We must grow Maine's economy on industries that will provide quality jobs for decades to come.
Over the last 50 years Maine's fishing industry has downsized and we have lost most of the paper mills, furniture factories, shoe companies, seafood canneries, and other industries once a vital part of the state's identity and economy. How do we replace them and the jobs they provided? With new industries suited to Maine's character, resources, and values.
New Quality Jobs - We must seize the potential of the 21st century. Because this age of rapid innovation and global competition also offers unprecedented opportunity. Many of the jobs of the next decade have not been invented yet. Things that did not exist when I went to high school are now an everyday part of our lives. My daughters Amanda and Danielle cannot remember a time before personal computers, CDs, and the Internet. My grandson Calum, was born exactly 110 years after my grandfather Everett, who started his car with a crank and navigated with a sextant. Calum will not remember a world before alternative energy, hybrid cars, smart-phones, Facebook and Hulu. We pass to our children and grandchildren a rapidly changing world, part of the reality of modern times. I want to ensure that Maine can seize new opportunities to grow its economy and improve our quality of life by building on the changes in ways consistent with Maine values.
A New Energy Industry - Just as information technology has become an important sector of the economy today, businesses based on clean renewable energy and energy conservation are an important growth area in our economy. Energy is essential to our way of life and to industry, so building an energy economy in Maine will bring economic growth, and help maintain quality of life.
Innovative Industries - I will also work to attract and create innovative businesses and industries in Maine that provide value on the local, national and international level; businesses and industries that create new jobs and new opportunities that embrace Maine's unique character, our natural resources, our strong work ethic, and the lifestyles that are so important to all of us. The advanced composites industry, the wood pellet industry, and businesses which reinvent themselves to keep up with the times such as The Jackson Laboratory are examples of new and innovative industries in Maine. When we fund research to build expertise within our university system, it leads to growing businesses built on that expertise right here in Maine
Capable Workforce and Modernizing Infrastructure - At a recent lecture at UNE, economist Richard Sims stated that when companies decide to relocate, 77% of them decide where to move based on whether the area can provide the capable workforce and infrastructure on which to build and grow a successful business. Only 4% of them decide where to move based on tax rates. The message is clear -- if we are to improve our economy, we need to invest in modernizing our infrastructure and we need to provide a high quality education for all our citizens. Workers in Maine have a strong work ethic. But our aging roads, bridges, and rail systems, our woefully inadequate communication infrastructure, and the out of date priorities set for our educational system are making it difficult for Maine to compete.