As Election Day approaches, it’s time to wrap up my virtual (only-in-my-imagination) campaign for governor with a list of promises. Here they are.
I promise to rid the roads of campaign trash, those signs that litter every intersection and grow more wildly and aggressively than bittersweet, a very invasive plant. If you want to put your favorite candidate’s poster on your property, that’s fine and your right. But candidates ought not to be able to plant their invasive posters everywhere along our roads — marring our beautiful fall scenery.
I promise to travel the state with my wife, Linda, searching for the best restaurants and inns, so we can tell you about them. Oh wait, we’re already doing that.
OK, I promise to host a celebration of Maine food and beverages every Saturday night at the Blaine House, and invite two dozen of you at a time. Perhaps we’ll have a drawing each week to select participants. I am sure we can find some great chefs and brewers to make these dinners special.
I promise to turn the Blaine House into a public house, rent rooms perhaps, offer it to nonprofits for fundraisers, whatever you want — it’s your house. I shall commute to work from my house in Mount Vernon. I’ll also buy my own food and beverages — this will save you lots of money. And you won’t have to pay for a chef for me. Linda is a fabulous cook. I love my Subaru Forester and won’t need a state vehicle.
I will change the nice retirement and benefit package provided to legislators and the governor so that it mirrors the package provided to all state employees. It’s ridiculous that the governor gets a state pension after serving just one term in office. I’m already on welfare — I mean Social Security and Medicare — so you’ll save a lot of money this way, too. I won’t need a salary.
My friends will serve as my body guards, freeing up lots of state troopers for more important work. My friends are heavily armed, so I am confident in their ability to protect me. Actually, I’m heavily armed too.
I will sponsor a contest to come up with a better state slogan than “It must be Maine.” We must do better than that.
We will have some fun at the Legislature this winter by creating a dozen new state designations. I’ll be asking your for suggestions. On my list are a state suppah (I’m voting for church), a state meal (my choice will be baked beans, red dogs, coleslaw and biscuits), a state brew (boy, can we have some fun with that — lots of tastings), and a state invasive (yes, this one could be ugly). Maybe we’ll designate a state comedian, inviting all of them to Augusta to join the other comedians in the Legislature.
I will cut the legislative session in half. If they can’t get their business done in 3 months, shame on them.
I will host meetings all over the state, at least once a week, so you can ask me questions, challenge me, taunt me if you must, but above all, get engaged in the issues before us. I am fully unprepared to serve as your governor, and will need your help.
You need to know that I will be taking a lot of vacations, to fish and hunt and enjoy life here in Maine. You can join me. Nothing will be scheduled in November, so I can get my deer.
I will constantly promote Maine’s microbrews, wine, farm-fresh products, art, books, sporting camps, guides, hunting, fishing, birding and more. This will require constant attention on my part. And I promise not to shop for anything in New Hampshire.
I love to sing, so I’m thinking that perhaps I will travel the state to sing with a different church choir every Sunday. That would be fun.
I will make annual business trips with Linda to Italy to advise you on wine and food, to Costa Rica or Texas to let you know how the birding is there, to Alaska and Quebec to check out the fishery for you, to North Dakota to alert you to the status of the pheasant population (and shoot and bring some home). I will be a regular at Red Sox and Patriots games, representing you there.
And most important of all, I promise to continue writing this column. It’s been my obsession for 25 years. Now, let’s vote and get this over with.