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Maine leaders, politicians react to Mills’ economic recovery plan

How Maine state, business, and community leaders, as well as politicians, are reacting to Gov. Mills’ $1.13 billion economic recovery plan
Credit: AP
FILE - Maine Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a news conference, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Augusta, Maine. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, file)

AUGUSTA, Maine — On Tuesday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills unveiled an economic recovery plan, which her administration says would invest more than $1 billion in federal funds allocated to Maine under the American Rescue Plan.

Here’s how Maine state, business, and community leaders, as well as politicians, are reacting to Mills’ plan.

Maine U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st Congressional District 

“I applaud Governor Mills for outlining a transparent and thoughtful plan to grow Maine’s economy well into the future using federal funds from the American Rescue Plan. The American Rescue Plan is one of the most important pieces of legislation I’ve ever voted on because it provided to an immediate shot-in-the-arm to our economy, and created the ability for states like Maine to make significant long-term investments like those outlined by Governor Mills today. When we passed the American Rescue Plan in March, unemployment was high and economists made it clear that we had to go big with this stimulus package. In just a few weeks, we’re beginning to see employment numbers bounce back and retail sales grow. It’s clear that getting 90% of American households a stimulus check and delivering aid to local and state governments getting our economy back on track.”

RELATED: Gov. Mills unveils $1.13 billion economic recovery plan

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson

“The Maine Jobs & Recovery plan balances short-term economic need with an ability to invest in long-term economic growth and good jobs. This is an investment in talent and innovation, which are critical as we move forward in the growth of Maine’s economy.  The State is fortunate to have a roadmap for the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan in the 10 Year Strategic Plan along with the recommendations of the Economic Recovery Committee.”

President and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce Dana Connors

“As Maine continues to work through the pandemic and into full economic recovery, it is fortuitous that Governor Mills had already established a ten-year Economic Development Strategy to grow the state’s economy, coupled with the Economic Recovery Committee’s recommendations to guide our investments. Using these documents as our road map, the Maine State Chamber supports the Governor’s proposal for use of the American Recovery Act funds, because they represent short-term investments that will result in long-term gains to Maine employers and their employees.”

Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare deep inequalities of income, wealth, and power that cut along lines of race, class, gender, and geography. As we forge Maine’s economic recovery we must build back better by growing our economy from the bottom up and the middle out, by addressing these deep inequalities head-on, and by being laser-focused on creating high-quality, union jobs.  We applaud the proposed investments in apprenticeship and worker training, housing, childcare, broadband, fixing our state parks, and rebuilding Maine’s infrastructure.”

Keith Bisson, president of CEI, and Betsy Biemann, CEO of CEI, and member of the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee

“State government has an important role to play ensuring that Maine recovers faster from the pandemic and 2020 economic downturn than it did after the Great Recession, and recovers in a way that engages all Mainers. We are pleased that the Governor’s Maine Jobs and Recovery Plan includes key investments that will help recover and grow Maine’s economy and enable Maine people to thrive. To be successful Maine must invest more in a sustainable food economy, child care and broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas and this package is an important indicator of our state’s values and tremendous opportunities.”

UMaine System Chancellor Dannel Malloy and Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation and University of Maine/University of Maine at Machias President Joan Ferrini-Mundy

“We are grateful to Governor Mills for recognizing the role of our public universities in growing Maine’s post-pandemic economy and defining its place in the world as envisioned by the 10-year state economic development strategy. These American Rescue Plan funds will leverage those awarded to the UMS recently by the Harold Alfond Foundation so we can have an even greater positive impact on Maine and its people, including by strengthening student success and building research, development, and commercialization capacity in key areas of opportunity for the state. The University of Maine System is poised to put this investment from the State’s share of the ARP to work immediately to build new research and development infrastructure that will put more Mainers on pathways to good-paying careers that grow our traditional and emerging economic sectors."

Pete Didisheim, advocacy director at the Natural Resources Council of Maine

“Governor Mills has chosen a path forward that will open up opportunities for Maine people, strengthen our clean energy economy, and help us emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. The investments laid out in the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan will deliver cleaner air and water, reduced energy bills, newly trained employees, and additional jobs for Maine people, especially in our rural communities.

We are particularly excited about the proposed investment in Maine State Parks and in energy efficiency improvements for businesses, municipalities, and homeowners. These are critical, positive investments that will deliver dividends for decades to come.”

Maine Center for Economic Policy Executive Director Garrett Martin

“The American Rescue Plan is a historic investment in people and communities, providing money to households, assistance for basics like childcare and health care, expanded unemployment and billions of dollars of flexible funding to state, schools, local governments, tribes, and businesses.

Maine is responsible for coming up with a plan to get more than $1 billion to work for Mainers. Gov. Mills’ proposal includes several important priorities MECEP supports, including funding for pre-K and higher education, infrastructure such as broadband and clean water, childcare, housing, and investment in systems designed to improve racial equity.

Our top priority in using federal ARP funds must be to target relief to those most in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic downturn, who in many cases are the same Mainers who faced steep barriers to opportunity and prosperity long before the current crisis.

We look forward to learning more details about this plan and the governor’s upcoming supplemental budget proposal, which provides another opportunity to make forward-looking investments to build a more equitable economy. MECEP is ready to work with the administration and lawmakers as the proposal makes its way through the legislative process.”

Read more statements here, provided by the Governor's Office:

This story will be updated as more statements are released.

Watch the press conference where Mills unveiled the plan here: