Issues of Impact 2021

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 continues to identify “workforce” as a leading issue facing our region’s economy both today and in the future.  Additionally, the Board of Directors believes supporting all business sectors in their efforts to recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic should remain at the forefront and drive the chamber’s work in 2021.

In addition, The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce will lead, support, innovate and collaborate in matters and initiatives related to increasing the diversity of our labor pool as well as our business environment and will focus on policies related to these key economic drivers:

Issues of Impact 2021:

Economic Recovery, COVID-19 Pandemic:
As a champion of business sustainability and resiliency, the Chamber must be a part of the solution to end this public health crisis and assist in building the infrastructure needed to overcome similar challenges in the future. The Chamber supports:

•  Advocacy for policies, strategies, and financial initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure our business community has the support necessary to remain safely open and financially viable now and in the future.
•  A COVID-19 vaccination phased approach that will protect our communities as well as help to get people back to work faster and revive our economy.

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:

•  Efforts and initiatives to increase the number of individuals accessing and achieving credentials of value from pre-K to higher education.
•  Creating opportunities for young people to explore and pursue careers in our region and expanding program pathways, 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 and affordable workforce housing, 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 employers and remote workers, educational institutions, health care providers, tech based companies and home based businesses.
•  Economic development strategies to attract companies and remote workers 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.
•  State tax policy that is consistent with federal law so as not to further burden Maine businesses that received federal funding as a result of COVID-19.
•  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:

•  Initiatives to support all sectors of health care service to recover from the economic and clinical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and sustain the successful advancement of telehealth access to care.
•  Strategies to reduce the cost of healthcare premiums for our members and their employees.
•  Allocation of resources to local communities to support evidence based treatment for Mainers suffering from substance use disorder.
•  Results focused work with health care organizations, higher education, policy makers and others to solve the shortage of nurses and other health care professionals in our region.
•  Policies focused on social detriments 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 including infrastructure investments 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 and improve the reliability and security of transmission and distribution networks.

Social Impact:
Addressing social issues in our region is critical to a healthy, vibrant, and productive community and workforce. The Chamber supports:

•   Promoting a culture of and continuing education focused on diversity, equity and inclusion.
•   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 and their families to our region and assist them with their transition.
•   Programs that provide seniors with opportunities to contribute to our communities as volunteers and workers.

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