The Right View: 2015 could be the year of the Maine conservative

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Happy New Year! What better way to ring in 2015 than to highlight the bright spots conservatives the state over can hopefully, as well as assuredly, anticipate.

We’re a year closer to President Obama’s exit from our national stage. Thank God. I’m choosing to focus on that, rather than the havoc he will try to wreak while he’s on his way out. History is replete with examples of powerful men who conjure their worst acts as they see their power slipping away.

But I digress.

Gov. Paul LePage will continue his reign in Maine, and first lady Ann LePage will continue to tirelessly promote awareness of and advocate for the needs of our military veterans and their families. There are so many areas to be grateful for in our governor’s hard work on behalf of our state, it’s difficult to pinpoint just one. But this was a big one: In December, the Maine Revenue Forecasting Committee announced $19 million in additional revenue for the state for the current fiscal year and more than $40 million in the next biennium.

“Reducing the tax burden on Mainers was a good, meaningful policy decision in 2011, and the state is seeing an uptick in income tax revenue as a result,” the governor stated. “Policies that reduce state spending, remove red tape and allow businesses to invest and create jobs are what we need to move Maine’s economy forward. Maine is open for business, and I am committed to improving the economy with strong growth in both the number of jobs created and the wages they pay.” Hero.

Perhaps gone mostly unnoticed, but last month, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin announced he was abandoning his plan for a single-payer health-care system for his state, as noted by Patrick Marvin, a policy analyst at the Maine Heritage Policy Center. This puts an important brake on a movement that would be sure to be attempted in Maine had it gone forward in one of our closest neighbors.

Mike Michaud lost.

The app-based ride-share service Uber has come to Portland, and the fight over its very existence promises to shed light on the ridiculous, burdensome, and tangled web of regulations that currently choke our potentially great gem of a city. Look for a draft amendment to city regulations by February that sets new proposed rules for ride-share services. I hope that sets up a revolt over the regulatory stranglehold that ties the city’s hands.

We have some momentum to dump Common Core in Maine. Now is the time to get active in your local No Common Core Maine grassroots groups, easily found on Facebook or elsewhere on the Web. For those who are not aware, the Maine Republican Party platform, ratified last April, in part states the “Common Core State Standards must be re-evaluated with respect to local control, data mining of personal information, and curriculum; with emphasis upon eliminating Maine’s participation in CCSS, the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortia and P20 Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems.”

Also, of importance, parents need to be aware they have the right to opt their children out of the Common Core testing that will take place this spring in schools statewide in grades 3-11. A simple letter to your school district superintendent will do. There is factually no law that forces your children to take these tests if you wish, for any reason, to opt them out. They are your children, not the state’s (yet). Letters to the governor don’t hurt either.

Republicans took the Maine Senate, and made gains in the House. Together with Gov. LePage, I am hopeful and optimistic that we will see an end to government waste, fraud and abuse, and usher in of an era for private growth, liberty and prosperity in our beautiful state under Republican leadership, truly making Maine the way life should be.

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Julie McDonald-Smith lives in North Yarmouth. She is a registered nurse, former Capitol Hill staffer, and former chairwoman of the Cape Elizabeth Republican Committee. Her column appears every other week.

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