Getting Mainers back to work, creating new jobs, and maintaining a competitive workforce are some of the greatest challenges facing our state. The key to American economic success has always been – and continues to be – our never-ending innovative spirit. For generations, small businesses and local industries have served as the lifeblood of Maine’s economy, and I am committed to making sure we are ready to confront the challenges and embrace the opportunities of the twenty-first century by promoting innovation in Maine’s traditional industries, like forestry, farming, and fishing; advancing initiatives that make it easier for Maine people to rejoin or remain in the workforce; and supporting efforts to allow workers to acquire the skills and training they need to succeed in the changing economy.
- When it was clear that the Small Business Administration’s HUBZone program was failing to create jobs on former military bases – including at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station – I pushed for improvements to the HUBZone program to ensure that former military bases can attract successful redevelopment efforts.
- In a major victory for the hardworking Maine people employed at New Balance factories in the state, I worked with the rest of the Maine delegation to require the Department of Defense to issue U.S.-made athletic shoes for recruits.
- To create jobs and strengthen Maine’s forest economy, I helped spearhead the creation of a public-private partnership to grow and diversify Maine’s forest industry. The resulting effort – an interagency Economic Development Assistance Team (EDAT) – has committed millions of dollars to grow Maine’s forest industry and rural economies.
- In order to alleviate the increasing burden of the high cost of child care and help new parents stay in the workforce, I introduced the bipartisan PACE Act to increase the value of two significant tax benefits that help offset child care costs.
- Recognizing that women-owned small businesses were facing barriers to federal contracting opportunities, I joined colleagues to successfully push the Small Business Administration to support additional contracting for these businesses by allowing federal agencies to award sole-source contracts to women-owned small businesses.
- In order to improve the efficiency of the Social Security Disability Insurance program, I successfully advocated for reforms to the program’s application appeals process. Shorter wait times for final decisions will mean that applicants whose claims are rejected will have a better chance of rejoining the workforce and that qualifying beneficiaries will more quickly receive the help they have earned.