AUGUSTA — Streamline government. Reduce spending. Create jobs. Cut red tape. Eliminate partisan politics. Stop the exodus of Maine youth.

Those are some of the themes Gov.-elect Paul LePage could touch upon when he makes his inauguration speech at the Augusta Civic Center on Wednesday morning. Mainers should be familiar with the issues, and not just because the incoming governor spoke about them frequently on the campaign trail.

Since 1987, and in some cases before that, those same themes have been included in previous governors’ inaugural addresses.

Twenty-four years ago, Republican Gov. John McKernan promised the joint assembly of the Legislature to “work to make sure that our administration is known for turning bureaucratic red tape into a red carpet.”

In 2003, after winning the first of two terms, Democratic Gov. John Baldacci also spoke about the need to make government more efficient.

“We need to be sure that maximum resources are devoted to actual service and not multiple layers of bureaucracy,” Baldacci said.

In 1995, independent Gov. Angus King took it a step further, signing an executive order that included a statewide review of all regulations.

“From this day forward, the state government of Maine will be on your side,” King said.

LePage, who has been touring the state for his “Red Tape Removal Audit,” has also promised an overhaul of state government to make it more efficient and business friendly.

“Day 1, I come down to Kittery and take down the sign ‘Maine, the way life should be’ and put up one that says ‘Maine, open for business,’ with the governor’s phone number underneath,” LePage told the Portsmouth Herald.

The incoming governor has also remarked about the loss of Maine youth to other states, who flee the state for better economic opportunities. This was also a concern for Democratic Gov. Joseph Brennan.

“For our young people . . . only to find more attractive job opportunities far from their own backyards, let us continue to build better alternatives, quality jobs throughout the state of Maine, so that their home state can also be their children’s home state,” Brennan said in 1979.

Baldacci vowed to tackle the issue after he took the governor’s oath in 2003. 

“Young people are going out-of-state, abandoning their place of birth for opportunities elsewhere. . . . All of this must change,” Baldacci said.

Governors have consistently called for more jobs and businesses in their inaugural addresses. In many instances, governors talked about the need to capitalize on the state’s vast potential and natural resources.

In 1951, after winning his second two-year term, Gov. Frederick Payne, a Lewiston native and Republican, said his administration had made considerable progress, but “in many respects, we have yet to scratch the surface on possibilities of developing this state, industrially or recreationally. Now we are on the move.”

Payne, it should be noted, was also a proponent of streamlining government.

Subsequent governors discussed Maine’s potential for economic growth, particularly in the tourism industry.

“Two principal sources of income, industrial growth and vacation travel, will shape the economic future of Maine,” predicted Republican Gov. John Reed in 1961.

The growth didn’t happen quickly enough for Democratic Gov. Kenneth Curtis, who told Mainers in 1971, “We must accelerate our program of attracting high-wage industries to Maine. And we must increase our minimum wage to $2 per hour on a phased basis.”

Brennan, in 1983, looked beyond tourism to find Maine’s economic future.

“(We are becoming) a society whose backbone was heavy industry employing millions of blue collar workers, to a post-industrial era where computers and lasers are replacing mill shops, and robots, the workers,” Brennan said.

Maine’s place in the global economy became a talking point for governors beginning in the 1980s. King, after winning a second term in 1999, discussed how Maine was inextricably linked to the rest of the world, particularly with the dawn of the new millennium.

“It’s going to be a great ride,” King said.

King had a pretty good feeling about 1995, too. But he warned about the perils of divisive politics.

“This will be the year,” King said. “But we can’t do it with a fractured political system that’s more political than system. We can’t do it with partisanship and bickering.”

Baldacci also lamented the rise of partisanship.

Said Baldacci, “(Maine politics) are more and more influenced by outside forces that have given way to a different brand of politics than we’re used to — more partisan, more divisive and, ultimately, more detrimental to our democracy.”

LePage, of course, is known for his slogan “people before politics.”

Maine’s new governor has also discussed reining in government spending, that state government should be run like a business. If he raises the issue on Wednesday, it won’t be the first time Mainers have heard it.

“State spending is out of line with state revenues creating a billion-dollar deficit,” Baldacci said in 2003.

Longley, in 1975, said, “To say that good business practices cannot be brought to government is to say it is the nature of government to be wasteful and inefficient.”

Of course, some governors; addresses are entirely unique to their time.

In 1953, Republican Gov. Burton Cross noted “the intolerable and crowded working conditions in and around the State Capitol,” leading to the eventual construction of the Burton Cross building across from the State House.

In 1955, Democratic Gov. Edward Muskie suggested the Legislature expand gubernatorial terms from two years to four. They eventually did in 1975.

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