces of national policy have been instrumental in cleaning up Maine’s environment. The Androscoggin River, for example, was once so polluted by the paper mills along its waters that it was, at times, impossible to even see the water under the layer of pollutants. Today, thanks largely to the Clean Water Act, the Androscoggin is better known for its recreational opportunities than for its pollution levels.

Following his time with Senator Muskie, Cutler went on to become the Associate Director for Natural Resources, Energy and Science in the White House Office of Management and Budget. This experience overseeing national budgets will be helpful in trying to fix Maine’s own budgetary shortcomings.


  • Thomas L Richard

    I’m with the rest of the staff. Endorsing a candidate is in line with what nearly every other newspaper out there does. We were just offering our opinion. We weren’t telling you that you had to vote that way.

  • Anonymous

    The article was written by the Perspectives editor and an op-ed writer, edited by the executive editor, and represents the opinion of a majority of the editors of the Free Press. The five editors met twice to discuss our endorsements. We voted to back Cutler. Endorsing a candidate is something most papers do. In hindsight, I can see how some people may have been confused as to whether it was an editorial. We assumed readers would understand the difference by publishing it in the Perspectives section. I will re-categorize the article “our opinion.”Thanks,Dan MacLeodExecutive Editor

  • Lydia Brown

    There should be a link directly from this article to the article titled “the free press is despicable.” this is an almost perfect example of that. but hey, if you’re going to be incredibly left-winged biased i suppose it is better to be obvious about it.

  • How dare the Free Press endorse a candidate for governor — so out of line with every other print publication in the state.

  • Emahoney

    Amazing. Libby Mitchell is the ONLY Candidate to answer your questioneer and you endorse Cutler? At Maine’s Univerisites what we need is a leader with the vision to fund education at all levels, preschool through post graduate education. We need to continue expand research and development to further ecomomic developemnt. Eliot has am amazing record of outsourcing jobs to China and in so doing vastly imporving his own personal balance sheets. Libby has a proven record of working on behalf of Maine families. As a USM alum I am extremely surprised and dissapointed by this endorsment.

  • Anonymous

    i agree that eliot is smooth and polished i also think he has deep leftest roots and that would just mean more of the same ol same ol….i do respect your opinion

  • glenn tripp

    lepage is certainly a very decent man but i feel he lacks judgement in the way he reacts to
    attacks on him.i feel we need govener with a cooler head. cutler seems to be more balanced
    and better able to handle a crisis

  • FreeDem

    I’d like to know who wrote this, and why the Free Press picked a candidate. It doesn’t seem right to me that the schools newspaper had an article telling us the right candidate for US. It’s our decision on who we vote for and who we think is the right pick. This campus is very diverse with differing opinions. This article should have been written as an editorial, or “Our View”, something that didn’t assume that the right choice for USM students was Cutler.

  • Anonymous

    I respect your opinion….

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  • As my fellow clansman suggests, Cutler is the best choice – by far!

  • Brandon14

    The only thing Paul LePage is a “maverick” on is intelligence. He certainly bucks the idea that leaders should be articulate, even-keeled, and constructive. However, none of these “maverick” qualities are anything that will push Maine forward, let alone do it any good on a national stage. Americans (and most Mainers) pushed back on the whole “maverick” facade two years ago when McCain was pitched as some sort of centrist who had been known to cross the isle and get things done. McCain should serve as a very strong comparison of LePage, in that neither of them have the mental capacity to cross party lines and move things forward.

    Maine doesn’t need a disgruntled extremist. It doesn’t need someone who has zero respect for the President, regardless of political stripe. It doesn’t need someone who’s experience has been running a surplus store, and being mayor of a city that still has a serious poverty issue. It doesn’t need someone who shows utter contempt at the very sign of being challenged by an opponent or a member of the media.

    What Maine does need is someone with experience both locally, nationally, and internationally. It needs someone with the mental stamina to think every issue through thoroughly and to work with the rest of the Maine government with respect. That person is Eliot Cutler.

  • Anonymous

    We believe that Cutler is part of the same old group, the same old politics, the same old excuses, and will not bring any new thinking to the governors office.We believe that what Maine needs is a business person, with good sound business sense to plan and execute for Maine like former independent governors Jim Longley and Angus King. We beleive that Paul LePage is this type of person and that he has a workable plan for Maine. The fact that he is an independent thinker, a maverick of sorts that he happens to be a Republican shouldn’t matter he is a strong plus for Maine. We believe that Paul LePage is the right choice for Governor of Maine.

  • Nathan Grant

    The Free Press made a wise choice. Eliot Cutler for Governor!