Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Maine's next governor

I've been bored driving into work lately. Without a book on CD to listen to (I've been too busy to get to the library), I'm forced to listen to the warmed over slop that passes for radio in Central Maine.

I must have really been bored to tune in a local political show, when I stopped to listen to Ray Richardson and Ted Talbot on WLOB. I wasn't even aware that they were back on in these parts, as sports talk had usurped their political banter earlier this spring.

These two veteran political talkers had Matt Jacobson on as their guest. Jacobson is one of 22 potential candidates in a crowded field that have either formally declared their intentions (Jacobson has already filed papers), or are contemplating runs for governor.

Given Maine's financial woes, lagging economy, aging workforce, and lack of strategic vision forward, one has to question anyone's state of mind for tossing their hat into the ring. Yet, candidate after candidate keeps coming forward claiming that they have the solution to move Maine forward into the 21st century.

Jacobson was talking about job creation this morning during the 10 minutes, or so that I heard (or barely heard, given WLOB's woeful signal in Lewiston) before pulling into the parking lot at the office. Since Jacobson's schtick with Maine & Company has been enticing businesses to locate here from elsewhere, that would make sense for him. According to Jacobson's website, his vision is for Maine "to compete and win in this new economy. We will build strong communities that attract jobs and families, providing choice and opportunity to our workers. We will create an economic climate in Maine that is competitive with other states and the global economy."

It all sounds good, but as they say, "the devil's in the details."

Some of the details are not so enticing, especially for people that labor in the trenches of workforce development and see how difficult it is to reengage Maine's diverse labor force, many whom have not worked in any meaningful capacity for years. Add to that the segment of the labor force that have lost jobs and need new skills to compete, not to mention trying to engage older, seasoned workers into making their ample skills (albeit, sans technology skills) available for as long as possible, and you have a bit more complexity than political talking points usually provide.

It will be interesting to see how the field gets winnowed down between now and November 2010.

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