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Updated: June 10, 2024 From the Editor

Editor's Note: Maine’s economy depends on growth — and, yes, selling Maine

Maine’s economy is at a crossroads right now, and we need to be reminded of the big picture.

I was struck by the similarity of two Maine speeches made 25 years apart. Let me explain.

On June 3, Gov. Janet Mills gave a rousing speech about the need to build the Maine workforce.

Some 13,400 people have joined the state’s workforce in the past three years. But that’s just a start, she said.

“That’s good news, but we know that our economic growth is continuing to outpace the number of people who are available to work in Maine,” Mills said at an event co-hosted by the World Affairs Council of Maine and the Maine International Trade Center.

“We need every person who is able to work in Maine to be able to do so — to support themselves, to contribute to our economy and fill the jobs that our businesses are creating every day.”

It was a call to action, about the value of welcoming immigrants to Maine employers, but also in convincing potential workers who have been on the sidelines since COVID to rejoin the workforce.

Mills’ comments echoed those published 25 years ago, in the June 1999 issue of Mainebiz (and revisited elsewhere in this issue, in A Look Back).

Steve Levesque, who may be best known for overseeing much of the growth of Brunswick Landing, was in the late 1990s commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

In a 1999 speech at the Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments, Levesque indicated that Maine tends to be too humble about its attributes as a place to do business.

“The biggest thing we’ve found is that we really need to sell Maine,” he told the audience. “Mainers don’t like to tell other people how good we are, and that’s hurting us. There’s a lot of money out there, but we’re not getting our fair share of it.”

Good speeches, good points.

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