September 11, 2020
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) connected with the Maine Arts Commission and members of Maine’s performing arts community to discuss the state of the arts industry as they face short-term economic challenges and long-term uncertainty due to the global pandemic. During the call, Senator King emphasized his strong support of arts institutions, which are vital engines of our Nation’s economy and culture. Senator King also highlighted his support for legislation to support performing arts in response to the coronavirus pandemic; in July, he cosponsored the Restarting the Economy Sustainably Towards a Recovery in Twenty-twenty (RESTART) Act to support the small- and mid-sized businesses – including concert venues and theatre companies – most affected by the coronavirus crisis. On today’s call, he also announced his cosponsorship of the bipartisan Save Our Stages Act.
“When the pandemic struck, performing arts was one of the first sectors of the economy to shut down – and as the virus continues to linger, the industry continues to be among the hardest hit,” said Senator King. “The work of Maine artists drives significant economic activity, employs thousands of Maine people, and provides vital cultural enrichment to communities throughout the state. Their work is vital, and they need help – now. The stories shared during today’s call are clear examples of why it is vital that the Senate Majority Leader return to the negotiating table and create bipartisan legislation to bring much-needed relief to not only to Maine artists, but also to Americans of all backgrounds desperately crying out for relief.”
“We are grateful for the opportunity to have Senator King connect with Maine’s arts and culture sector,” said Julie Richard, the Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission. “It is our hope that his guidance, leadership, and insight can provide some direction and solace during these difficult times.”
Even as the pandemic changes the way we connect, Senator King has made it a priority to engage with Maine people from all walks of life and helpful organizations to address questions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and identify remaining work to be done. In May, he held tele-town hall, inviting all Maine people to call in toll-free, to listen and respond to questions about coronavirus response efforts. Since the Senate passed the CARES Act, he has participated in teleconferences and phone calls with:
· Maine students and educators, including the 16 Maine 2020 County Teachers of the Year, Maine Jump$tart Coalition’s two Finance Educators of the Year, school psychologists, MLTI Virtual Student Conference, University of Maine System Student Veterans, and civics and history teachers from schools across Maine.
· Maine business and community leaders leaders, including members of the Houlton Rotary Club, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Maine Coast Fishermen’s Association, Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, the New England Council, 120 of Portland’s small business owners and 500 Maine employees of Sun Life.
· Maine seniors in a call hosted by AARP Maine.
· Maine democracy-focused organizations, such as the Maine League of Women Voters.