In the 2010 race for governor, Independent candidate Eliot Cutler went from a political unknown to within little more than a percentage point of winning the governor's seat.

Cutler is a graduate of Harvard College and the law school of Georgetown University. He has been married for 40 years to Melanie Stewart Cutler, M.D. They live in Cape Elizabeth and have two adult children.

As a public servant, Cutler helped craft America’s foundational environmental laws and managed the policies and budgets of federal energy, natural resources, science and environmental agencies.

As a strategist and lawyer for governments, business corporations and citizens groups, Cutler helped clients grapple with worldwide legal and public policy problems during a career in three law firms and two countries that spanned more than 35 years.

As an active entrepreneur, businessman and investor, Cutler has helped start and manage successful businesses, served on the boards of directors of private and public companies and advised and managed private and public philanthropic organizations.

Jobs and the economy

From the book that he released at the start of this campaign — A State of Opportunity — Cutler has stressed that prosperity will not be an accident — that Maine needs a plan to do it.

According to his website, Cutler supports policies that will increase training and education opportunities for workers so they will have skills useful in today's economy. Likewise Cutler supports investing in infrastructure, such as roads and telecommunications, according to his website.

Education Challenge Fund

Cutler says he will begin investing again in Maine’s educational excellence and economic competitiveness by ensuring that every child receives a first-rate education, sees an open pathway to higher education, and finds an opportunity for career training and a good-paying job.

To do that Cutler is proposing an Education Challenge Fund that will focus on improving educational performance of all students and increase public confidence in education by directing up to $65 million in competitive grants in areas that have shown the highest returns on investment.

Health care

According to Cutler, reforming the way we manage healthcare challenges can save money and improve our quality of life. He says Maine needs to apply its traditional concepts of value and innovation to our healthcare system.

Rather than fighting the Affordable Care Act, Maine should be actively managing its implementation in a way that works best for Maine, according to his website. Cutler says providing access to essential health care for every Maine citizen and rewarding healthy behaviors will make Maine more competitive as a place to live and work.