Jacobson seeks seat to build business Print Page

Date: June 26, 2009
Author: Scarborough Leader

By Nate Jones

Staff Writer 

 

Every time Matt Jacobson makes a career change, he slows down.

After graduating from the Naval Academy, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jacobson his military career flying supersonic jets, but would log most of his 3,000 hours of flight time at the yoke of a much more cumbersome C-130 Hercules airplane. 

After an honorable discharge from the Navy, Jacobson kept his feet on the ground working as president and CEO for the St. Lawrence & Atlantic Railroad, where, he tripled the railroad’s revenue in four years. Jacobson then became the president and CEO of Maine & Company, a nonprofit economic development corporation that focuses on bringing businesses to Maine.

“I have a friend who told me ‘Every time you change your job, you lose 100 knots,’” Jacobson said with a chuckle.

On Monday, Jacobson traveled to Scarborough Town Hall to discuss his next potential position – and there’s nothing cumbersome about the job description.

“I want to be [Maine’s] governor because I feel I have a unique skill set and experience that is applicable right now,” he said. “We are on a path where there is a very real danger that we will be the generation that leaves [Maine] in a worse state than we found it. I can’t let that happen.”

The 48-year-old Cumberland resident said he decided to run for governor as a republican candidate after Maine & Company lost a business client who was considering moving to Maine. As governor, Jacobson said he believes he will be in a better position not only to pull businesses into the state and begin creating jobs, but keep those that are already in the state.

“We lost a company, I take that personally and really hard. I couldn’t sleep,” he said.

Jacobson said he plans to rely on his experience working with businesses, unions, and his leadership skills to help Maine become “world class.”

“By ‘world class’ I mean what do we do best? What can we do that will have guys in North Carolina worrying about how they’re going to compete with Maine?” he asked. 

When it comes to dealing with issues such as the revenue shortfall for road repair projects – Maine Department of Transportation announced last week they are canceling 75 percent of their projects scheduled for 2009 and 2010 – or upcoming political issues – such as the movement to repeal LD 1020, the bill that permits same-sex marriage in Maine – Jacobson said it is best to start from the ground up.

“Let’s be ‘world class,’ let’s create some jobs, then we can look at some of the other problems,” he said. 

One area Jacobson said the state has the potential to be “world class” in is the tourism industry. He said the state currently devotes $65,000 to attracting cruise ships, an amount he considers “not even trying.” Last year, he said approximately 200 cruise ships stopped in Maine ports. 

“What if every town has a cruise ship every day that they can accommodate? I’m not talking infrastructure, just with what currently exists. I’ve talked to the experts and they tell me 1,500 ships [a year],” he said. 

“Then, where’s the best place in the world to learn how to be a merchant mariner? I went to the Naval Academy, but I’ll tell you, it’s Maine Maritime. What if we take 90 percent of the officers onboard those cruise ships – not the hospitality people, the ones who are making real money – and train them at Maine Maritime? We’ve been going to sea for 400 years, who better to do it?”

Jacobson said a boom of cruise ships in Maine ports could also result in schools providing better tourism trades programs, more successful tourist retail shops and, eventually, better infrastructure. The tourism industry is just one area of business Maine has the potential to be “world class” with the right guidance, he said.

“It’s all about creating jobs, that’s when everything gets easier,” Jacobson said. “We need to stop maintaining poverty and start creating opportunity.”

According to the Maine Ethics Commission Web site, Jacobson is one of 10 registered gubernatorial candidates – including Democratic candidate and former Attorney General Steven Rowe and second-time independent candidate Alex Hammer – although the secretary of state will not be issuing official petitions until January next year. Once a party candidate files with the secretary of state, they must collect 2,000 signatures from their party by March 15 to be included on the primary ballot in June. Candidates who receive the most votes in the June primary will be featured on the ballot in November 2010 to fill the governor’s seat currently filled by John Baldacci, according to the secretary of state’s office.

For more information on Jacobson’s campaign, visit www.JacobsonForGovernor.com.

 

    Staff Writer Nate Jones may be reached at 282-4337 ext. 233.

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