Entries Filed in 'State Representatives'

Research and Development funds needed for Maine’s innovation economy

September 8th, 2013 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Editorials, Issue 38, State Representatives

By Rep. Seth Berry

Maine must seize every opportunity to invest in our prosperity. At this time, we’re far behind in the vital area of research and development, which we need to grow innovative businesses that create the jobs of tomorrow.Democratic and Republican lawmakers need to come together for the long-term health of our economy. And we need Governor Paul LePage to join the effort.

Maine is 45th in the nation in research and development investment. We put only about 1 percent of our gross domestic product into R&D, rather than the 3 percent recommended by the Maine Economic Growth Council.We’re way behind other parts of the country. We invest at only half the level of the nation as a whole and not even at one-quarter of New England’s rate.

Yet we know that every dollar of state R&D investment returns $12 in economic benefits to Maine.

R&D is good for business, but so far the governor has rejected it. Last year, he vetoed an R&D bond passed by a Republican Legislature. This year, he prevented a similar bond from being included on this November’s ballot.

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Vitelli beats former lawmaker in special Maine state senate election

August 29th, 2013 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, State Representatives

Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic defeated former state senator Paula Benoit in the special election for Senate District 19, which includes Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden in Lincoln County.

Preliminary results show Vitelli is leading with 4,621 votes to Benoit’s 4,335 votes with all towns reporting.

“I am humbled and thrilled by tonight’s win. I am thankful to the folks in our community who took the time to turn out and vote and to the dedicated team of volunteers who tirelessly worked to get our message out,” said Eloise Vitelli. “I look forward to beginning my service in the State Senate, where I will be committed to helping workers and businesses by creating a level playing field for all Maine people to have good jobs and succeed.”

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Workers at Bath Iron Works endorse Eloise Vitelli for State Senate

August 22nd, 2013 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, State Representatives

The members of the largest union at Bath Iron Works have endorsed Eloise Vitelli for State Senate in the upcoming special election in Senate District 19.

The IAMAW Local S-6 represents shipbuilders and maintenance workers in 28 different trades at BIW.

“Our members work hard every day to provide for their families and the security of our country. They both deserve and demand leaders in Augusta who are committed to protecting and strengthening the rights of workers and improving Maine’s economy. Eloise Vitelli will do just that,” said Dan Dowling, President of Machinists Local S6 and an electrician at Bath Iron Works.

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Strategic bond investments key to economic growth

August 10th, 2013 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, Editorials, State Representatives

Democratic state lawmakers set out this session to strengthen Maine’s economy and grow the middle class. Strategic investments in critical areas are vital to our success. Bonds in key areas like research and development and transportation infrastructure can boost our economy and create jobs.

Legislators will return to the State House next month to address a comprehensive bonding plan. Democrats are ready to work with our Republican colleagues to send Maine voters a thoughtful and strategic plan – one that will jump start our economy, put Mainers back to work and lay the foundation for our future prosperity.

I’m a retired certified pipe welder and was active in my union at the mill. Some of the proudest moments of my career took place when we were fighting for the livelihoods of our members and the success of our company and the surrounding communities. So it’s really painful to see that 48,000 Mainers remain unemployed today, and that some parts of our state our grappling with unemployment rates of nearly 10 percent.

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Gov. LePage makes business unwelcome- rejects huge wind power opportunity

July 5th, 2013 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Editorials, State Representatives

In the past week, Maine has been front and center in the editorial pages of the Boston Globe, Washington Post, and national TV news. Unfortunately, not touting the good things about Maine, our resources, our businesses, or our people. Instead, we are making headlines because of our governor’s outbursts and vulgar sexual remarks. It’s been said before, his behavior is not fitting in a school yard and certainly isn’t fitting of our state’s highest leader.

Maine has a long history of political firsts…a history of having leaders who are world-renowned and respected, from Margaret Chase Smith to George Mitchell, Bill Cohen, Ed Muskie, and Olympia Snowe just to name a few. These are leaders who not only got things done for Maine, for us, they thrust Maine in to the national and sometimes international spot light for being home to some of the best and brightest, most diplomatic and practical lawmakers in history.

Sadly, we are making a different kind of history these days. We have a governor who not only makes headlines for his temper tantrums but also for turning away opportunity for this state. Economic opportunity. Business opportunity.

Governor LePage is known for saying, “capital goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s appreciated.”

I agree.
 
And so, why then, is there another round of headlines talking about a $200 million dollar business slipping away?

More than a year ago, StatOil, a Norwegian energy innovator, chose Maine as its foothold for a first of its kind off-shore energy project. A project that would employ thousands of people over time and have an economic spin off to other local industries and businesses like BIW, Reed & Reed, and Cianbro, just to name a few. But better yet, it is a unique opportunity to be the home to a significant new cutting-edge industry. The University of Maine said attracting StatOil to Maine is like attracting the next Apple, GM or Google to Maine. The opportunity to play host for world-wide innovator is rare.
 
But, unfortunately, this week, StatOil has put its plans on hold and is re-evaluating its interest in doing business in Maine. Why? Because the governor, in a last-minute political maneuver, pulled the welcome mat out from underneath StatOil. He changed the rules of the game and withdrew the predictability that comes with inking a deal. In a single act, the governor has signaled to a world innovator that is interested in investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Maine, that they are not wanted here in Maine.
 
“Capital goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s appreciated.”

 Everyone talks about attracting businesses to Maine. A billion dollar industry has come to us and we cannot let them get away. We cannot miss this opportunity.

The governor of the state is not only the state’s chief executive but he—or she—is our state’s marketer in chief. Our chief, our governor ranks third from the bottom in job creation. That’s another headline we don’t need.

