Congressman Mike Michaud: His passion to help people and his economic policies

July 25th, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine, Creative Economy, Economy, Exclusive Interviews, Issue 41

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine's first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Mike Michaud helped secure funds for UMaine’s first in the Americas floating wind turbine project, VoltunUS. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Back in 2005 the Federal Government’s Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Commission announced that there would be closures of military bases across the country. Maine was targeted at three major facilities: Kittery-Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Brunswick Naval Air Station (BNAS) and Defense Finance and Accounting Services Center (DFAS) in Limestone.

The State’s Congressional Delegation swung into action along with Gov. John Baldacci, and the communities effected. Press conferences and meetings were held at each threatened facility, sometimes one a day at each location, and Congressman Mike Michaud was at the majority of them, from promoting the attributes of workers in Limestone to rallying shipyard employees in Portsmouth. He fought for the workers and their communities in Portsmouth and BNAS in Maine and D.C., even though those bases were not in his congressional district.

After ten years of reporting on the Congressman’s activities, I’ve learned that there is nothing more important to him that making sure the people of Maine are treated fairly and have good paying jobs with healthcare benefits.

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Congressman Mike Michaud gives a shipyard union leader a congratulatory hug for helping to Save the Shipyard from BRAC closure in 2003. Photo by Ramona du Houx

Recently we talked about his economic development plans for Maine.

Q: What is your highest priority?


My biggest priority is building a Maine economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthiest among us. That starts with job creation, but it also means an intense focus on education, starting with early childhood, and continuing through college; it means a higher minimum wage and expanded access to health care for nearly 70,000 Mainers, and 3,000 veterans; and it means empowering business to grow and expand.

Under Gov. LePage and his failed policies, Maine has lagged behind the rest of New England in private-sector job growth. His “open for business” policy is nothing but rhetoric. He’s actually driven hundreds of millions of dollars of private-sector investment out of the state.

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Maine Governor’s race neck and neck

October 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Capitol news

Public Policy Polling’s newest Maine survey finds that after three televised debates, the race for governor is still a very tight contest between incumbent Paul LePage and Democrat Mike Michaud. LePage and Michaud each have 40 percent, with Eliot Cutler trailing at 17 percent.

The biggest factor in this race remaining so close is that Cutler, consistently in a distant third place, is continuing to siphon off enough of the anti-LePage vote to keep the contest in toss-up range.

Trailing by 23 points with only 11 days to go until the election, there is virtually no way Cutler can overtake LePage and Michaud. But by splitting the anti-LePage vote, the support Cutler is pulling from Michaud could be just enough to re-elect LePage in this razor-thin contest.

Other key findings from the survey include:

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Out-of-State Tea Party donors give $50,000 to Cutler PAC in Maine

October 24th, 2014 · Filed under: Capitol news

The Campaign for Maine, the political action committee supporting Eliot Cutler, received $50,000 in contributions from major, out-of-state Republican donors in its most recent campaign finance report. The donors, James and Marilyn Hebenstreit of Kansas, also contributed the maximum amount to Eliot Cutler’s campaign in September.

The report, filed on Oct. 23 and covering the period of Oct. 1-21, shows that nearly 60 percent of Cutler PAC’s new fundraising come from these two donors. The Hebenstreits are long-time donors to Tea Party Republicans across the country, contributing more than $536,000 to the GOP’s most conservative politicians and special interest groups. This includes $50,000 to the Republican Governors Association (RGA) with their most recent donation of $25,000 in June, $96,000 to the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) and $65,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

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Book reviews: Endless warnings, endless wars

October 23rd, 2014 · Filed under: Books

All reviews by J.Ford Huffman for Military Times

Fall in place, readers, for autumn in new work – with topics that range from COIN to comic books, college football to canines, and commanding, casualties and Section 60. Themes range from strategy to no strategy, and from loss to hope. Here’s a guide:

“Comics and Conflict: Patriotism and Propaganda From WWII through Operation Iraqi Freedom” by Cord A. Scott, 224 pages, Naval Institute Press, $49.95

With themes of “realism, politics and aesthetics,” comic books “both mirrored and manufactured popular attitudes to war,” says the scholar and fan.
Comics also “directly reflect their audience’s fantasies, nightmares, and delusions.” For example, writers worry “that children might expect Superman (1938), with his incredible powers, to resolve {World War II} by himself” so they keep him out of the military. Instead Clark Kent shows how civilians “play important parts in the war effort.”
Satire also has a part, and “the concept of patriotic superheroes pursuing political and military goals came to an apex in 1987 with ‘Reagan’s Raiders’.” That cover is one of only eight illustrations, a low number that is kryptonite in a survey of art.

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$50,000 Grant for Summer and Afterschool Meal Programs for Portland, ME

October 23rd, 2014 · Filed under: Community Maine

Portland City Hall, photo by Ramona du Hxou

Portland City Hall, photo by Ramona du Hxou

Portland, Maine recently received a $50,000 grant from The National League of Cities to create programs providing children with after school and summer meals.

The $50,000 grant will support ongoing efforts to expand summer meal programs across the City and to break new ground by establishing programs that provide nutritious meals for kids afterschool as well.

“With over 50 percent of our students eligible for free or reduced lunch, it’s clear we need to do whatever we can to ensure every kid has access to a nutritious meal even when they’re not in school. This funding will significantly expand the impact of what has already been a successful collaboration over the past few years among our deeply committed partners. We’re grateful that we’ve been selected,” said Mayor Michael Brennan.

