My name is Steve DeAngelis. I have been a teacher and ski coach at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield for 39 years. Now, I am running for Maine governor.

I believe that a leader should build community the same way that a coach builds a team. As coach of the Maranacook Nordic ski team, I transformed a team that had never won a nordic state championship into a team that has since won 27 state titles.

We have won, in our small town, not because we focus exclusively on winning, but because we have a team culture that values every athlete as an individual. Each person knows that he or she has skin in the game.

I have gotten to know Mainers from all backgrounds. Over the years, however, I have noticed that my students and their families are facing increasing hardship. Our schools and teachers are doing their best to fill the gaps, and they do amazing work. But we can all do better by our state in addressing systemic challenges such as income inequality and barriers to affordable health care that harm our society.

I believe our state government should function as a team. Maine has incredible potential: abundant natural resources, a talented and hard-working population, and a knack for blazing our own independent trails. We need leadership that prioritizes Maine’s future through protecting our environment, building inclusive communities, and promoting innovation. We need leadership that unites Team Maine.

As Maine’s next governor, I will guide our state to develop our economy and create jobs. We need to maximize the use of our resources, for example by developing new uses for low-cost waste products from fisheries, or creating high-tech products made from wood. Our strength lies in supporting local economies while also welcoming outside talent.

I will prioritize expanding high-speed broadband infrastructure across rural Maine, connecting our own talent to opportunities. We must pull together to generate better-paying jobs and support entrepreneurship across the state.

I will encourage investment in our education system. Our efforts to reform education must include both early intervention and preventative health care for children, as well as quality child care that frees parents to work for their families and the growth of our state. We need to enact legislation to make our schools more family centered. Our state should ensure affordable higher education for everyone who wants it. And, we must adapt educational opportunities to meet current and future workforce demand.

These priorities are linked to the greater goal of preparing for Maine’s future generations. We cannot afford to go the easy route by putting a Band-Aid on our problems. We need sustainable solutions that meet both our immediate and long-term needs.

The key to enacting sustainable change is to strengthen Maine communities. We need to promote collaborative problem-solving through dialogue. We must encourage participation in town hall meetings, and provide a platform for municipal leaders to brainstorm solutions for Maine towns and cities together.

Through a community-based platform, we can identify common beliefs, establish a culture of respect, and encourage Maine citizens to work together towards common ends.

We need to value the importance of each individual’s contribution. We do not all share the same skills or background, nor would we want that. But we Mainers are an incredible, strong people with unique resources.

That’s why, as Maine’s next governor, I will seek to foster a sense of pride, responsibility, and above all, teamwork in every citizen. United as a team, within the state government and between the government and the people, we will realize our full potential and lead our state to a better future.

Steve DeAngelis, of Readfield is a Democratic candidate for governor.

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