QUOTE: It’s true that regional differences abound. They always have and always will. We hear about the two Maines, but there are actually many Maines – north and south; east and west; rural and urban; coastal and inland, Democrat and Republican, Green and Independent.
But it’s our similarities – not our differences – that define us. Nearly all of us came here as immigrants. We all want good schools, safe communities, and a promising future for our children and their children.
The set of values we share are the same, whether you live in Kittery or Madawaska, Calais or Fort Kent, Lewiston or Lubec. The values of family and community, with tolerance and neighborliness, with hard work and respect for nature – these are universal throughout Maine.
These qualities and values are tested from time to time, and they will be in just the next few days. I want to make it very clear, in case there is any question: Maine is a lot of things, but it is not nor will it ever be a haven or a headquarters for hate groups and racist organizations. These groups do not reflect the principles and values of Maine, and I urge all Mainers to firmly embrace diversity and tolerance and oppose bigotry and hatred.
There is something else that every one of us has in common that helps define who we are: we live in Maine because we choose to live in Maine. We could live anywhere, but who would want to?
We live in Maine despite the hardships, despite the challenges, despite the burdens. We’re hardscrabble people, resilient, resourceful. And that is our strength.
Inaugural Address, January 8, 2003