As President of the Senate, I along with my colleagues in the Legislature have worked hard to change the tone in Augusta. We understand that the people of Maine care less about political rhetoric and more about results. There are a lot of positive things going on in our state. I want us to share and celebrate in those successes, not be shamed by the negative.

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Rep. Seth Berry won’t run for State Senate now – supports Vitelli instead

July 2nd, 2013 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, State Representatives

Majority Leader Rep. Seth Berry proposed a bill for tax fairness in Maine this session that would mirror the Buffet Rule but the Republicans voted against the measure. photo by Ramona du Houx

Rep. Seth Berry announced that he would complete his full term as Maine House Majority Leader, rather than running for State Senate District 19, a seat being vacated by Senator Seth Goodall.  While not ruling out a future run for Senate, Berry said he preferred at this time to focus on his family and his work as Vice President of Kennebec River Biosciences, and to complete his term as House Majority Leader and Chair of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, which extends through December of 2014.

Berry also expressed his strong support for Eloise Vitelli, who has declared her candidacy for the open Senate seat.  

“Eloise has focused her career on helping others to build their businesses.  That is why just this past session, she was one of the experts invited to testify before the committee I co-chair, helping us build a unanimous and bipartisan plan to boost the skills of Maine workers.  Eloise has also served as a member of the Maine Economic Growth Council.  As State Senator, she will be in a position to continue her focus on building and strengthening Maine’s economy,” said Berry.

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LePage vetoes continue to undermine work of Legislature

June 21st, 2013 · No Comments · Capitol news, Civil Rights, Community Maine, State Representatives

Gov. Paul LePage continued to undermine the work of the Maine Legislature on Friday with 10 vetoes, including two bills that received the unanimous support of their bipartisan committees of jurisdiction. One, LD 1023, An Act to Provide Transparency in Fund-raising by and Lobbying of a Governor-elect, is an agency bill submitted on behalf of the Ethics Commission.

“We call on our Republican colleagues to say no to this obstructionist behavior and stand up for the good work of this Legislature, which includes bills that received unanimous bipartisan support in committee. It’s time the governor joins lawmakers in finding common ground,” said House Majority Leader Seth Berry.

Six of the 10 bills vetoed Friday were sponsored by House Democrats.

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State Senator Seth Goodall to take over New England SBA office

June 4th, 2013 · No Comments · Business & Innovation, Capitol news, Community Maine, News from Washington, State Representatives

Governor John Baldacci with State Senator Seth Goodall, in the green tie, at the New Zealand embassy during inaugural celebrations. photo by Ramona du Houx

Seth Goodall of Richmond today was appointed as Regional Administrator for the Small Business Administration, which includes Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

“As an attorney and public servant, Seth has worked with small businesses in the New England region throughout his career,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills in a statement . “I am pleased that, as Region I Administrator, he will be able to draw on his experiences as a small-business owner, as well as his expertise garnered from extensive experience in the public and private sectors, to help entrepreneurs across the region start, grow and succeed.”

Goodall is an attorney and State Senator who previously co-owned a landscaping company that he helped grow into a multi-million dollar business that now employees 15 year-round and 30 seasonal employees. Goodall has been a State Senator since 2008 and worked on laws that protect the environment, as well as growing small businesses. Goodall was also instrumental in Governor John Baldacci’s reelection campaign.

This legislative session Goodall has focused on economic development and small-business issues. He is currently co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future and is a member of the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform.

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Alfond: LePage is single-handedly blocking progress on Maine’s most important issues

May 25th, 2013 · No Comments · Budgets, Capitol news, Economy, Editorials, State Representatives

Sen. President Justin Alfond discusses the benefits of accepting Affordable Heath Care funds in Maine. photo by Morgan Rogers

There’s an old proverb that says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It means that, to help a child reach his or her potential, many people must share their wisdom and influence. Starting with a child’s parents, to her teachers, to the neighbor down the street. Each person has a different perspective and each perspective is important in shaping a child’s view of the world.

Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to move Maine forward. But, unfortunately, these days, it seems that one man – the Governor – is single-handedly blocking progress on Maine’s most important issues.

On jobs and the economy, energy, education, and health care, the Governor has been the most divisive leader Maine has seen. He has blocked common-sense policies that will help grow our economy and create jobs—even when these policies are supported by Republicans, Democrats, and Independents in the legislature. He has distracted us from the real issues we face—often, manufacturing disruption and crisis—one after the other.  He seems intent on taking Maine on a race to the bottom and moving Maine backward.

Let’s look at the Governor’s record:

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Lawmakers take action to help Lewiston fire victims despite LePage’s refusal to use contingency funds

May 9th, 2013 · No Comments · Capitol news, Community Maine, Public Safety, State Representatives

“This is an enormous tragedy. There are more than 200 people who lost their home. Their belongings were destroyed—and their security shattered. Their lives are in limbo without the basic things we all take for granted each and every day,” said Senate President Justin Alfond. “If the Governor feels he is unable to take action right now, the legislature will. There is an immediate need to help the people of our state.”

Lewiston lawmakers expressed thanks for swift, decisive action by the Legislature that provides fire victims in their city will desperately needed emergency assistance.

The Legislative Council approved a funding request for $30,000 for housing vouchers to help Lewiston residents who were left homeless by three recent fires, the amount requested by Lewiston officials. Legislative leaders unanimously approved the request during an emergency meeting of the Legislative Council, the governing body of the Legislature made up of the 10 Democratic and Republican leaders. The request was made by Lewiston’s entire legislative delegation.

“The people of Lewiston are grateful for the swift action the Legislature took in the absence of the governor’s using his authority and contingency funds to address the crisis our community is facing,” said Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston. “The Lewiston delegation is grateful to the Legislature for supporting our community when we needed it most.”

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