Radio Address: Job-killing liberals are blocking Maine’s progress

May 6, 2014

(MP3 Audio)

My administration worked hard this year to reform Maine’s welfare system, but liberals rejected our efforts. They said we should concentrate on job creation. But they rejected those efforts, too.

Hello, this is Governor Paul LePage.

Since we took office, we have made significant progress in creating jobs. More than 17,000 private-sector jobs have been created in Maine. The unemployment rate is the lowest since 2008.

Further, there are almost 8,000 jobs available on the Maine Job Bank.

These are not just minimum-wage jobs at fast-food joints. Job openings range from part-time work to full-time professional occupations. It’s a good start, but we need to do more. We need to attract industries with high-paying careers that can lift Maine’s hard-working families into the upper middle class.

Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. But we must also work to attract the large companies with the kind of good salaries and benefits that will increase the quality of life for Mainers.

Big business is good for small business. Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, said that for every one job GE creates, 8 more are created in the supply chain. Those 8 jobs come from small and medium businesses.

But global competition is fierce. Immelt said GE will do more business in North Africa next year than the United States. GE will sell Algeria $2.7 billion worth of turbines for power plants.

Immelt said the biggest demand in his industry is for engineers and welders. He said states must make sure their schools are focusing on STEM education. We see that kind of need right here in Maine.

Bath Iron Works just announced it will hire 600 more workers to build six Navy destroyers. BIW is creating an onsite training facility to teach new employees the unique skills the shipyard needs. Nearly 6,000 workers in highly skilled occupations will be employed at the shipyard. We need more BIW’s in Maine.

That’s why my administration proposed Open for Business Zones, which would have provided incentives for big businesses to come to Maine and provided a large amount of work for sub-contractors within the supply chain.

When I traveled to North Africa a couple of weeks ago, I saw the success of Morocco’s Free Trade Zones. Morocco has attracted major foreign investment with a simplified tax structure and an aggressive plan to trade with Europe, the U.S. and China.

Within a five-year period, they have attracted 500 companies and thousands of jobs. They now have a world-class port at the mouth of the Mediterranean.

We know what we must do to attract big companies and high-paying careers to our state. Maine will be left behind in the global economy if we do not become more competitive. Job-killing liberals are blocking our progress. They want to grow welfare. We want to grow the economy. That’s why we will keep working to attract investment and business.

Mainers deserve the good-paying careers they will bring—not just for the next election, but for the next generation.