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For Immediate Release

Date: 01/27/11

Rep. Mel Newendyke Named to Labor, Commerce Committee

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Mel Newendyke has been appointed to the new Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development, putting him in a position to shape legislation on a range of business issues in the 125th Maine Legislature.

"I'm pleased with the assignment," said Rep. Newendyke (R-Litchfield), a first-term legislator. "I look forward to working with my fellow committee members to improve Maine's business environment and our employment base. My campaign pledge was to create a better business climate in Maine, and serving on this committee affords me an opportunity to play a key role in improving Maine's economic future.

"We were all concerned when Maine placed 50th on the Forbes magazine's list of the best states for business and careers, but I'm very encouraged that we can make significant progress in this session," he said. "The effort to eliminate redundant and counterproductive red tape and regulation is a positive step toward a more business-friendly environment. I would also like to see some reductions in our tax rates to make Maine more competitive."

Rep. Newendyke is a former computer programmer and data systems manager who then moved into banking as operations officer at Livermore Falls Trust Co. He retired from there as executive vice president in the late 1990s. He also owned a small business for 30 years, refurbishing such heavy construction and logging equipment as bulldozers, backhoes and log skidders. Rep. Newendyke is currently a farmer.

The Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee has one of the broadest jurisdictional charters in the Legislature. It oversees the Department of Labor, the Maine State Housing Authority, the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and the Workers' Compensation Board.

It also has jurisdiction over workforce development; professional and occupational licensing; venture capital and trade programs; import competition; consumer protection; defense facility conversion; and workers' compensation. Additionally, it handles tourism; technology commercialization and transfers; advertising; and opportunity zones.

In the realm of labor, its jurisdiction entails wage and hour laws; unemployment compensation; and working conditions, including health and safety; and collective bargaining.

"Workers and businesses have a shared stake in Maine's economic future," Rep. Newendyke said. "The new legislative leadership pulled business and labor into a single committee because they belong together. You can't have labor without business, and you can't run a business without labor. There is a symbiotic relationship, and it just makes sense to have them under one roof."

Rep. Newendyke represents Wales, Litchfield and Monmouth. ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445