If you are looking for another opinion on the latest controversy surrounding Gov. Paul LePage, stop reading now. If you’re interested in the total effect of his nearly six years in office, keep reading.

We often lose sight of the public policy that has defined his governorship and although we all wish he were more diplomatic, those who lambaste him for his words and not his actions are often as petty and vitriolic as they accuse him of being. I have worked closely with the governor throughout his time in office and although we don’t always agree and I would often say things differently, we share a similar vision for Maine and he has achieved much of what he has set out to do.

Gov. LePage spent months selling his plan to pay off the state’s Medicaid debt to its hospitals. Majority Democrats at first opposed the plan, then offered their own, and finally passed the governor’s. More polished Republican governors likely would have negotiated it away in a watered-down compromise with the majority party. Not LePage. As a result, our hospitals, our credit rating, and the state’s revenue and balance sheet are better for it. That’s fiscal responsibility.

Thanks to the governor’s tenacity and unwillingness to negotiate away his principles, Maine dodged the bullet that is ObamaCare’s welfare expansion. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services estimates this would cost the state general fund $100 million per year. In 2013 and early 2014, polling showed that Medicaid expansion was a popular policy, but LePage didn’t care about the polls, even heading into his re-election. He knew it was bad policy for the state and he set to work shaping public opinion instead of reacting to it. By the summer before his re-election, the Bangor Daily News even admitted that LePage and Republicans had “effectively convinced Mainers outside their core of support that Medicaid expansion is unnecessary and too expensive.” That’s leadership.

Under his leadership, the MaineCare program completed its first year in its history without requiring a mid-term budget to close a gaping shortfall. Any casual observer of Maine politics over the past 10 to 20 years knows that MaineCare had been a chronic financial disaster until LePage reduced eligibility for able-bodied, childless adults, implemented a sophisticated new budget forecasting method, and instituted payment reforms and “frequent flyer” rules to drive costs downward. That’s management.

The governor has shown not just persistence in overcoming objections to pass his agenda, but a true ability and willingness to cross partisan divides to implement important reforms.

To fight the opioid crisis, this year alone, he convinced lawmakers of the need to improve interdiction efforts by increasing law enforcement salaries and hiring more drug enforcement agents. In exchange, he signed a bill proposed by lawmakers to increase addiction treatment funding. LePage then introduced, built legislative and stakeholder agreement around, and ultimately signed landmark legislation to limit opioid prescribing and require prescriber use of the Prescription Monitoring Program.

These are three bipartisan accomplishments in one year on perhaps the single most glaring challenge facing our state, and LePage got them done.

Finally, we have a list of accomplishments that undoubtedly moved our state forward and of which most Mainers — Democrat, Republican or independent — can be proud.

LePage reformed welfare by implementing time limits, work requirements, point-of-sale restrictions, asset tests, drug testing, and much more. He led the charge to reduce Maine’s top income tax rate from 8.5 percent to 7.15 percent. Along with lawmakers, he cut the state’s $4 billion long-term state pension shortfall nearly in half, expanded the availability of natural gas, slashed burdensome business regulations, and strengthened Maine’s safety net for the elderly and disabled by increasing funding for nursing homes and other services.

LePage reduced our unemployment rate from 8 percent to less than 4 percent, made Maine first in the nation in 2014 for our reduction in food-stamp dependency, and increased state revenues while reducing state taxes and paying off debt.

Just this week we found out that Maine’s quarterly personal income growth ranks second in the nation and our efforts to tackle the opioid crisis rank among the top five.

No objective observer can deny that Maine’s finances and economy are better off now than they were six years ago. Although I certainly don’t condone the language he used recently, I hope we look at the entirety of his record when we decide how to best move Maine forward.

Rep. Bob Nutting, R-Oakland, serves on the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee and was the 100th Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.

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