Republican Mary Mayhew, a former cabinet member under Gov. Paul LePage, is among four Republicans seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
Mayhew was a lobbyist for the Maine Hospital Association for about a decade before joining LePage’s administration as a senior health policy advisor. Shortly after that, Mayhew became the LePage administration’s commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. She remained in that post until May 2017, when she resigned to run for governor.
As she told Maine Public’s Steve Mistler, Mayhew says what separates her from her opponents in this primary is her experience:
Mistler: There are three other Republican candidates in this race, and many of them are promoting similar ideas. But what specific proposals makes you different than your primary opponents?
Mayhew: Well it’s not just the proposal, Steve, it’s what I’ve done. I am battle-tested with proven results. I’ve taken on some of the most difficult issues to get our financial house in order and to prioritize the needs of our most vulnerable. I know what to do on Day One because I oversaw over a third of the state budget. I’m prepared to take on the rest of it.
Mistler: What is the biggest challenge facing Maine and what would you do as governor to respond to that challenge?
Mayhew: Well, the biggest challenge, frankly, is protecting the ground that we’ve gained. You know, unfortunately, the Legislature is often reactive to crises, but here we are today with a financially stable foundation — $200 million in our state’s rainy day fund. We need to make sure that we continue down this path to grow Maine’s economy. So we’ve got to do a great job of not allowing people to start throwing money at problems, to spend money again like it’s water, and continue to invest in our future by growing our workforce so that we’re able to meet the job demands that exist today and in the future.
Mistler: Polls continue to show that jobs are the biggest concern for voters in the state. What would you do as governor to help grow the economy?
Mayhew: Well, certainly, what I know speaking to employers around the state — many still do not feel valued, appreciated or respected. They worry about what the next nail in the coffin is going to be out of Augusta. What I know — this isn’t complicated — we need to get government out of the way and out of their pockets, whether that’s a small business or a large business. Businesses need to be able to re-invest and not have to send more and more money to Augusta, and they need to have predictability. They can’t have the rules of the game changing constantly. So that’s where you need to stand guard against the constant tax increases or the new regulations, so businesses here in Maine know that this is a good environment to grow and invest in their businesses. And that matters to families who need those jobs.
Mistler: As you know Maine voters will be using ranked-choice voting in the primary. Assuming that you will rank yourself as the top choice, how will you be ranking the rest of the candidates?
Mayhew: I won’t. Ranked-choice voting is a scam. It’s going to undermine the integrity of our election process. In this scenario we won’t know on election night who the nominee is going to be and, frankly, if it goes to court we may not know for weeks. That is a tragedy when there was nothing broken with the system that required this ridiculous law.
This interview has been edited for clarity. For a longer version of this interview, aired as part of a Public Affairs special program, click here. For more on Mayhew’s stances on the issues, and other Republicans in Maine’s gubernatorial race, click here. Visit our Your Vote 2018 page for more elections resources and information.