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Sen. Collins calls her own position on minimum wage, “not a livable wage,” in MPBN debate

October 22nd, 2014 · Filed under: Uncategorized

Shenna Bellows clearly won tonight’s MPBN/Bangor Chamber of Commerce debate with clear, popular positions on a meaningful minimum wage increase, decreased Pentagon spending, less militarization of foreign policy, overdue campaign finance reform, and universal health care for every American. Susan Collins called her own preferred $9.00-per-hour minimum wage “not a living wage” and failed to explain how her cosponsorship of Ted Cruz’s “Obamacare Repeal Act” represented a serious attempt to reform the health care system.

Bellows laid out a clear vision of new job creation investments, an end to extremely expensive wars overseas, a higher minimum wage for working Americans, and increased Social Security benefits paid for by tax reforms that ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. She offered confident answers throughout the evening and told Collins directly, “You cannot claim that this Congress and your leadership have been fiscally responsible.” Collins voted for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Educational forum on domestic violence in Bangor

October 20th, 2014 · Filed under: Public Safety

There will be an educational forum on domestic violence in Bangor for Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Stehle for Sheriff and partners, Spruce Run and the Innovative Business Network (IBN) will be presenting an educational forum on domestic violence at Beal College. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, October 28 from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.

There will be speakers from the Bangor Police Department, Spruce Run, Columbia Psychology Associates and Allen Stehle. After the speakers, there will be a question and answer period. If the discussion goes past 7:00 pm, feel free to stay longer as I will not leave any question unanswered.

Stehle will be on WVOM radio Monday morning at 8:00 am with Ric Tyler promoting the event.

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Speaker Eves held forum on aging proposals in Brewer, Maine

October 20th, 2014 · Filed under: Uncategorized

wMG_6873 Maine’s House Speaker Mark Eves.

A statewide plan to help older adults age in their homes and communities got strong backing from local area seniors and community leaders during a forum at Brewer Medical Center, this fall.

More than area fifty seniors, community leaders, and aging experts attended the forum with Maine House Speaker Mark Eves, who sought input on his package of bills to redirect state resources to help seniors live independently longer.

“Brewer and Bangor are on the leading edge of our state’s rapidly aging population,” said Eves of North Berwick. ‘We heard great feedback from local leaders and seniors about what’s working here. No matter where you go in the state, seniors are concerned about rising property taxes, access to affordable housing, high heating costs and direct care services. We know these challenges are real barriers for seniors who want to live independently in their communities where they raised a generation.”

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Maine’s recent school funding cuts among the worst nationwide

October 20th, 2014 · Filed under: Budgets, Education

Maine cuts to school funding since the start of the recession are among the highest in the nation, and the deepest in New England, according to a new study released today.

The report by the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Most States Still Funding Schools Less than before the Recession, found that Maine has cut investment in K-12 schools by 13.3 percent since 2008, a deeper cut than 38 other states. During the Recession Maine was forced to make the cuts but while other states have recovered and are back to funding education Maine continues to make cuts. Gov. LePage’s revenue sharing cuts to towns have made cities across the state slash education funding further.

“The school department budget has literally been frozen, after you factor inflation for the last 5 years. That is not sustainable if we are going to be able to continue to provide the almost 4,000 Bangor students with a high quality education to prepare them for the jobs and the technologies of the future,” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

Among New England states, Maine has cut per capita student spending by $736 since 2008, while Vermont per student spending is $7 below pre-recession levels and the other four states have all increased spending.

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The New C&L Aerospace Paint Hangar opening in Bangor

October 17th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation

Congressman Michaud attended the opening of the new  C&L Aerospace hangar, which federal funding he secured helped make possible. courtesy photo

Congressman Michaud attended the opening of the new C&L Aerospace hangar, which federal funding he secured helped make possible. courtesy photo

A long-dissed, 17,000-square-foot former Dow Air Force Base hangar was renovated by C&L Aerospace to paint aircraft, and an opening celebration took place October 16th.

Chris Kilgour, CEO of C&L Aerospace, moved his company and family Brisbane, Australia, to Bangor three years ago having been received warmly by the people of Maine. The quality of life, location, and Pine Tree Zone tax incentives- started by the Baldacci administration- were incentive enough him to relocate. Add Bangor’s embrace and the deal was made. At the beginning C&L employed 20 workers. Now he employs about 130 people, and is looking for 20 more. Another expansion at Bangor International Airport is also part of his future plans.

“These successes are all the product of teamwork and cooperation. Every step of the way Bangor put out the welcome matt for C&L. The company’s expansion is a testament to the great work force of our city.” said Bangor City Councilor Joe Baldacci.

The new hangar received more than $575,000 in funding from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). Congressman Mike Michaud wrote to the EDA in 2012 advocating for the investment, and last year hosted a visit from Matt Erskine, EDA’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Commerce for Economic Development. Erskine’s visit included a tour of C&L Aerospace.

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Largest solar complex in Brunswick, Maine, compleated

October 17th, 2014 · Filed under: Business & Innovation

Maine’s largest solar power complex has been completed and stands at the former Naval Air Station.

The system will produce 1.2 megawatts of power, or about 8 percent of the needs of Bowdoin College. The ground mounted system is comprised of more than 4,000 solar panels at four locations.Under a win-win arrangement, SolarCity financed and built the system and will own and maintain the solar installations, while Bowdoin will purchase all generated power.

The system “reduces Bowdoin’s dependence on fossil fuels and makes sense for the college economically,”said Bowdoin College President Barry Mills.

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