Media Archive

Michaud speaks at PCEDC meeting

Article from The Piscataquis Observer, Vol. 164, No. 49, December 04, 2002

By Ben Bragdon
Staff Writer

DOVER-FOXCROFT Congressman-elect Mike Michaud spoke at the annual meeting of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council (PCEDC) Monday, telling the gathering of local business owners, non-profit managers, concerned residents, and county and town officials that the northern part of Maine needed to band together to create economic opportunities and improve the local business climate.

Michaud, speaking to an audience at the Penquis Higher Education Center (PHEC), said that to be successful, it was important to "make sure you have a coordinated effort when you look at economic development". He said too often small, highly localized groups begin to work at bringing new business to their area, only to get frustrated and quit, especially when the economy stagnates and those efforts become more and more difficult.

Fresh from an orientation trip to Washington, D.C., Michaud said he had spoken with many of his fellow freshman congressmen. Those conversations, coupled with the information gleaned from his many meetings with Maine businesses, left him with the impression that Maine, especially to the north, was doing a poor job of marketing to prospective employers.

While he agreed that high taxes in Mlaine put the state at a disadvantage when trying to attract business, Michaud said there is plenty about Maine that puts it ahead of competing states, such as quality of life, work ethic, and employee loyalty. These things, Michaud said, should be highlighted and advertised strongly in order to reverse the flow of Maine's young adults leaving the state for greener pastures.

"I hate to see young people in this area relocate to the southern part of the state or out of state to get jobs," Michaud said.

In order to maximize the development efforts here at home, Michaud said local, state and federal officials had to work side-by-side, sharing information and resources. He pointed to the efforts last year by the Center Theatre group that secured funding for theater renovation in Dover-Foxcroft by working creatively with state legislators.

For his part, Michaud said he would fight in Washington for "free trade, but fair trade". He said Maine has lost over 22,000 manufacturing jobs since the NAFTA trade agreement was put into effect, and more had to be done to even the playing field for manufactures in the United States, who cannot compete with trade from other countries whose governments subsidize heavily industries like lumber and textiles. Far from being a Maine-only phenomenon, Michaud says many of the other new congressmen expressed their dismay at the loss of manufacturing jobs in their respective states.

Michaud said he would have a "open-door policy" to his office in Washington, and hoped to host many visitors from Piscataquis County and the rest of the Second Congressional District.

Following his remarks, Michaud was presented with a gift basket by Tracy Michaud-Stutzman, executive director of The Maine Highland Guild. The basket was full of local products, including crafts, food, and music.

During the business portion of the annual meeting, PCEDC chose it's new Executive Committee member for the coming year. Milo Town Manager Jane Jones was chosen as president, Matt Earnest was named vice president, Monson Town Manager Jeanne Reed will be secretary. Donna Hathaway is the new treasurer, and Linda Gilbert will act as the finance chair. John Simko, Tom Lizotte, Mack MacKinney, and Sophie Wilson will be the at-large members.

Lizotte was also awarded The Warren "Pete" Myrick Community Service Award.

NOTE - This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of the TRC Alliance Team.