What is Kevin Scott’s vision of Maine in 2020?

“One hundred percent employment, no taxes on anything, free food, no more mercury in freshwater fish,” said Scott, 42, deadpan. Scott is one of three independent candidates for governor.

Jokes aside, Scott, an energetic, Oxford County-native who has spent the past 12 years running an employment firm, is bursting with ideas, often prefaced by Letterman-style quips, about how to solve the state’s most pressing problems.

Scott’s actual vision for Maine is to have 40 to 50 independent legislators in the Statehouse and Senate 10 years from now, he said. These hypothetical legislators would not constitute a third party, Scott said, but an amorphous challenge to the rigid orthodoxies of two-party leadership.

“You disrupt the leadership, you disrupt the power of the national parties and the grip of failed practices they’ve had on our country and state,” he said.

Scott, who characterizes himself as “fiscally conservative,” “socially accepting,” and “the only true conservative in the race,” presents his plan for a casino bill as an example of his style of business-savvy, “Maine-based” leadership. Bring gambling into the state, he said, but require a minimum buy-in of $75,000 at each table, and direct all the revenue to education.

“I want to be Monaco,” Scott said. “I don’t want to be slots. We can brand and bring a lot of resources into our state, create a very exclusive club, put it somewhere, and have people jet-setting from all over the world, spending hundreds of millions of dollars a weekend in Maine on gambling, and it’s unattainable for people with low incomes.”

The casino idea points to the type of thinking Scott would bring to the Blaine House, he said.

“What’s compromise look like?’‘I don’t want casinos,’ ‘I do want casinos.’ ‘Well, it’s low-end, it’s going to have welfare recipients and low-income workers.’ ‘Well, you know, we need it for our schools,'” Scott said, envisioning a hypothetical back-and-forth. “Well, how about we just make it high-end, and put the money into schools?”

Scott grew up in the small, inland, mill town of Mexico, where he graduated from high school as one of 40 students in the Mexico High School senior class. Eight years after graduating from George Mason University with a degree in government and politics, Scott founded Recruiting Resources International, an employment firm that places engineers with high-tech organizations such as Raytheon, Northrupp Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and NASA.

These days, Scott lives in the Oxford County town of Andover, where his wife, Susan Merrow, serves as a town selectman. Scott, himself, is also involved with the Andover Water District.

Scott’s business relationships with influential, high-tech companies give him a realistic sense of what it takes to revive Maine’s economy, control state health care costs and trim the budget, he said.

To cut down on budgetary costs stemming from the state government workforce, Scott recommends a voluntary 32-hour workweek for state employees who wish to spend more time at home, or on an alternative form of income.

“If you don’t want to take the cut, don’t take it,” he said. “The people I was referring to were the people that have a spouse, that have a successful career, and they’ve been in the state workforce for 15, 12, 18 years. If you have young children at home, if you have a hobby, or an eBay…or an elderly parent.”

For rising health-care costs, Scott said, institute a $3 to $10 co-pay — scaled by patients’ ability to pay — for state-funded medical visits, in order to cut down on unnecessary trips to the doctor.

And to revitalize the state economy, create a program where public schools serve locally-produced cafeteria food, Scott said.

“The farm economy and our health care and our children’s health in creating and generating local food sources, I understand that,” he said. “I’m the only one promoting that. That’s hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars. Take all of the dollars that are being spent on cafeteria foods in the public schools and put that into your local economy and take it out of the out-of-state economy.”

Scott bristles at media coverage that he says characterizes him as an unelectable, know-nothing candidate. He points to stories that have focused on his willingness to admit that he hasn’t read all 2,800 pages of the federal health-care bill, a September Critical Insights poll that measured his support at 1 percent and his record of 35 driving violations, which were recently unearthed by the Lewiston Sun Journal.

“I’ll tell you, the Sun Journal did me a favor with that story on my driving record,” he said. “I went into a pizza joint, and I talked to the lady there, and I had met her a week or two ago. She says, ‘You know, if they went back 26 years on me, mine’s worse than yours, give me a couple lawn signs.'”

Scott also noted that he received 2 percent in a late September GQR poll, in which he wasn’t listed. The latest Critical Insights poll, from Sept. 27, also found that 26 percent of voters were undecided.

The coverage, he said, points to a greater problem in the current political atmosphere.

“I don’t know how we got to the place where we are, where a regular guy, somebody who has some ability, is running for governor and instantly is labeled as not qualified and doesn’t have any answers,” Scott said. “It’s wrong, it’s gross, it’s disgusting, and it’s inaccurate. And it’s why we are where we are.”