SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine – Today, former Maine Governor John Baldacci announced his opposition to the Waterfront Protection Ordinance (WPO).
In a statement, Governor Baldacci said:
“After careful consideration, I have decided to join the many community and state leaders opposed to the Waterfront Protection Ordinance, or WPO, in South Portland. While I respect the citizen initiative process and understand there are strong feelings on both sides of this issue, I am convinced the WPO would cause serious harm to one of our state’s most important economic engines: the working waterfront of South Portland and greater Portland region.
“As Governor, I struck an important balance between growing our economy and protecting our natural resources. However, the WPO fails that test because it is far too broad as written. The WPO would negatively impact a wide range of businesses and industries, costing our state good paying jobs, much needed tax revenue, and access to affordable energy.
“I also know that Mainers are at our best when we work together to find solutions. Community leaders across South Portland have expressed a willingness to work together after the election to consider how the city should respond to changing global energy markets.
“I am confident that an inclusive, deliberative process will find the right path forward for South Portland and a working waterfront that is critical to all of Maine.
“I encourage the voters of South Portland to vote ‘Against’ the WPO, stand up on behalf of the hard working men and women who rely upon a vibrant working waterfront and to join in the expected community discussion about the future of South Portland’s working waterfront.”
Maine Energy Marketers Association President Jamie Py, whose BQC is leading the effort in opposing the WPO, said “We are truly grateful to Governor Baldacci for his support. Governor Baldacci is known for his principled, bi-partisan leadership and for his balanced approach to smart economic development. We agree with him that the WPO is overbroad, and if passed, would cause serious economic harm to the working waterfront of South Portland and the region.”
Background on Governor Baldacci: A Maine native, Governor John Baldacci grew up as part of a large family in Bangor. While working in his family’s restaurant, he attended local schools and earned his bachelor’s degree in History from the University of Maine. He was first elected to public office at the age of 23, winning a seat on the Bangor City Council. He won election to the Maine Senate in 1982 where he served as a State Senator for 12 years.
In 1994, Governor Baldacci was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maine’s Second District. He was re- elected by wide margins in 1996, 1998 and 2000. Returning home following his term in the U.S. Congress, Baldacci was then elected as Maine’s 73rd Governor, serving from 2003-2011. During his tenure as Governor, he initiated reforms in the areas of health care, energy development, administrative reform and efficiency, and public education.
His two terms completed, Governor Baldacci continued his career in public service, accepting an appointment as the director of the Department of Defense’s Military Health Care Reform Initiative where he worked with former Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Clifford L. Stanley, to conduct a full-scale review and evaluation of military health care and wellness.
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