Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As we enter these first weeks of June and businesses continue to face the challenges of reopening and modifying their operations to keep customers and communities safe, I want to provide another update on my legislative work and a reflection on the trauma of this time.
Working towards economic recovery
The Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee this past week continued to meet in subgroups gathering information on the current status of different sectors of Maine’s economy in order to make preliminary recommendations on how best to stabilize and support these sectors.
The innovation subgroup on which I serve is focusing on the sectors of life sciences, biotech, and renewable energy. In each of these, the greatest challenges continue to be related to workforce issues resulting from the pandemic and access to capital related to larger economic uncertainty.
In some contrast, I need not explain to you all the acute and immediate hardships that this pandemic is causing restaurants, lodging businesses, and the self-employed already living on the closest of margins.
If you would like to contribute to these deliberations, you may contact the Committee directly.
Similarly, along with other Legislative committees, our Appropriations Committee is now meeting to plan with the Governor’s Commissioners the most effective allocation of federal stimulus funds and develop a strategy for the overall state budget in response to the current crisis.
- Small-Business Owners Ask Legislature For More Assistance, Maine Public, June 5, 2020
- Maine businesses on the brink worry about pandemic’s lingering effects, Bangor Daily News, June 6, 2020
Pilot testing project to keep MDI safe during summer business season
Representatives from MDI Hospital, Jackson Lab, Healthy Acadia, local chambers of commerce, Acadia National Park, and the four MDI towns are working with Senator Luchini and me to propose a pilot program for testing which would help assure the safety of employees during the summer season.
We believe that this would help grow economic confidence by assuring employees, businesses, residents, and visitors alike that MDI is a safe place to live, work, and visit. We also believe that a reliable testing program will help keep schools restart education programs in the fall.
- Community COVID-19 testing proposed, Mount Desert Islander, June 3, 2020
Black Lives Matter
The killings of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia in February, Breonna Taylor in Kentucky in March, and George Floyd in Minnesota in May confirm that, 400 years after the first African slaves were brought to the founding settlement of Jamestown, 157 years after the Emancipation Proclaimation, 56 years after the federal Civil Rights Act, and 52 years after the murder of Martin Luther King, our country still suffers the unconscionable social and economic divisions of systemic racism.
As the civil uproar of this past week clearly shows, we Americans may no longer look away and excuse racism as someone else’s problem.
My own aim now in this matter is to renew my commitment to listen to those harmed on all sides of this horrific national illness and learn how we as a country can accomplish real change. If we allow ourselves to see clearly, I believe we can all make ourselves better.
As a nation, as a state, and as a community, let’s work on that together.
- Change starts with us,’ Maine law enforcement leaders say, Mount Desert Islander, 6/03/2020
- A Letter from the Maine Criminal Justice Community
Congratulations to the Class of 2020
Finally, I extend my congratulations and best wishes to MDI High School’s class of 2020. May your future be bright.
FREQUENTLY USED COVID-19 RESOURCES
Please see this set of resources to help with the most common COVID-19 problems Mainers are facing:
- A statewide COVID-19 response website that includes a directory of how each Maine agency is responding, as well as resources for health care, small businesses, education, family care and more.
- A website outlining Maine’s approach to restarting the economy.
- A COVID-19 Rental Relief Program which allows households that meet certain criteria to receive a one-time, up to $500 payment in rental assistance to be paid directly to their landlord.
- A Maine Department of Labor factsheet and COVID-19 webpage to help navigate unemployment insurance benefits. CEI has also put together a helpful website with tips for self-employed and other workers applying for PUA.
- A compilation of resources, updates and help created by Maine Equal Justice for Mainers trying to manage health care, food security, evictions, court proceedings and other issues during this time.
- Information and updates on child care, including a subsidy program for parents and guidance for child care providers.
- The website for small businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the US Small Business Administration.
- A Paycheck Protection Program implemented through the federal stimulus package. This program helps small businesses and sole proprietors access loans with loan forgiveness when they keep employees on their payroll.
- Detailed information on the FAME COVID-19 Consumer Loan Guarantee Program offering low-or-no interest loans to qualifying applicants.
- A resource to get answers any time by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211 or emailing email@example.com.