Guest column

Waldo County works

By Rep. Erin Herbig | Jun 05, 2018

I have always been a results-oriented person, and I always will be.

Now more than ever, it is vital that we elect leaders who achieve real results for their communities.

As your State Representative for the past eight years, and as House Majority Leader for the past two, I know how to tackle problems to produce solutions. I understand the importance of bipartisan relationships, and I know how to turn good ideas into good laws.

On my Waldo County Works Business Tour, I have visited nearly 100 businesses across Waldo County to hear what’s going well, what isn’t, and what I can do to help. I hosted business leaders for a Waldo County Works Summit to identify and remove the barriers blocking success for businesses in rural Maine.

Since then, I have written and passed many laws with bipartisan support, laying the foundation to build an economy that will last for generations.

Our economy is rapidly changing, and when a major employer or industry leaves rural Maine, it is devastating. I wrote and passed into law “An Act To Provide Support For Sustainable Economic Development In Rural Maine” (LD 1578) with the help of Belfast city leaders, giving rural towns the funds and resources they need to meet these challenges.

Young Mainers continue to leave the state because the path from education to employment is unclear. I wrote and passed “An Act To Support The Trades Through A Tax Credit For Apprenticeship Programs” (LD 781). This bill will offer a tax credit to employers who hire local people to start what could become a lifelong career in their hometown.

Lack of access to childcare is a burden felt by too many Maine families and their employers. After meeting with business leaders at AthenaHealth, I wrote and passed “An Act To Encourage Family-Friendly Businesses Through A Tax Credit For Child Care” (LD 1317). This will provide a benefit to employers who offer onsite daycare.

Too many businesses, students, and their families don’t have reliable high speed internet.

I wrote and passed “An Act To Create Broadband Access For Rural Communities” (LD 1372) so more Mainers can compete in today’s economy.

For my entire legislative career, I have built lasting relationships with organizations crucial to Waldo County. I have worked alongside them to create better laws for our communities.

With members of the Randall Collins VFW, I wrote and passed into law “An Act To Allow Veterans Free Admission To The Maine State Museum” (LD 1656). Now all veterans can visit the Museum between appointments at Togus.

With fellow volunteers from the Waldo County Woodshed, I wrote and passed into law “An Act To Provide A Sales Tax Exemption To Nonprofit Heating Assistance Organizations” (LD 1755). The Woodshed can now provide more firewood to more families.

With Dr. Carolyn Gaiero, I wrote and passed into law “An Act To Increase Access To Hearing Aids” (LD 761) because too many of our neighbors struggle with hearing loss and do not have the means to get the services they need.

And I am just getting started.

Essential first steps are underway to address some of Waldo County’s largest remaining challenges: job training, affordable housing, and support for our first responders.

I have connected local employers with the Maine Community College System and Maine’s Quality Centers to establish better training in our community for jobs that are here.

I recently hosted a Housing Solutions Conference in Belfast with the Maine Council on Aging to address the lack of affordable housing for aging Mainers and our workforce.

I continue to work with Liberty Fire Department Chief Bill Gillespie and fire departments across our state on “An Act To Attract Trained Firefighters To Maine And Provide Incentives To Retain Them” (LD 2716). We need to ensure all first responders have adequate training to perform the essential services they provide.

I am proud of these results. As your state Senator, I will continue to remove the barriers blocking success for Waldo County families and businesses.

With good leadership, Waldo County works.

I ask for your support on June 12 and in November.

 

House Majority Leader Erin Herbig is currently serving her fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives. She represents House District 97, which includes Belfast, Northport and Waldo. She is a candidate for State Senate District 11, encompassing all of Waldo County.

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