Governor LePage Listens to Job Seekers Saturday Morning

December 3, 2011

For Immediate Release: Saturday, December 3, 2011
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

LePage administration remains focused on getting Mainers back to work

After the meeting, Governor LePage shakes hands with Rep. Andrew O'Brien and Brenda Akers. Wil Tibby can be seen to the right of the Governor and Commissioner Winglass is in the background

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul LePage met today with job seekers in an effort to learn more about the challenges they face. The impromptu meeting was held in the Governor’s cabinet room late Saturday morning following the Governor’s regularly scheduled constituent hours.

For more than an hour, Governor LePage and Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass listened to concerns from Brenda Akers, of Lewiston, Ed Lachowitz, of Waterville and Wil Tibby, of Mount Vernon. Representative Andrew O’Brien later joined the meeting.

Rep. O’Brien’s request for a meeting with the Governor has recently been the center of media attention after a letter from Rep. O’Brien was sent to the Governor’s Office. Both the Governor and Rep. O’Brien relayed their frustration over the miscommunication about that letter and are happy to put the issue behind them and instead focus on the real issue relating to job creation.

Akers, an experienced seamstress, who has been out of work for an extended period, told the Governor, “I enjoy working. I enjoy doing something. The thing about the career centers is that I find it hard to match my skills with the available jobs.” Governor LePage and Akers acknowledged declining industry which has made Ackers job search difficult.

The LePage administration is focused on workforce development training which will help people like Akers. During the Governor’s job creation workshops held recently across the State education and workforce development took up much of the discussions led by members of the business community. The Governor recognizes the benefits to ensuring job-training funding is available for people like Akers who are looking for a second career.

A variety of topics were discussed including unemployment benefits, healthcare, energy costs, and regulatory burdens that have stifled job growth. “For decades, we have had a government that has put restrictions on businesses and hindered job creation in our State,” said Governor LePage. In order to address unemployment we must first understand the problem. We’ve held 25 red tape audits and I’ve met with hundreds of business leaders through my job creation sessions and I’m being told consistently that the cost to do business in Maine is too high.”

In addition to education, energy is a top priority for the LePage administration leading into the next legislative session. The Governor called on Rep. O’Brien and the Legislature to address this important issue in January. “If we want to be competitive, we have to address energy costs and costly regulations. And if we don’t businesses won’t be able to hire people. It’s about being competitive and right now Maine is not.”

Rep. O’Brien thanked the Governor for his willingness to speak with Akers, Tibby and Lachowitz and left the meeting saying it was a positive conversation, “I want to thank the Governor for taking the time to meet with us.”

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