October 07, 2019
FREEPORT, ME – This evening, Senator King presented keynote remarks at the Maine Technology Institute (MTI)’s 20th Anniversary Celebration – a public-private partnership that then-Governor King was instrumental in establishing. MTI was established in 1999 to bolster economic opportunity, diversify Maine’s economy, and create jobs by offering grants, loans, and services. Since then, MTI has invested over $270 million in Maine companies, leveraged over $1 billion in private sector funds, and created tens of thousands of high-quality jobs across the state of Maine. Senator King’s remarks focused on the origins of MTI, its impacts on Maine people, and his work in the Senate to further economic development and innovation opportunities for Maine.
“MTI was created to help Maine people get ahead, and for the last 20 years it’s done just that,” said Senator King. “Since its inception, MTI has left its mark on Maine’s economy by creating jobs, investing in startups, and supporting innovators working to bring economic prosperity to their communities. I’m proud to have had a role at the beginning in establishing MTI, but the true credit goes to the Maine people whose vision and dedication have shaped its efforts and boosted our state’s economy over the last two decades. It is a true honor to celebrate both MTI’s past accomplishments and the good work it continues to do for our state.”
Senator King is a strong supporter of efforts to revitalize Maine’s forest economy to further economic opportunities for Maine people. He was key in establishing the Forest Opportunity Roadmap Maine (FOR/ME) Initiative, an industry-led initiative that is helping to diversify the state’s wood products businesses, attract investments, support research and development, and develop greater economic prosperity for rural communities impacted by mill closures. The FOR/ME Initiative was funded as a result of the Economic Development Assessment Team (EDAT) requested by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and King in 2016, with support from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration in order to create strategies for job growth and economic development in Maine’s rural communities. FOR/ME developed and is implementing a roadmap and action plan for the development of new markets for Maine’s forest resources, including the strengthening of existing forest products manufacturing, the attraction of investment in emerging technology, and the utilization of forest products residuals in CHP biomass plants, microgrids, modern thermal systems, and new forest products development. The FOR/ME Initiative has already resulted in multiple funding opportunities for Maine organizations and new investment in Maine’s forest economy.
Digital connectivity and access to 21st century technology in rural regions are key priorities of Senator King’s economic agenda to help modernize and grow Maine’s rural economy, support innovation, and create jobs. In July, Senator King joined a bipartisan group of senators to urge the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to delay their proposed Rural Health Care (RHC) Program report and order to better address the concerns of rural health care providers and the medical communities. Also in July, he cosponsored the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability (DATA) Act, which will increase the accuracy of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband availability maps by improving the process by which broadband data is collected. In May, Senators King and Capito reintroduced legislation to measure the economic impact of broadband so state and federal policymakers can understand the return they will receive on any investments in digital infrastructure. The legislation had previously passed the Senate in December, but was not taken up by the House. In April, Senator King joined his colleagues to introduce legislation to promote “digital equity” so Americans of all backgrounds can have equal access to the opportunities created by the internet.