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Governors from across the country arrive in Maine for annual summer meeting

The nation's governors are meeting in Portland to try and find bipartisan solutions to leading policy issues.

PORTLAND, Maine — We talk a lot about what's going on in Washington, but many important decisions that affect our daily lives are made at the state level. State governors make many of those decisions.

Wednesday through Friday, governors from across America will be right here in Maine as the National Governors Association summer meeting comes to Portland.

The event will be happening in Maine for the first time in almost 40 years.

The summer meeting will prompt multiple road closures in the city. On Wednesday afternoon, a portion of Commercial Street will be closed to traffic from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. from Franklin to Pearl Street. 

"We're here to really give these folks a beautiful venue with some great food on the waterfront," Chris O'Neil, co-owner of Boone's, said. 

According to O'Neil, his restaurant will be one of the venues hosting the governors for dinner Wednesday.

"Boone's was famous in the 30s and 40s for hosting folks like Clark Gable and Betty Grable and Humphrey Bogart. It's been a long history of folks coming to Boone's and we love the tradition here since 1898," O'Neil said. 

The meeting is expected to be about much more than just dining in Maine, however.

"That is invaluable, that kind of networking and talking among ourselves and with experts in the different fields," Maine Gov. Janet Mills said.

Some topics on the public agenda for discussion include computer science education, the return of travel and tourism, infrastructure, and mental health.

"There may well be some informal discussions about a lot of those matters because those things are on people's minds. Not necessarily part of the official schedule or calendar, but there are all kinds of discussions about all kinds of issues that will be entertained. I think every member of this group is committed to an honest and civil discussion of issues, challenges, and concerns that we have in common," Mills added.

Many of these governors are at the center of controversial issues like abortion rights and immigration, which are getting a lot of attention around the country.

"This is probably one of the biggest lifts that we've done for the state police as far as the security detail," Maine State Police Maj. Scott Gosselin said.

Gosselin said they would be providing strong security support to these leaders. His team has been planning for the event for many months now. The Portland Police Department and other southern Maine police departments will also be on hand for security reasons.

"The enforcement coverage that we have and the enforcement presence that we have in the area is well founded," Gosselin said. "I think that given everything that has happened during the last couple of years ... absolutely, that's critical here."

NEWS CENTER Maine could not confirm with the National Governors Association the exact number of governors coming to Maine for the next three days. 

And, it's not just political leaders who will be in the spotlight at this event. Country music icon Dolly Parton will make a virtual appearance to talk to governors about early childhood development and child literacy. The plan is for Parton to sing a few songs afterward.

There will be multiple temporary street closures in Portland from Wednesday through Friday. 

Wednesday, July 13: 

  • Commercial Street between Pearl Street and Franklin Street will be closed to vehicles from approximately 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Fore/Hancock, India/Thames, and Fore/Freedom Way will be closed to vehicles from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Thursday, July 14 - Friday, July 15:

  • Spring Street will be closed to through traffic from approximately 5 a.m. Thursday to 3 p.m. on Friday.
  • Oak Street between Free Street and Spring Street will be closed during the same time frame.
  • The Spring Street parking garage will be accessible from the Center Street side, and Holiday Inn by the Bay employees and guests will be allowed access.

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