Maine Legislature

House Democratic Office



June 2, 2012

Contact: Jodi Quintero [Stevens] 287-1488, c. 841-6279



Rep. Stevens: GOP puts ideology over common sense on R&D bond vote



Good morning, Iím State Rep. Sara Stevens from Bangor.


Thank you for tuning in this morning.


This week the Maine Legislature had to make a critical decision about the future of our stateís economy.  We could move toward innovation and economic development or we could turn our backs on job creation and prosperity.


Sadly, many Republicans in the Maine House put ideology over common sense. They blocked a bond proposal that would help Maineís traditional economy of farming, fishing, and mill towns. They rejected proven investments in biotechnology, marine technology, and forestry.


One example in Boothbay is Bigelow Labs. Investments there have helped expand technology and construction jobs and helped support the local fishing and boating industry. 


These historically supported investments in research and development would have been sent to voters for consideration this November. Republicans took this choice away from Maine people.  They donít trust your judgment to make the decision.


Theyíve chosen to hold good jobs hostage to Tea Party politics.


We find ourselves at this critical juncture in Maine.


More than 50,000 Mainers remain unemployed. Nationally, our state has trailed behind all but a handful of states in job growth.


We rank dead last for personal income growth in the country and we are the top of the list for home foreclosures in the country.


Wages in Maine are too low. We need to work on getting higher paying jobs here in Maine.


Maine families are struggling.  Instead of supporting policies that help Maine people climb into the middle class, Republicans are forcing them out.


We need a better trained workforce and a business environment that encourages innovation and supports businesses that pay their workers a good salary. Good paying careers improve buying power, which grows business profits, which creates more jobs, which leads to more buying power, and so on. Itís a simple formula.


But what the Governor and Republican Majority havenít done is offer any solutions that will actually raise wages in Maine and put more money in the pockets of Maine workers.


Their only solution seems to be cutting state government until thereís nothing left. And the Republican Tea Party approach of cut-to-the-bone governing will not create single job or raise the salary of a single Mainer, by a single cent.


It will just leave us standing on a sinking boat with no life preservers.


Democrats in the Legislature know that good paying jobs need to come from somewhere. You have to invest your resources in the right places at the right time, and we have a plan to do just that.


We wanted to ask voters to approve an investment in targeted research and development grants, which will go to the businesses with the best ideas and the potential to grow the best jobs.


We want to invest in schools, from kindergarten through college, to make sure that theyíre energy efficient and using the newest technology so our kids are jumping into a competitive market with the skills and tools they need.


Thanks to the policies enacted by the Republican majority, itís harder to live in Maine today than it was a year ago; especially if youíre old, poor, middle class, sick, or live in rural Maine. The boat is sinking, but it doesnít have to. We can get our boat out of the storm, but we have to start steering in a real direction.


Thanks for listening. Iím Rep. Sara Stevens.