In an interview with the Orient, Maine governor John Baldacci called on Bowdoin and other schools to strive for the use of clean energy.
"It would be wonderful to have an institution of higher learning that could be a role model for the rest of the state and be 100 percent clean energy," Baldacci said.
"I think that's where I'm going to be striving with the University of Maine...and I think this is where our higher institutions of learning and knowledge can be role models for the rest of the state," he said.
The interview followed a town hall meeting in Moulton Union Monday sponsored by the Bowdoin College Democrats. At the meeting, Baldacci, who is running for re-election, spoke emphatically about health care, education, and the economy, in addition to reiterating his plea for energy independence. In a speech that preceded a question-and-answer session, he attempted to explain his complex Dirigo health insurance plan and discussed the need for energy-independence on a local and state level.
"We're looking at the expansion of solar and wind energies," Baldacci said.
"We need to declare that we're going to become energy independent. Maine is in a position to demonstrate to the rest of the country what it should be doing," he said.
Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives John Richardson introduced Baldacci and used the opportunity to thank the Bowdoin College Democrats for helping with his re-election campaign last fall. Richardson said that out of his winning margin of 1,000 votes, 900 of them came from Bowdoin students, and he credited the Democrats with garnering the turnout.
When interviewed by the Orient following the town meeting, Richardson expressed his views on education.
"We are looking at loan forgiveness and a number of initiatives like that here in Maine, if people stay and are employed in Maine, after they graduate," Richardson said.
"They don't come cheap, but we're looking at a way in which we can accomplish that goal without breaking the piggy bank," he said.
However, said Richardson, Maine is in a difficult situation in that it cannot deficit-spend like the federal government.
"We have to balance our budget. That limits our options. We have to pick the options that are most pressing first, which are drugs for the elderly, K-12 education, low-income health care, things like that that become very important," Richardson said.
Richardson also elaborated on his gratitude to the College Democrats.
"The Bowdoin College Democrats guaranteed my re-election," Richardson said
"And it was because I knew they would come out in very strong numbers that I was able to get out throughout the state and help folks seek re-election or new members get elected, and that effort that I put in made the difference between having a minority or having a majority [in the Maine House of Representatives]," Richardson said.
Co-president of the Bowdoin College Democrats Frank Chi '07 said that he hoped the town meeting would encourage students to take part in the coming election season.
"We [Bowdoin students] are very apathetic, and it's not a presidential year. The governor coming here set a good standard, especially this early in the campaign season, and it's something that the College Democrats would love to build on in the coming month and year," Chi said.
"We're glad he came here and told us what he felt other people can do to get involved."
Zach Linhart '08 was less enthusiastic.
"Baldacci was a little too technical and made it hard for an outsider to understand what he was talking about," he said.
Linhart was also critical of Baldacci's energy policy. During the question and answer session, in addition to extolling wind and solar energy, Baldacci expressed concern about nuclear power.
"Solar energy and wind energy are great, but there is no way we're going to power the U.S., even Maine, on just those sources of energy," Linhart said.
"Even though there are problems with nuclear, it's still a great power source," he said.