Continuing the March of Progress We Began Four Years Ago 

January 6, 2023

Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.

This past Wednesday, it was my profound honor to take the oath prescribed by the Maine Constitution to begin my second term as your governor.

When I was first inaugurated as in 2019, I promised the people of Maine that I would work for a healthier, more vibrant, more welcoming state. Well, who could have known then that Maine, the nation, and the world would be facing a deadly pandemic that would threaten our safety, and reinvent how we learn, work, and live?

It was during the pandemic that I heard from thousands of Maine people, including children like 10-year-old Savannah who wrote me and said “Dear Governor Mills, I hope this COVID doesn’t affect our hearts being isolated from one another.” Well, Savannah, we know now that neither a worldwide pandemic, nor any other thing will ever isolate our hearts from one another. Because here in Maine, we are like family. We care for each other.

Well, we came through that horrific time better than nearly every other state in the country. National experts say that both our public health response and our economic recovery have been among the best in the country. And since that time, we haven’t just helped our state to recover – we’ve made real progress for Maine people, and we continue to listen to you.

You said you wanted a government that paid teachers better, that funded public schools, schools where children learned on a full stomach, a government that made the dream of higher education attainable for more people. So, we fully funded the state’s share of public education for the first time in history. We funded universal free meals in the public schools. We provided free community college to recent high school grads and we enacted one of the most generous student loan forgiveness programs in the country.

You said you wanted health insurance for more people, so we expanded MaineCare to more than 100,000 people, as the voters of Maine told us to do – and we’ve reduced the uninsured rate more than any state in the country. And we listened to the small businesses drowning in health insurance costs, and we’ve lowered their premiums for the first time in decades.

You said you wanted action on climate change, and so we have put Maine on a path toward carbon neutrality with a plan to protect our farms, shorelands, and towns across the state from the ravages of climate change.

From expanding broadband – to protecting Maine’s iconic lobster industry and conserving more of our state’s wild places for future generations – we have made real progress on the issues you asked us to address.

But our job is far from finished.

We have a workforce shortage that undermines our economy, a housing crunch, an opioid epidemic that robs us of loved ones, we have too many allegations of child abuse and neglect – so we have serious challenges to address.

Over the next four years we will attack these issues head-on, continuing the march of progress we began four years ago, being prepared for challenges not yet known.

In doing so, we envision Maine as a place where quality healthcare is unquestioned; where good education, from pre-K through graduate school, is available and affordable; where good-paying jobs are offered in every corner of the state; where children are safe and secure in their homes; and where anyone of us can go online from any place in Maine to shop, to attend a class, to conduct business, to get medical help or to simply send a message to a friend.

It is the highest privilege of my life to serve as your Governor, during hard times and good, stormy seas and calmer waters, as we weather the best and the worst of times together, tackling extraordinary problems, through extraordinary times, alongside you, the extraordinary people of Maine.

This is Governor Janet Mills, and thank you for listening.