Speaking on a talk radio show early Thursday, Maine’s next governor said she wants to take the state in a new direction as well as change the attitude of state government.

Gov.-elect Janet Mills, a Democrat, told WGAN radio host Matthew Gagnon that she’s intent on rebuilding a collaborative atmosphere in state government, especially in the governor’s office.

“When I say turn the page and move in a different direction, people know we have to work together a lot better, more compassionately and in a more conciliatory fashion and move this state forward,” Mills said.”We don’t want to have a reputation as being a state that doesn’t respect itself; we do respect ourself.”

Mills said her administration would take a different tone than that of outgoing Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who appeared on the same show earlier in the morning. LePage has been a frequent guest both on WGAN and Bangor-based WVOM. Both outlets provided LePage a friendly platform to both pitch ideas and criticize political rivals.

Mills’ appearance on the show was her first since she won election Tuesday.

Mills said she was motivated to run for governor during the state government shutdown in July 2017, after the Republican House minority refused to vote to approve a veto-proof state budget and LePage introduced a last- minute plan, including a list of demands that were rejected by lawmakers.

“As long as you bring people around the table, both new and old, you can communicate better, you can form consensus, you can come to the middle when appropriate and get things done,” Mills said. “I think that’s what people expect us to do.”

She said while LePage had built up the state’s reserve funds and lowered taxes during his two terms, Maine is sill lagging economically behind the rest of the country and New England.

“We are the last state in New England to be recovering from the recession of 10 years ago,” she said. “We still have the lowest per capita income in New England. The lowest household income in New England.”

She also referenced a recent Maine Department of Labor report that projected “virtually zero job growth over the next eight years. These are challenges. We know,” Mills said.

She also threw a jab at LePage’s involvement in a state contracting process that ended up quashing a $120 million offshore wind project by the Norwegian energy giant Statoil. Statoil subsequently pulled up stakes in Maine and took its project to Scotland.

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“When you sign a contract, when you authorize a deal, you stand by it,” Mills said. “You don’t pull the rug out from underneath it. Or six months later issue an executive order that purports to shut down tens of millions – hundreds of millions of dollars – of investment, in, say, wind power, for instance. You just don’t do that, and we are not going to do that. Turning the page means changing the attitude as well as the direction.”

Gagnon noted that LePage earlier had wished Mills well and said he hoped she would be successful. LePage has been critical of Mills and in many ways raised her political profile by doing so.

“Thank you,” Mills said to Gagnon. “It’s good to hear from him. Albeit indirectly.”

Mills also noted that her vote total was the largest ever captured by a candidate for governor in Maine, a record that was previously held by LePage.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 713-6720 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: thisdog

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