I have many friends on both sides of the political aisle, and they undoubtedly will chastise me for supporting a gubernatorial candidate that is trailing in the polls.
But polls are just polls, and a growing number of my friends are growing disillusioned by the two political parties and their candidates.
It’s time for a change.
For more than 30 years, I have been an active voter. In 1982, I supported Republican Sherry Huber. Four years later, I did a bit of volunteer work for Bill Diamond’s campaign to capture the Democratic nomination.
In the years that followed, I never missed an election. But I did miss feeling the passion of voting for a candidate, not against a another candidate. I spent those roughly 30 years feeling rather uninspired, somewhat hollow.
True, I did not vote for Eliot Cutler in 2010. But I cannot, in good conscience, make that mistake again.
I have been on the fence for several weeks. I have met and spoken with all three candidates. They all have strengths and weaknesses, but only Eliot rises above the fray.
While Governor Paul Lepage and Congressman Mike Michaud continue sniping at each other, Cutler has focused on his vision for Maine: a vision that runs right down the middle, on a parallel course with common sense.
But what really sealed the deal for me was something that happened a couple of weeks ago at an energy forum in Portland.
You’ve probably read about what happened at the E2Tech forum in the newspaper, but as one of roughly 300 paying audience members it was one of the most awkward experiences I can recall.
LePage refused to sit at the same table with the other candidates. LePage, in fact, left the event and sulked in the parking lot.
Grown men acting like children and refusing to sit at a table together. That’s not leadership.
Michaud ran through a set of talking points; answered a few questions and then was off to do important things (the event was not designed nor intended to be a debate). Michaud supporters say he arrived at 8:30 because that’s when he was scheduled to speak. So the audience waited 30 minutes in silence, staring at an empty stage because LePage forfeited his 8 a.m. speaking time.
With somber dignity and clarity, Cutler began his remarks by apologizing to the audience. He later drew a round of laughter from the crowd when he said it’s simply not good enough to say that you are better than the other guy.
When asked a question about natural gas expansion by an environmental advocate, Eliot gave an answer that she did not like. In essence, he said that there are no perfect solutions; that Maine cannot afford simplistic thinking on energy issues or any other issue; that reality must drive how we lead.
I was impressed by his honesty, integrity and wisdom. He wasn’t willing to tell her what she wanted to hear (which would have been the popular path). Instead, he laid out a vision and a plan that acknowledges the very real challenges that so many Maine families are facing when it comes to heating their homes.
Eliot Cutler is a different kind of candidate. He has unmatched and proven experience in job creation, and he is the only candidate who continues to put forth detailed policies and plans to invest in infrastructure and education and to use tax dollars more efficiently.
He is the only candidate not beholden to political parties or special interests. He has not and will not accept money from PACs or special interests. Translation: you won’t see as many television commercials.
I believe Eliot is the right candidate to bring people together in search of common solutions.
For too long, political divisiveness in Augusta has overshadowed the real needs of real Maine families.
It’s time to end the boogeyman scare tactics of voting for so and so means so and so will win.
It’s time for vision. It’s time for integrity. It’s time for common sense.
It’s time for Eliot Cutler.