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Governor Mills Convenes Expert Committee to Advise on State’s Economic Recovery

Posted May 06, 2020

Governor Janet Mills announced today that she is convening an Economic Recovery Committee charged with developing recommendations to mitigate the damage to Maine’s economy caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to jumpstart a long-term economic recovery for Maine people, businesses, and organizations.

The thirty-seven member Committee, co-chaired by Laurie Lachance, former Maine State Economist and President of Thomas College in Waterville, and Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson, includes representatives of small businesses, non-profits, financial institutions, unions, municipalities, tribal and immigrant communities, hospitality and tourism industries, and educational institutions as well as a bipartisan delegation of legislative designees.

“This pandemic is wreaking havoc on our national economy and dealing heavy losses to businesses of all sizes and millions of people who find themselves newly unemployed. Like all states, Maine will be impacted both in the short- and long-term,” said Governor Mills. “While we work to protect public health and safely restart Maine’s economy, I am convening a committee of experts and stakeholders from various industries and with vast experiences to develop recommendations that can guide our economic recovery. Together, drawing on the hard work and resilience of Maine people, we will rebuild and strengthen our economy and rise from this unprecedented challenge to be a stronger state.”

“I’m honored to serve Maine in helping to plan for the future,” said Josh Broder, Co-Chair of the Committee and CEO of Tilson. “This emergency has devastated families and our economy in unprecedented ways. We will have to be strategic in our investments, harness all of the diverse capacity in state, and be competitive in our approach to stimulus.”

“In this time when it feels like there is little we can do as individuals, I am deeply honored to work closely with such an experienced and passionate group of leaders to use our collective wisdom and ideas to help move Maine past this extremely disruptive period,” said Laurie Lachance, Co-Chair of the Committee and President of Thomas College. “As we have seen so many times in our history, with focus and hard work, Maine can and will emerge stronger and will move towards the vision we share of a more prosperous economy.”

The Economic Recovery Committee, which the Governor established by Executive Order today, will gather input from experts and industry sector representatives on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Maine’s economy and offer specific policy recommendations to mitigate those impacts. Those recommendations should address essential issues such as:

  1. Strengthening Maine’s key industries and small businesses;
  2. Strengthening workforce development;
  3. Improving opportunities for lower-and middle-income families;
  4. Expanding economic opportunities for rural communities; and
  5. Attracting new investments and innovations in key sectors such as business, communication, health care, recreation and education.

The Committee will not address public health matters, including the reopening timeframe; however, it will provide guidance on the importance of good public health as a precondition for good economic growth.

The Committee will convene its first meeting as soon as practicable and deliver a preliminary report no later than July 15, 2020 and a final report by December 1, 2020. The Committee may also form subcommittees at the discretion of the co-chairs. All meetings of the Committee and any subcommittees will be conducted virtually in a manner accessible to the public with advance online notice. To allow for public input, the Committee will create a portal to receive public comments.

The Committee may also call upon economists and other experts, including the Maine State Economist, to inform its members. The Committee may also continue to meet after delivering its final report if requested by the Governor.

These recommendations will serve in part as a bridge between the economic emergency caused by the pandemic to the restart of the State’s 10-year economic development strategy released last year.

The complete membership of the Economic Recovery Committee is as follows:

Chairs:

  • Josh Broder, Co-Chair, CEO of Tilson
  • Laurie Lachance, Co-Chair, President of Thomas College

Legislators:

  • Representative Joshua Morris, R-Turner
  • Representative Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor
  • Senator Lisa Keim, R-Oxford
  • Senator Michael Carpenter, D-Aroostook

Economic Development:

  • Lee Umphrey, President & CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corporation
  • Betsy Biemann, CEO of Coastal Enterprises Inc

Business:

  • Curtis Picard, President and CEO of Retail Association of Maine
  • Dana Connors, President of the Maine Chamber of Commerce
  • Meredith Strang Burgess, President and CEO of Burgess Advertising and Marketing
  • Ben Waxman, Co-Founder American Roots
  • Jessica Masse, Partner, Design Lab
  • Steve Schley, Board Chair, FOR Maine Initiative
  • Vaughan Woodruff, Owner of InSource Renewables
  • Jean Ginn Marvin, Owner of Nonantum Resort, Board Chair, Maine Community College Board of Trustees
  • Kevin Raye, Realtor and Former Senate President
  • Deanna Sherman, President and CEO of Dead River Company
  • Wick Johnson, President of Kennebec Technologies
  • Robert Dorko, Utilities & Recovery Manager at Sappi North America
  • Luke Holden, Co-Founder and CEO of Luke’s Lobster

Financial Institutions:

  • Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank
  • Sam May, Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union Board Chair
  • Larry Shaw, CEO of MMG Insurance
  • Tim Agnew, Masthead Venture Partners

Municipal, Immigrant and Tribal Community Representatives:

  • Tae Chong, Councilor, City of Portland, and Social Enterprise & Workforce Development Manager for Catholic Charities Maine
  • Lincoln Jeffers, Economic Development Director for the City of Lewiston
  • Angela Okafor, Councilor, City of Bangor
  • Susan Hammond, Executive Director of Four Directions Development Corporation

Health Care

  • Bill Burke, Chair of the MaineHealth Board of Trustees and the Portland Sea Dogs

Education:

  • Jim Herbert, President of the University of New England
  • Rebecca Wyke, President of the University of Maine at Augusta
  • Joe Cassidy, President of Southern Maine Community College

Nonprofits:

  • James Myall, Policy Analyst for the Maine Center for Economic Policy
  • Jennifer Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits
  • Susan Corbett, Founder and Director of the National Digital Equity Center

Unions:

  • Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO

Members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation are also invited to participate in an ex-officio capacity.