Weekly Radio Address-Vitelli says: There’s a lot happening with the Maine economy—and there’s a lot of potential. But we all need a willing partner if we’re going to move ahead together.
Maine is a special place. Whether you’re a native Mainer, you moved here, or you’re vacationing here, I’m probably not telling you anything you don’t already know. Our natural resources—from our lakes and oceans to our rolling hills and mountains—it’s easy to see why people want to live, work, and play here in Maine. But there’s one thing that makes Maine truly special.
Good Morning. This is State Senator Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic.
Mainers are known for our hard work; our creativity; and our determination. Perhaps it goes back to our Yankee roots. But regardless, whether you live in the smallest of Maine villages or in our state’s largest city, entrepreneurs can be found in every corner of our state. They include artisans, farmers, engineers, designers, inventors, microbrewers, creative crafters, and ambitious Main Street retailers.
In fact, there are more than 143,000 small businesses in Maine. They are the economic engines of our state—and a mainstay of employment for other Mainers. Two out of every three jobs are created by a small business—and more than 280,000 Mainers are employed by a small business. And these numbers are growing.
That’s why it is appropriate that we celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit and the accomplishments of Maine’s small business owners this past week. At the Maine Small Business Start-up and Create Week, I heard first-hand from the dozens and dozens of entrepreneurs from all around Maine who are doing amazing things. From a one-person shop to a company that employs hundreds.
As someone who has spent more than thirty years helping to expand opportunities and create resources for women, and other non-traditional entrepreneurs, to get started in business, I have always been impressed with the creativity, ingenuity and sheer grit that Maine entrepreneurs demonstrate in pursuing their dreams.
In the Legislature, I serve on the special workforce committee. This last session, we took steps to provide resources that will help our small businesses and economy grow.
We passed a $12 million bond that will allocate money to finance small businesses and entrepreneurs through the Finance Authority of Maine and community based partners. The bond was approved by the Legislature and will appear on the November ballot for your approval. These funds will help businesses in local communities to grow, create jobs, and help all of us prosper.
But we can do better. We can do more.
But we need a willing partner.
For three and half years, we’ve had a governor in the Blaine House who has been unwilling. He’s sat on the sidelines and played the blame game.
He’s shamed our students–the next generation of workers and inventors.
He’s berated workers, who have lost their job through no fault of their own.
He’s made the political and business climate so bitter that businesses, like Stat Oil, have packed up and left our state—taking the jobs and the promise of prosperity with them.
He once told a group of soon-to-be graduating college students, that if they want a job here in Maine, they should look at the want ads.
This is not leadership.
Under Governor LePage’s watch, Maine ranks forty-sixth in the nation for jobs recovered since the recession. While the rest of the country has recovered 101% of lost jobs, Maine has only recovered 48%.
So while he likes to talk about the accomplishments of the Maine economy under his watch, I’d say, bottom of the pack rankings are nothing to brag about. He’s done little more than swing at bad pitches, leave jobs on the table, and ignore the excitement of what is happening with our economy.
This is not the kind of leadership Mainers need or can afford.
We need to be creating a world-class economy. One that focuses on our existing, competitive advantages. We need to build upon our community, not break it down.
The hundreds of Mainers who showed up at the Maine Small Business Start-up and Create Week will tell you, there’s a lot to be proud of in this state. There’s a lot happening—and there’s a lot of potential. But we all need a willing partner if we’re going to move ahead, together.
Thank you for listening. This is State Senator Eloise Vitelli. Have a terrific weekend.