|Bar Harbor | December 10, 2015| Today, Speaker of the House Mark Eves joined State Senator Brian Langley and Representatives Brian Hubbell, Louis Luchini, Ralph Chapman, and Walter Kumiega on a tour of two of Maine’s finest research institutions, both located in Hancock County. The visit was a continuation of a statewide Jobs Tour launched in January by Speaker Eves.The purpose of the jobs tour is to spotlight the need to grow good jobs and strong wages at a time when the state lags behind the region and the nation in economic growth.
Legislators toured MDI Biological Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory. MDIBL researches regenerative and aging biology and medicine. MDIBL has grown from 10 employees in 2000 to approximately 70 in 2015, and has seen its revenues increase from $1 million to $11 million in that same time. Additionally they have trained almost 3,000 Maine undergraduates from 13 total institutions as a way to develop and support Maine’s future workforce.
“It was incredible to witness the profound implications of the world class research done by both MDIBL and Jackson Laboratory” said Speaker Eves. “We should not forget Maine is a leading hub of research and development and that legislators have a key role in supporting these efforts.”
“Hancock County is an epicenter for groundbreaking research and growth,” said Representative Hubbell, “I am happy to welcome the Speaker to Bar Harbor and was pleased to have the opportunity to hear first-hand the impact of state investment in these industries and ways we can continue our partnership.”
Senator Langley added “Every community in Maine has one or two jewels, and I’m proud that these two incredible institutions are located in my district. They bring incredible opportunities to Bar Harbor and the people of Maine.”
Speaker Eves sponsored a bond issue that awarded $10 million to expand the state’s research capabilities in the areas of mammalian genetics and murine biometric analytics used to help study cancer cures. It also made the state a global resource for precision medicine, while improving the state’s capacity to attract and retain young professionals and bring additional grant funding, private sector investment, job growth and economic activity to the state. The bond was approved by the voters last year and the money was ultimately awarded to the Jackson Laboratory, who will provide $11 million in matching funds for the projects.
Voters also approved a $3 million bond issue last year that will allow the MDIBL to expand and create a new training and research facility, essentially doubling their capacity, fostering innovation, and bringing new jobs to the state.
“Last year, I sponsored a research and development bond that will be reconsidered this session to help strengthen institutions like MDIBL and Jackson Lab,” said Representative Luchini. “It was great to hear additional ways the legislature can help support these critical industries.”
“It was incredible to see the phenomenal rate of return on state investment as evidenced by the leveraging of federal dollars that has helped support world class research,” said Representative Chapman. “This research is critical to Maine’s health, the development of our businesses, and the strength of our economy.”
Jackson Laboratory studies unique genetic makeup of individuals in the hopes of developing better healthcare. They employ over 1,500 people in Bar Harbor as well as Sacramento California. Recently, Jackson laboratory’s board completed a 10-year master zoning in plan, reinforcing their commitment to Bar Harbor and the natural resources of Maine.
“The 10 year master zoning in plan provides a roadmap for infrastructure modifications necessary to ensure that facilities in Maine will be maintained and constructed as need dictates and as resources permit,” said LuAnn Ballesteros of Jackson Lab. “ The plan is a clear demonstration of the organization’s commitment to maintaining Bar Harbor as The Jackson Laboratory’s headquarters. “
““It was great to help showcase MDI and Jackson Labs and witness the important role they play in supporting Maine’s economy, “said Representative Kumiega. “Their efforts in education, world class research, and innovation are impressive.”
Lawmakers have met with employers, workers, and community leaders across the state in York, Aroostook, Kennebec, Somerset, Waldo, Oxford, Lincoln, and Cumberland counties. The meetings prompted lawmakers to create the Put ME to Work program last session to partner with employers to train workers across the state for good paying-jobs in growing industries, such as logging, agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing.
House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick)
Senator Brian Langley (R-Hancock)
Representative Brian Hubbell (D-Bar Harbor)
Representative Louis Luchini (D-Ellsworth)
Representative Walter Kumiega (D-Deer Isle)
Representative Ralph Chapman (D-Brooksville)