Maine State Senator Peter Mills

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The Ellsworth American Endorses Peter Mills
The Ellsworth American | June 8, 2006

As many readers of this newspaper know, The Ellsworth American has had a long-standing policy of declining to endorse candidates for political office. But Maine has arrived at a point in time when new leadership and a change in direction are needed, perhaps as never before.

In primary elections on June 13, voters of both major political parties will choose their candidates for governor. For Republicans, there are three choices on the ballot. After considerable thought, this newspaper is breaking from tradition and declaring our enthusiastic support for State Senator Peter Mills of Cornville as the GOP nominee.

A graduate of Harvard College and the University of Maine School of Law, Mills served for five years as a line officer aboard U.S. Navy destroyers before hanging out his shingle. He has been a practicing attorney since 1973.

While Mills is modest about his abilities, one who spends even a few minutes discussing issues with him will discover a man of keen intellect and informed and well-articulated positions. After 12 years in the Maine Legislature, Mills has few if any equals when it comes to understanding the intricacies of state government and public finances. He offers a 12-step plan to a better Maine that is filled with substance, not platitudes. During his five terms in the Senate and one in the House, he has served as lead Republican on the Tax, Labor, Judiciary and Appropriations committees and has shown an ability to work with both parties and a talent for building coalitions to get things done. Mills is not driven by politically partisan considerations or ideology but rather by what he perceives as being best for his native state.

Visit his Web site (millsforgovernor. com) and you will find biographical information and clear and concise statements of Mills’ views on the major issues confronting the state. Mills has focused his criticism not on fellow Republican candidates but on the policies and performance of Governor John Baldacci and his administration. And he is spot on.

Mills will tell you that his positions don’t lend themselves readily to 10-second sound bites, because they involve complicated issues that require thoughtful solutions. But he sums up his candidacy this way. “I am running for Governor because our people deserve better than they are getting from the State of Maine,” he declares. “They deserve an effective, accountable government that takes care of the needy, honors its promises to civil servants and teachers, and respects the budget limitations of Maine families and businesses that get the tax bills.”

The average Maine taxpayer is being squeezed, both at the state and local levels, to support programs that benefit particular interest groups at the expense of us all. There is a fundamental unfairness in state policy that goes unrecognized by the current administration. That issue needs to be addressed. Peter Mills is the only gubernatorial candidate who has evidenced any substantive understanding of the profound problems facing our beloved state of Maine. Mills offers a welcome opportunity to make a fresh start. All he needs is the opportunity to serve. Republicans can help him take the first step on June 13.