A state’s governor is like a company C.E.O., he or she must wear a variety of hats, set goals, provide a clear vision/direction, make multiple/difficult decisions, and form a close alliance of individuals (in this case a cabinet) to help execute the vision. One of the C.E.O’s most important responsibilities, and perhaps most difficult, is the creating and representing the “brand” of the organization.

As we look at Gov. LePage’s first month in office, are the stockholders (the citizens of Maine) proud of the direction we are headed? Should we be encouraged by the “brand” he is creating for our state? What will happen to the investment, not just the financial one, but the social investment, we have put into making the state what it is today? Of course the governor, like some before him, is in difficult spot; more people didn’t want him to have the job (myself included), than wanted him to have job. The task before his a daunting one.

When reviewing the first month of the LePage regime it would be too easy to simply rehash the rhetoric and partisan dueling. Instead, let us concentrate on the facts.

Gov. LePage’s supplemental budget and first round of executive orders give a strong indication as to the fiscal direction he intends for the state. Overdue payments to Maine’s hospitals will be paid, aligning with federal tax codes should reduce income taxes and a continuing a hiring freeze of state employees all show the governor is trying to get the state’s balance sheet in order.

Claiming widespread welfare abuse (a claim not substantiated with any real evidence), Gov. LePage turned around a Baldacci executive order; now state employees may question the legal residency of those seeking welfare benefits. Here is the problem, it won’t be the 65-plus-year-old woman from Lewiston who still speaks French in her home that will be questioned, it is likely to be the Somali family or migrant worker who came to Maine to make a better future their family. I, for one, do not believe this is a positive brand for Maine.

To create what he says is a more business friendly environment we may see changes in environmental regulations. To gain insight on obstacles facing the business community, members of the LePage’s staff have been touring around the state.

While speaking to the Oxford County Chamber of Commerce, he said many of the ideas for proposed reforms, “come directly from you.” Nice, blame the business community.

Maine may see  changes to regulations governing the labeling of chemicals that are harmful to children. This is a slippery slope, taking steps to make it easier for one division of the company to be more profitable doesn’t always result in the company being better off.

It is important to remember that even the clearest of directions don’t always lead to the desired destination. Like a G.P.S that hasn’t been loaded with the most recent maps, you can be lead with the best of intentions and end up in very bad place.

By now, we all know what Gov. LePage told the NAACP to kiss. Responding to or believing others were calling him racist, LePage played the “family card” and brought up the fact he had adopted a child who is black. Of course, Mr. LePage was being creative, he never actually adopted this person. It was an impressive showing, in the same interview he managed to denounce the NAACP, use his family as a shield and play the “race” card. (To his credit, Gov. LePage has reportedly reached out to the Maine NAACP and planned a future meeting).

The matter of how he would like to “brand” Maine again came into question when he said he would not be “held hostage by a special interest group” (referring o the NAACP), the governor then enjoyed a gathering hosted and promoted by the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce, soon after he attended a Maine Right to Life rally.

Based on his stated goals and direction he wishes to take the state, it is clearly alright with him to be held hostage by some special interest groups, just not all of them.

Throughout his campaign and inaugural speech, Mr. LePage stated it would be “people before politics”.

I ask you Gov. LePage, which people? Supporting efforts to overturn health care reform will make it more difficult or expensive for small businesses, young professionals, the elderly and young families to obtain health care coverage. Last I checked, these groups were all made up of people from Maine.

He might not care what others think, but his actions and words reflect on all of us. While we aren’t likely to see him on television or print ads from the Maine Department of Tourism (after all he’s no Arnold Schwarzenegger), our C.E.O needs to be much more careful with how he presents himself as it is a reflection of our state. In a world with a 24-hour news cycle, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs, Gov. LePage should take a deep breath and think about his words and the effect they may have.

He needs to do a better job of going after the hearts and minds of all Mainers, and to a certain extent the minds of people from away. Suggesting Maine is open for business, implying that new policies will make Maine more business friendly is unlikely to help us if the company employees don’t like the working and living conditions.

Lets look at the former leader of B.P., Tony Hayward. He was well respected, the company was in good financial shape, then the Gulf Oil Spill happened. Frustrated by the questions and running a company that may be responsible for single most expensive natural disaster the world has seen, Hayward quipped I “just want to get my life back,” that quote (along with going on a sailing trip), proved to be the end of the line for Hayward.

No matter how qualified you are for the job, or good the quality of your work, words can get you in trouble. Gov. LePage can complain all he wants about the media’s coverage of his verbal buffoonery, this doesn’t change the fact that in his first month of office, it has been his own mistakes which are distracting the public and the media from concentrating on the issues that are facing the state.

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