Maine Legislature

House Democratic Office

www.housedemocrats.maine.gov

 

 

April 4, 2013

Contact: Ann Kim 287-1488, cell: 233-1838

 

Rep. Moonen: LePage’s lagging job creation hits younger Mainers hard  

Governor styles self as “turnaround specialist” but fails to deliver

 

Maine has so many good things going for it, particularly for young people establishing families. Quality of life, engaged communities, vibrant schools and amazing outdoor opportunities – just to name a few. But it’s getting harder for young people to live, work and play in Maine – especially the work part under the administration of Governor Paul LePage.

 

Good morning, I’m Representative Matt Moonen of Portland.

 

I’m a member of the Legislature’s Youth Caucus. We’re a bipartisan group of lawmakers focused on policies that affect younger Mainers and their futures in our state.

 

It’s been clear for a while that our economy is not where it should be.

 

It’s ironic because the governor touts his background as a businessman – a “turnaround specialist.” In his State of the State address, he told the people of Maine, “Having spent my career in business, I know what grows an economy.”

 

A new report confirms that as Maine’s CEO, the governor has not delivered on job creation. The report provides another troubling insight: Mainers in their prime working years are really hurting under the governor’s watch.

 

You’ve probably already heard about how Maine is far behind in job creation. We’ve been scraping along the bottom with each new set of employment data that comes out. The latest numbers say we’re currently ranked 49th in the nation. Forth-ninth!

 

But did you know that younger Mainers are having such a hard time? For this group, employment levels have not improved since the end of the recession.

 

This job creation problem has a large ripple effect. These are Mainers who are trying to establish themselves and build solid foundations for their families. Without job opportunities how likely is it that they can buy their first homes or invest in their children’s futures?  Forget about extra pocket money to boost local economies.

Without opportunity, how can we expect young people to stay in the state or return home? This is an important question, especially as we address the challenges of an increasingly aging population. Top economist Charlie Colgan has warned that this demographic trend would be disastrous for the state’s workforce, competitiveness and economy.

 

Working-age Mainers – and the entire state – need the governor to step up and deliver on job creation.

 

Maine has recovered less than half of the jobs lost in the recession. We’re doing the worst in New England, which has recovered 96 percent. The nation, meanwhile, is back up to 93 percent.

 

If you were a shareholder in a firm led by the governor, what would you think about this performance?

 

Democrats have put forward solutions to address our workforce and economic needs. Solutions like early childhood education, college affordability and incentives to encourage young Mainers stay in-state after college. 

 

And a jobs bond package from the bipartisan workforce committee would spur job creation by small businesses and invest in areas like the marine economy where Maine has a competitive advantage.

 

What has our CEO been up to?

 

He’s given a $1 million no-bid contract to a political ally for shoddy work; lost $20 million for the state’s psychiatric hospital by ignoring federal law; given a failing transportation contractor an extra $1.2 million without a reason; and prompted a federal investigation by interfering in unemployment hearings.

 

He’s failed on a major part of his job description: working with the Legislature on a supplemental budget. Instead of making a proposal as Maine governors are supposed to, he essentially punted.

 

This is no way to lead. Young Mainers, their families and their communities deserve more from their CEO.

 

Thank you for tuning in. This is Representative Matt Moonen of Portland. Have a wonderful weekend.

 

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