MAINE, USA — First lady Jill Biden is scheduled to visit Maine on Wednesday as part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America Tour.
The tour is intended to highlight how President Joe Biden’s economic policies are benefiting hardworking Americans across the country, the White House said in a news release Friday.
The first lady is traveling to Maine and Vermont on Wednesday after stops in Colorado and Michigan on Monday. She's expected to arrive at Portland International Jetport at 11 a.m. and then visit Southern Maine Community College in South Portland at 11:30 a.m. She'll be joined by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and Rep. Chellie Pingree, according to the White House.
Gov. Janet Mills was due to accompany Biden during her visit to SMCC but tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.
“While I am unable to join our visiting dignitaries in person, I am excited to welcome the First Lady and Secretary Cardona to Maine," Mills said in a release Wednesday. "My Administration’s free Community College initiative and other crucial investments from the Biden-Harris Administration are providing important new opportunities for Maine people to get a high-quality education at little or no cost that allows them to take good-paying jobs in rewarding careers – a win for our students, for our employers, and for our economy."
In 2022, Mills proposed, and the Legislature passed, Maine’s free community college initiative to help students whose aspirations for higher education were disrupted by the pandemic. A total of $20 million has been allocated to the Maine Community College System to provide free tuition to students who meet certain qualifications, which include having a high school diploma or equivalent from 2020-2023, enrolling full-time in an associate degree program or one-year credential, living in Maine while enrolled as a student, and accepting all federal and state grants, scholarships, and other funding sources.
The White House said the first lady would highlight the importance of career-connected learning and workforce training programs and the importance of investing in these programs. A spokesperson for Mills said high-demand fields like precision manufacturing, clean energy, and health care would be a focus.
The last time Biden was in Maine was Fourth of July weekend in 2021, celebrating the country's progress against COVID-19 as part of the Biden administration's "America's Back Together" tour. During that visit, she said Maine had become a very special place for her.
"I'm so glad to be back in Maine," Biden said. "You know, I was here last October, I went to Blue Hill. I have to tell you, I mean, really I've been to every state in this country and some are just more special than others and you know, Maine is just one of those states."
"Maine will always hold a special place in my heart," she added.
During that visit, Maine Pingree also gifted Biden a one-of-a-kind bag from Sea Bags of Maine.