Saturday, March 8, 2014
Chief Justice Saufley, President Alfond, Speaker Eves, members of the 126th Legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens.
Tonight, I am here to update you, the people of Maine, about the condition of our great state.
First, I must recognize and thank a few individuals. To my wife Ann, Ann please stand, I would not be here tonight without you. You have made Maine proud as our First Lady, especially through your support of our armed services and their families.
To my family and friends, I appreciate all you have done, your unwavering support, and all you continue to do throughout my life’s journey.
Staff Sergeant Justin Middleton, the military herald this evening, thank you for your courageous service to our state and nation.
Members of our military and veterans that are here tonight, please stand.
We salute you and extend our sincerest appreciation to each and every one of you for your service in keeping a safe and free people.
In the balcony, you’ll notice an empty chair next to our uniformed service members.
This chair represents every Mainer who is serving overseas, in harm’s way, so we can be here tonight and exercise our freedom to assemble and our freedom to speak.
I ask that we all take a moment to remember, recognize and thank our men and women in uniform.
Recently, Ann and I had the opportunity to go down to Arlington National Cemetery during the Wreaths Across America trip.
As I walked through rows and rows of tombstones, marking the final resting place of our fallen American heroes, I remembered one simple truth: These individuals paid the ultimate sacrifice to ensure future generations had the opportunity to pursue their piece of the American Dream. It is a dream we cherish and the freedom that marks our lives is so rare for the rest of the world. The American experience represents a unique moment in time. We must not abandon it!
If each and every one of our elected officials visited Arlington, they might realize the political battles we wage are meaningless in comparison to the blood that’s been shed to protect our American Dream. We all recognize that the political climate in Washington D.C. is toxic. With no solutions in sight, the Federal debt grows at such a pace that many of us question how the American Dream will ultimately survive for our children and grandchildren to experience. We owe it to each and every one of our fallen heroes, as elected officials, to come together and develop solutions to our challenges. We must commit to make our state a better place to live and raise our families.
There is no more important thing in most of our lives than our families.
Maine families are struggling. With a median household income of just under $48,000, Maine families survive on far less money than those in other states.
Maine families struggle to heat their homes, fill their cars with gasoline, put food on the table, and pay for health insurance.
Government has not strengthened Maine families with more income, opportunity, or reducing the cost of living. Instead government has taken more and more of our family’s hard working income away to serve some people’s political and/or financial self interests.
The path forward offers two choices. We continue to accept the status quo or we can make the tough decisions to create a better Maine for everyone.
We can only do this if we work together. Every Mainer deserves the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
(Continued on page 2)