They want more affordable energy, a balanced state budget and better job opportunities. Mainers of all stripes weigh in on the state’s most pressing issues and tell the governor what they’d like to hear him say during Tuesday’s State of the State address at 7 p.m.

Julie Chicoine

Age: 47

Occupation: bookkeeper at Motor Supply Auto Parts in Skowhegan

Residence: Embden

Political affiliation: unaffiliated

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“I think the welfare issues, welfare spending. Too many on the system, not enough working, too many abusers. It’s hurting the taxpayers. I work. Sometimes I’ve held a part-time job on top of a full-time job to make ends meet. I didn’t look for a handout.”

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“I’d like him to assure the taxpayers that he is going to keep his commitment to shrink welfare spending and continue in his quest for job creation. I’m proud to say I voted for him the first time, and I would vote for him again.”

Reggie Clark

Age: 19

Occupation: international global studies major at University of Maine at Farmington

Residence: Oakland

Political affiliation: unaffiliated

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Job creation, especially promoting new ways to grow the service industries, because in Maine most of the manufacturing jobs have gone overseas and its going to be tough to get them back.”

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“That he’s working to get the jobs to come back to Maine.”

Jim Gates

Age: 59

Occupation: retired drafting and architecture teacher, Lawrence High School

Residence: Waterville

Political affiliation: unaffiliated

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Certainly, the economy and jobs. I think we need to sell Maine. It’s got good people; it’s a good place to live. Being an educator, I think we should do everything we can to improve our educational systems.”

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“I’d like to see the more human side of him. I’d like to him to step back and say, ‘We’ve gotten off to a rocky start and we need to work together, and here’s my initiative.’ I think people, in general, appreciate that he’s trying to improve Maine and make it a place for business.”

Melissa Hackett

Age: 30

Occupation: assistant manager at Barrels Community Market

Residence: Waterville

Political affiliation: Democrat

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“I think it’s food. Food in relation to farming as well as personal health. … We talk about Maine being business-friendly, I’d love to see more help for small farmers. I think there are a lot of young people in Maine who want to stay, and I think (farming) is a growing industry that needs to be supported. And, I think it ties in with local health — people eating better — and supporting the local economy. “

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“I think he should talk about how he plans to grow the economy, as that relates to small business and community revitalization.”

Maria Leathers

Age: 20

Occupation: English major at University of Maine at Farmington

Residence: Bingham

Political affiliation: unaffiliated

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“I agree with the governor that there needs to be a lot of health care reform but what he is proposing right now is a little too extreme. And he needs to look at focusing on the abuses of the system instead of cutting things like funding for substance abuse care because that is a major problem in Maine.”

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“I would like to see him say what he would change specifically and what he would look at in detail concerning cuts to social services.”

Lisa Savage

Age: 55

Occupation: literacy coach at Carrabec High School in Anson

Residence: Solon

Political affiliation: unaffiliated

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Recognizing that the natural resources of Maine should be held in common; they are the legacy of the future generation. Allowing for-profit corporations to use them up or pollute them is a losing proposition. The 99 percent should be deciding what happens to Maine’s waterways and land.”

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“I would like the governor to say he had come to his senses and that he had reconnected with his working class origins; that he was going to return the Maine labor history mural to its rightful spot and respect the voices of the 99 percent.”

John Ponti

Age: 26

Occupation: graduate student at Thomas College in Waterville

Residence: Manchester

Political affiliation: unaffiliated

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“The job situation. It’s tough for young people, especially in Maine. It’s difficult to find a job to start a career and I have a four-year degree from Husson.”

What would you like the governor to say in his state of the state address Tuesday?

“I’d like to hear what he has to say about drug testing people on MaineCare. That has caught my attention.”

Heidi DiPhilippo

Age: 73

Occupation: wife/homemaker

Residence: Falmouth

Political affiliation: Democrat

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Unemployment.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“I won’t listen to him. I don’t like him.”

Jerry Andress

Age: 79

Residence: Cape Elizabeth

Occupation: shopkeeper/framer

Political affiliation: Republican

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Jobs.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“I wonder if he’ll say anything about what we lost in Brunswick,” he said, referring to the decision by Kestrel Aircraft to locate in Wisconsin. “I’d like for him to give some explanation of what happened.”

Leigh Tillman

Age: 30

Residence: Portland

Occupation: farmer/meeting facilitator

Political affiliation: None

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Reassessing how government addresses local issues and the meets the needs of people.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“I would love to hear something in the speech about how government meets the needs of people, hearing alternatives about how we deal with the budget.”

Michelle Clarkin

Age: 39

Residence: Portland

Occupation: sales clerk

Political affiliation: unenrolled

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Improving the economy.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“I wouldn’t mind our minimum wage increasing a little bit so we can make ends meet a little better.”
 
Brooke Beaucage-Ghans

Age: 34

Residence: Arundel

Occupation: property management worker

Political affiliation: Democrat

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Health care.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“What is he going to do for people who can’t afford health care?”

Patrick Keniston

Age: 48

Residence: Cape Elizabeth

Occupation: Securities attorney

Political affiliation: Democrat

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“The economy.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“The issue I am most interested in is education. He talked about offering a fifth year for high school. I’d like to hear if anything is being done with that.”

Steve Ross

Age: 70

Residence: East Waterboro

Occupation: land surveyor

Political affiliation: Republican

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Getting a balanced budget.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“I’d like to have him present a balanced budget.”

Jamal Mukhdar

Age: 40

Hometown: Portland

Occupation: Taxi driver

Party Affiliation: Democrat

What’s the most important issue facing Maine?

“Education.”

What would you like to hear the governor say?

“I’d like to hear what he has to say about education and about creating jobs.”
 

Amy Calder, Mechele Cooper, Craig Crosby, Doug Harlow, David Hench, Ben McCanna, Andy Molloy, Erin Rhoda and David Robinson contributed to this report.


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