October 09, 2019
PRESQUE ISLE, ME – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) visited with local leaders, community organizations, university faculty and students in Aroostook County. Senator King began his day at the Aroostook Area Agency on Aging, where he joined advocates and residents to discuss challenges facing the region’s seniors, including Medicare, prescription drug costs, and isolation. He then visited Aroostook County Action Program, an organization that provides support and services for those struggling with addiction, homelessness, unemployment, and more. Later in the day, Senator King toured the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI)’s new cybersecurity program, agriculture program and greenhouse. He also discussed the recent federal funding award to bolster UMPI’s workforce development efforts. He ended the day meeting with students and faculty at Northern Maine Community College.
“Today I saw some serious challenges – but I also saw powerful efforts to overcome them,” said Senator King. “From programs to support seniors facing high healthcare costs and isolation, to work aimed at helping those facing homelessness, unemployment, or addiction, to new educational opportunities to get our students ready for the 21st century workforce, there is impressive and welcome work being done in the County. The compassion for neighbors and focus on building for the future are a model for communities across the nation – come together, and good things happen.”
Senator King is dedicated to improving the lives of seniors in Maine through a variety of programs. He has pushed for legislation that would allow seniors to age at home with the help of federal programs that provide expertise and resources for home modifications. In March, he introduced legislation to help seniors and individuals with disabilities navigate the complex web of federal home modification programs; by investing in small changes like grab bars in the shower or a ramp in place of stairs, these Americans can reduce the risk of a serious fall that brings major expenses for both the individual and the Medicare and Medicaid systems. In April, Senator King joined 27 other senators in supporting funding for the Senior Community Service Employment Program to help older Americans return to the workforce.
During his time in the Senate, Senator King has been a strong advocate for functional and effective cyber policy, and deterring cyberattacks on American elections and everyday life. Senator King is the co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission (CSC), which he chairs with Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.). The CSC – which features a total of 14 commissioners from Congress, federal agencies, and private sector stakeholders – seeks to build a consensus on a strategic approach to defending the United States in cyberspace against cyberattacks of significant consequences as the world enters a new phase of cyber conflict. The May Edition of Senator King’s Inside Maine podcast featured Representative Gallagher and UMA Professor of Cybersecurity, Henry Felch to discuss national security challenges and opportunities available to Maine students to pursue a career in the cybersecurity field. Senator King and U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho) introduced the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives in July as part of their version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The legislation also passed the Senate in the upper chamber’s version of the NDAA and is expected to be included in the final bill once it passes through the House/Senate conference process.
Senator King has been a strong advocate for Maine farmers by helping to assist them to widen their markets. In June, Senator King introduced bipartisan legislation to allow meat and poultry products inspected by state Meat and Poultry Inspection (MPI) programs to be sold across state lines. In May, Senator King introduced the PRIME Act to help small farmers bypass burdensome federal regulations for locally produced meats. Also in May, Senator King joined a bipartisan group of Senators in introducing the Agricultural Export Expansion Act of 2019, legislation to remove a major hurdle for American farmers and ranchers aiming to sell American agricultural products in the Cuban market. In December 2018, Congress passed the Farm Bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill included a number of King-backed provisions to support innovation and create new opportunities for the Maine’s agricultural communities.