Issues of Impact 2020
The mission of the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce is to promote and advance a vital, healthy business environment, advocating for public policy that will help our members and the 21 communities we serve prosper and grow. Rather than simply react to what policy makers propose, the Chamber strategically defines its agenda and moves it forward through our advocacy efforts.
The Board of Directors has identified “workforce” as a leading issue facing our region’s economy both today and in the future. In 2020, The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce will lead, support, innovate and collaborate in matters and initiatives related to addressing workforce issues and will focus on policies related to these key economic drivers:
Issues of Impact 2020:
Education & Workforce Development:
A continuum of lifelong educational opportunity and achievement is essential to the region’s economic health and quality of life. The Chamber supports:
• Improving access and affordability of primary, secondary and higher education.
• Creating opportunities for young people to pursue careers in our region and expanding internship, experiential learning and apprenticeship opportunities.
• Collaboration between businesses, educational institutions and governmental agencies to encourage workforce development and training that is focused on the needs of employers.
• Coordination of post secondary opportunities with economic development initiatives focused on the preservation and expansion of Maine’s natural resource assets.
Housing and Neighborhoods:
A diverse and affordable housing stock, along with safe, vibrant and welcoming communities is critical to attracting and retaining workers and their families to our region. The Chamber supports:
• The development of rental units, especially in downtowns to attract more residents and spur economic activity.
• More housing options for individuals, families and retirees through rehabilitating aging housing stock and investments in new housing developments.
• Initiatives to make communities and neighborhoods attractive to individuals and families including a variety of retail, eateries, events and outdoor activities.
Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
The future of our region’s economy and workforce is tied to investments in innovation, research, development, and commercialization. The Chamber supports:
• Increasing investment in research, development and commercialization.
• Converting research into new business and jobs by supporting business accelerators, incubators and programs.
• Attracting and retaining students for future jobs in our region through investing in modern STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) education facilities.
• Working with all the stakeholders in the region to create, develop and promote an environment that fosters entrepreneurship and innovation.
Connectivity and Communications:
Broadband capacity and communication capabilities are critical to economic development and to the attraction and retention of businesses and workers to our region. The Chamber supports:
• Policies and investments that will allow for greater permeation of broadband, especially high speed connections attractive to tech based companies, home based businesses and telemedicine providers.
• Economic development strategies to attract companies with a high demand for bandwidth, leveraging the infrastructure that is in place.
• Promotion of regional collaboration between communities for shared resources including public/private broadband partnerships.
Taxation & policy:
A heavy tax burden on Maine people and businesses discourages growth and impedes the ability to attract and retain professionals and their families to work and live in our region. The Chamber supports:
• Taxation, policies and procedures that encourage business investment and growth.
• No increase in, and ideally a reduction of the overall tax burden for Maine people and businesses.
• Tax policies that make Maine more attractive for the recruitment and retention of residents and workers to meet the workforce needs of employers.
• Tax policies that provide an incentive for retirees to stay in Maine as well as attracting others.
Healthcare remains a chief concern among Maine employers as a significant cost of doing business and contributes to attracting and retaining employees. The Chamber supports:
• Responsibly expanding access to health insurance coverage so uninsured Mainers have access to preventive care, chronic illness management, behavioral health, and other health services.
• Strategies to reduce the cost of healthcare premiums for our members and their employees.
• Allocation of federal resources to local communities to support treatment for Mainers suffering from opioid use disorder.
• Continued work with healthcare organizations, higher education, policy makers, and others to solve the shortage of nurses in our region.
• Policies impacting social determinants of health including reducing poverty, food insecurity, domestic violence, crime and child abuse.
A robust transportation system supports economic growth, spurs job creation, and enhances the quality of life and attractiveness of our region. The Chamber supports:
• A comprehensive state plan for the repair, maintenance and expansion of roads and bridges.
• Public transportation, pedestrian and recreational amenities that enhance the livability and attractiveness of our region for residents and visitors.
• Supporting the operations and expansion of the Bangor International Airport including passenger, freight and ground services.
• Preservation, upgrading and expansion of transportation options including rail and ports.
An energy policy that encourages and facilitates lowering energy costs for Maine residents and businesses is critical to attract, retain and grow businesses and jobs. The Chamber supports:
• Further construction of wind, biofuel, solar and geothermal technologies as well as alternative transportation to lower energy costs.
• Strategies, programs and policies that encourage businesses and homeowners to upgrade to more efficient heating and lighting.
• Construction of energy developments to provide reliable and low cost energy for users
Addressing social issues in our region is critical to a healthy, vibrant, and productive community and workforce. The Chamber supports:
• Programs that support our veterans, individuals in recovery and with disabilities to successfully integrate them into our communities and workforce.
• Initiatives that welcome new citizens to our region and assist with their integration into our community.
• Programs that provide seniors with opportunities to contribute to our communities as volunteers and workers.