For Immediate Release
AUGUSTA - State Rep. Dana Dow has begun work on the new Joint Standing Committee on Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development, which was created by merging the Labor Committee with another panel that focused on business and development issues.
"I'm very pleased to be on a committee that deals with economic development," said Rep. Dow (R-Waldoboro), a former state senator now serving his first term in the House. "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."
Rep. Dow also is serving on the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Fairness and Reform. That panel of 15 legislators has been holding meetings around the state to field complaints about onerous or excessive regulation from employers, fishermen, Realtors, tradesmen, farmers, developers and other Mainers. The committee will produce legislation based on their findings.
"This is a chance for people to come forward and tell us how we're stifling progress and deterring economic growth," Rep. Dow said. "We're hearing very little about repealing environmental regulations, but we are hearing quite a bit about the permitting procedures at the Department of Environmental Protection. There seems to be no empathy for business owners. Folks complain about a lack of a sense of urgency by state bureaucrats, and they cite the difficulty of satisfying confusing and seemingly irrational demands.
"We were all concerned when Maine placed 50th on the Forbes magazine list of the best states for business and careers," he added, "but hopefully we can make significant progress in this session. The effort to eliminate counterproductive red tape and regulation is a positive step toward a more business-friendly environment. Our goal is to create jobs, and one of the best ways to do it is by making life a little less complicated for business owners and managers."
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 an extensive range of issues, including workforce development; professional and occupational licensing; venture capital and trade programs; import competition; consumer protection; defense facility conversion; and workers' compensation.
In the realm of labor, its jurisdiction entails wage and hour laws; unemployment compensation; working conditions, including health and safety; and collective bargaining. Additionally, it handles tourism; technology commercialization and transfer; advertising; and opportunity zones.
"Workers and businesses have a shared stake in Maine's economic future," said Rep. Dow. "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. Dow is a former chemistry and physics teacher at Medomak Valley High School. He and his wife, Lisa, currently own Dow Furniture in Waldoboro. His House district includes Bremen, part of Jefferson, Nobleboro and Waldoboro.
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445