Baldacci talks about tackling $16 trillion debt, contemplates return to office

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“I’m looking at it,” Baldacci said when asked whether he planned to run again before delivering a speech at the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce’s annual business breakfast Monday morning. “It’s not about me, it’s really about making sure that we get things on the right track in Maine, and that’s what I’m more concerned about.

The focus of Baldacci’s speech was the national debt, which is more than $16 trillion, and the importance of parties working together to put America on a better fiscal path.

Baldacci, who today is senior advisor for economic development and government relations at the Pierce Atwood law firm in Portland, is also co-chairing Maine’s Fix the Debt campaign with a former adversary, Rick Bennett.

Bennett and Baldacci ran against each other for the Democratic Party gubernatorial nomination in 1994. The race was hotly contested and left both candidates with “a lot of battle wounds.” The two have come together because they agree on the importance of the debt issue, Baldacci said. The former governor and his former opponent have visited editorial boards and members of the congressional delegation as part of the national Fix the Debt campaign to urge bipartisan solutions to the nation’s debt problem.

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“I wanted to focus on working together to address the national debt,” Baldacci said before he spoke at the chamber breakfast. “I’m not happy about the fighting; I’m not happy about the ideological partisanship that’s been shown; and I’m not happy about [Maine] becoming a joke on Saturday Night Live.”

Baldacci also congratulated the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce for its growth and recovery from financial difficulties the nonprofit faced three years ago, as well as the region for recent successes and developments, such Hollywood Casino, the revitalization of downtown Bangor, and the Cross Insurance Center, which is slated to open this spring.

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