In The News
Bangor Daily News Endorses Peter Mills
Bangor Daily News | June 7, 2006
Republicans are fortunate to have three strong candidates for governor, but they also have a tremendous challenge. An incumbent governor has been beaten only twice in Maine's history, when both times a Democrat knocked off a Republican. If the reverse is to happen in 2006 in a field that will include at least seven candidates, the Republican Party must attract not only its own members but independents and Democrats.
The person best able to represent the Republican values of independence, opportunity and fortitude while also bringing new voters to the party is state Sen. Peter Mills.
Sen. Mills, of Cornville, has an excellent record in the Maine Legislature, where he has served for 12 years. His intelligence and drive have produced a breadth of knowledge about Maine government that few can match. But more important than that and more important than the economic agendas and health care reforms all candidates propose for the state, Sen. Mills brings a sense of possibility through looking at problems that have existed for decades and coming up with something besides the same answers that have left Maine a demographically old state that struggles to provide services to its needy.
This has meant that Sen. Mills has crossed the line between traditional Republican and Democratic stereotypes, as when he has supported workers comp reforms that actually help workers and increased funding for schools to provide relief for local government. But he has also drawn the line, as when he led a public revolt that successfully stopped the majority party from leveraging future state lottery revenues to balance the state budget.
This record has left other politicians to conclude Sen. Mills is too moderate to be a Republican candidate. But that doesn't adequately describe his politics or Maine's. To look back over Sen. Mills' work in the Legislature is to see someone deeply involved in numerous issues with a common theme of pragmatic, forward-looking and fair policies whether within the justice system or the tax system. As for the kind of Republican who succeeds in Maine, just how conservative does the party find Olympia Snowe or Susan Collins?
Educated at Harvard and the Uni-versity of Maine School of Law, Sen. Mills served for five years on Navy destroyers during the Vietnam War.
He has owned a legal practice for more than two decades and was a founding member of the Somerset Economic Development Corp. and of FirstPark, which has added hundreds of jobs to central Maine.
This broad range of achievements has given him an impressive foundation from which to run for governor. But perhaps what distinguishes him from most politicians is that politics seems not to be a burden to him but a fully engaging pursuit - no other lawmaker appears to so enjoy the challenge of debate, of testing ideas and demonstrating the strengths of one policy direction over another.
Sen. Mills' opponents include former U.S. Rep. David Emery who, though out of office for many years, has shown that he has not lost touch the issues confronting Maine. He is a thoughtful, capable leader, and his high name recognition gives him an advantage in the primary. State Sen. Chandler Woodcock, who has gained respect in the Legislature, also has run a fine primary race.
But we endorse Peter Mills for the knowledge, energy and creativity he would bring to the job of governor, and believe that voters across the political spectrum would similarly support him in November.