Senate overrides LePage veto of Jackson’s rural economic task force bill
AUGUSTA — The Maine Senate voted to override Gov. LePage’s veto of legislation from Senate Democratic Leader Troy Jackson, of Allagash, to establish a rural economic task force. The final vote was 32-3.
LD 1747, “Resolve, To Establish a Task Force To Examine Agricultural Issues,” as amended, would assemble a group of lawmakers and experts to address agricultural issues and barriers to economic prosperity in rural parts of the state.
“If Maine lawmakers are serious about job creation and economic development in rural Maine, this bill is a good start,” said Sen. Jackson. “Our traditional industries, including blueberries, potatoes, and forest products, have long held the key to economic success in the rural areas of our state. I am hopeful that this task force will explore ways in which to modernize these industries and break-down barriers so they can continue to thrive in our changing economy.”
The Task Force would examine challenges relating to investment and development, workforce training and labor shortages, as well as identifying marketing and branding opportunities. It would also examine how innovation, infrastructure and technology may play a role in long-term, sustainable rural success.
This Task Force membership would include representatives from the following industries: blueberry, dairy, potato, aquaculture, and small fruit or vegetables. It would also include representatives from the Agricultural Council of Maine, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, Professional Logging Contractors of Maine; Maine Woodland Owners, Maine Farm Bureau, a national food retailer, an international trade expert, and an economist from the University of Maine.
LD 1747 will now head to the House for another override vote.