Faced with important, fundamental challenges like a shrinking, aging population and a dismal record of economic growth, one of the great failures of leadership of the past seven-plus years has been the ugly use of the negative and corrosive tactic of scapegoating – which is always easier than actually working hard to solve real problems.

People across Maine are working harder than ever, but they do not feel like they are getting ahead. Instead of providing real solutions to solve real problems like lack of statewide broadband access, or working together to pass legislation that could create thousands of jobs installing solar energy systems, negative leaders tell people the real barriers to success are the newest immigrants in town or the single mother working two jobs.

As a political strategy, blaming “the other” has a long, dark history in Maine, our country, and the world. In addition to being morally wrong, it is not, has never been, and will never be an economic strategy.

As a combat leader in Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan, I have seen the logical end of politics based on hate and division. One of the personal reasons Paulina and I decided to run for governor is we do not want our three girls and two boys ages 5-12 growing up in a state or country where demeaning others is the only model of leadership.

In addition to being morally wrong, I know from many meetings and discussions that having a governor who demeans other people and the State of Maine makes it much harder for Maine-based companies to attract the top talent they need to grow or to attract new businesses and jobs to the state.

I will be a governor who champions an inclusive, positive vision of Maine as a place where the best and brightest people, entrepreneurs and businesses are invited and welcomed to live, work and enjoy our incredible quality of life – no matter where they are from, how they worship, what color they are, or who they love.