FTS Q&A: Mike Michaud

2 terms in the Maine House of Representatives and 5 terms in the Maine Senate all while maintaining a full-time job at the Great Northern Paper in East Millinocket; work ethic has never been a question for Mike Michaud. After spening 6 terms in the US House of Representatives, Michaud has decided that the he could best continue to serve the people of Maine by running for the office of Governor which is no small task considering the big name field of candidates.
We are excited to be joined by Congressman Michaud on the Fill The Steins Podcast this Friday Evening at 7pm to talk a little bit about the man behind the politician. In advance of our radio show, Mike was kind enough to sit down and answer questions on life growing up in East Millinocket and his plans for reforming education in Maine.
Fill The Steins (FTS): Let’s get straight to the hard hitting questions. Schenck High School, which you attended, has been the punch line of jokes for its name for several decades. Where do you weigh in on the talk of potentially changing the school name?
Mike Michaud (MM): Oh jeeze, I’m going to leave that one to the local voters in the area! But I’ll always consider myself a proud alumni.

FTS: With five other siblings I am sure you must have found plenty of ways to entertain each other while growing up. What’s one talent that you’ve picked up through the years that most people don’t know about?

MM: Well I didn’t learn it from my siblings but I’m pretty good at tying flies, which is something I picked up from my dad.

FTS: You spent most of your life before politics as a worker and supervisor at Great Northern Paper in East Millinocket. GNP has changed hands several times in the last few decades and now it appears state funding or incentives are again needed to get it back on track. In a town with a population now under 1,800 people, why should we keep bailing out the paper mills?

MM: I’m always going to fight for any job, whether it’s in a paper mill or a high tech industry. There is no doubt that the past can’t drive economic development. Our economy is changing and we need to adapt as a state but we also can’t turn our backs on the jobs of today in hopes of the jobs of tomorrow. We need to and can fight for both. If you look at my career, you can see I’ve done that. I’ve fought hard to protect American manufacturing jobs from being shipped overseas just as I’ve fought for millions in funding to develop innovative new jobs in Maine for Tidal Power, offshore wind and, small business development and expansion of broadband internet. 
FTS: When you are back home in East Millinocket, on break from Congress, what can expect to find Mike Michaud doing to relax and unwind?
MM: I love the outdoors so when I get a day to relax I like to spend it either working in my wood lot cutting brush or mowing the lawn. I also like to garden but I don’t have a lot of time for a big garden these days since I’m hardly ever home. So I made a garden on wheels that I grow vegetables in. I just cart it out in the springtime and leave out in the sun all summer long.

FTS: You are running for Governor in what appears to be three man race with three well known and very different personalities. What made you decide that the time was now to run for Governor instead of continuing on as a representative in Washington?

MM: I love the work I do in Washington. Despite the dysfunction in Congress, I’ve actually been able to accomplish a lot. But, I love the state of Maine even more. When I see what’s happened here the last three years, it’s frustrating and it’s not the “Maine way”. We are watching opportunity pass us by everyday and I know I have the vision, the commitment and the experience to move Maine forward in a positive direction. I’m also the ONLY candidate in the race with a proven track record of bringing Democrats, Republicans and independents together to get things done, which I’ve done both in the State Legislature and in Congress.

FTS: You proposed a plan that would provide free tuition at state colleges/universities to in-state students for their sophomore year. Can you expand upon your thinking with this proposal and discuss how it may be funded considering recent budget cuts to the UMaine System?

MM: As far as the plan goes, I wanted to figure out a way to make college more affordable. I remember reading a study a couple years ago that showed that Maine was second in the country for college debt. That’s unacceptable. We need to make college an affordable option for everyone. The sophomore year plan is a practical and affordable way to reduce the cost of college education by 25% while also driving up graduation rates. When you look at the studies out there, most students drop out after freshman year and cost is the driving force. As far as paying for it, budgets are a reflection of our priorities. I’m going to make education a priority again. For years, the state has been cutting funding for education, be it k-12 education or funding for our colleges and universities. That’s not okay. Education is an investment in our future. Obviously, making the sophomore year free isn’t going to happen over night. The next governor is going to take over a huge mess because of years of fiscal irresponsibility from the LePage administration. I’m realistic about that, but unless we set goals and start working to find solutions to our problems, we’re never going to move forward.

FTS: We always like to finish our interviews by asking, when the time is appropriate, what beverage do you use to fill your stein? 

MM: Usually it’s Miller Lite, but these days I’m on the go so much with Congress and the campaign that I find myself drinking a lot more coffee.
Many thanks to Congressman Michaud for taking the time to speak with us and additional thanks to Lizzy Reinholt for helping setup the interview.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

About "Fill The Steins": A multimedia platform devoted to providing an informative, entertaining forum that celebrates "the college of our hearts always" and its graduates' contributions to academics, athletics, and popular culture, as created by alumni and students, for alumni and students. FTS is not affiliated with the University of Maine or UMaine System and does not represent the views or opinions of the university in any way, shape, or form.
Copyright © Fill The Steins

This blog has been archived

This blog has been archived and is no longer being updated.