PORTLAND — Jason Levesque, a Republican businessman from Auburn running for Congress, touted fiscal responsibility and populist themes in his speech before the GOP state convention that began Friday.
In his first race for elective office, Levesque is taking on U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a four-term Democrat representing Maine's 2nd congressional district, which includes Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.
“We sit in the middle of the greatest economic struggle of our time, one that is not only in our country, but enveloped the entire world,” Levesque said to about 1,500 members of the party faithful gathered at the Portland Exposition building. “We face a great philosophical divide over where this nation should be headed.”
The federal government must stop bailing out big banks and corporations, he said.
“Job creation does not come from government," Levesque said to cheers. "American companies will provide innovation, the capital and the jobs to get this country moving forward again. If government can get out of the way and out of our wallets, we can.”
“We need to give people the opportunity to improve their quality of life and grow into our financial future without driving up national debts that our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will have to pay off,” he said.
Levesque, a former U.S. Army drill sergeant, also made reference to global terrorism and the importance of supporting U.S. troops.
“We are a nation still at war, with unrepentant terrorists, people who want to destroy our very livelihood," Levesque said. “We must be diligent against enemies that wish to destroy us and show them no leniency. We must support our troops and make sure they have the proper equipment.”
Members of Congress have lost touch with who they represent and why, he said.
“Those members of Congress that sit comfortably in their Capitol Hill coccoon have failed to listen to us," Levesque said. "The (U.S.) Constitution was not created to give government power over the people, it was created to give the people power over the government.
“Congress members go behind closed doors, wheeling and dealing, trading votes for kickbacks. No matter what the elites in Washington say, we Mainers actually know what's best for us and our own families, don't we?”
Levesque also took aim at Michaud. He said that while Michaud calls himself a moderate, he voted for House measures to overhaul the health care reform system and a sweeping climate change policy. He also voted to increase the national debt ceiling, Levesque said.
“Folks, we can do better,” he said. “The momentum is on our side. Together, we can get Maine working again.”