The State of the State 

Tuesday night Governor Baldacci talked about opportunities in energy, health care, education and economic development in Maine, in his annual State of the State address.As expected, he struck a hopeful tone, saying the resources we have within our state will be better utilized going forward. He introduced programs he says will be the way out of this economic crisis. “Our strengths are undeniable and we will not be deterred. It may be dark right now, but we’re not lost in the night.”Governor Baldacci says with the federal wind at our back, investments Maine makes now will pay off.With regard to healthcare, for the long term, he proposes a better wellness program. In the short term, a voucher system to help people afford healthcare after layoffs. “Vouchers will help the newly unemployed buy private health insurance or help them to enroll in a temporary, affordable health care plan,” he says.Also important, he says, is to train doctors here so they stay here, introducing scholarships and partnerships. He also emphasized commitments to state hospitals.With regard to education, the governor says he’ll continue K-through-12 reforms. “The way forward is to stop wasting money on bureaucracies and administrations.”But the big topic of the night was energy. He says energy mistakes are what led to our recession – and won’t be repeated. “Not this time, not again, no more,” he said, to a standing ovation.He outlined an energy plan that helps Mainers better weatherize their properties and invest in energy upgrades…while creating a new, green-collar workforce, providing much-needed jobs.He says the state’s already made impressive headway with regard to wind, tidal, solar, and other forms of renewable power. “Our location puts us at a position to become a renewable energy engine for our country.”He also wants to strengthen our energy transmission system, taking advantage of transportation corridors already lining our state. “But if we want to capitalize on our advantages,” he says, “we must be aggressive.”