State

Maine legislators to take part in Aroostook Day, Jan. 25

AUGUSTA, Maine — After a one-year absence, Aroostook Day at the Legislature will make a comeback this month. The Aroostook Partnership (AP) has scheduled the event for Wednesday, Jan. 25, at the Senator Inn in Augusta.

“We sponsor Aroostook Day as an opportunity for members of the private, public and non-profit sectors in Aroostook County to interact directly with our elected state representatives on issues of importance to The County,” said Bob Dorsey, president of the Caribou-based Aroostook Partnership.

Dorsey said Aroostook Day at the Senator Inn will begin with a social hour at 5:30 p.m., followed by a meal and then more formal presentations.

Originated by LEADers Encouraging Aroostook Development (LEAD) more than 20 years ago, Aroostook Day has traditionally been well attended by residents of Aroostook County and Maine representatives from across the state.

Jason Parent, who chairs the advocacy committee for the Aroostook Partnership, helped organize Aroostook Day with LEAD before it merged with AP.

“I think the lawmakers receive Aroostook Day very well,” said Parent. “It also helps our Aroostook County legislators do their job more effectively by seeing that we are an engaged community.”

Parent added the lawmakers leave Aroostook Day with a greater awareness of The County’s challenges, but more importantly, a better understanding of opportunities in northern Maine.

Although the event is a largely informal gathering, the opportunity to engage lawmakers is one AP officials appreciate. The format for the formal portion of the gathering is still taking shape, Dorsey indicated a panel discussion will be held focusing on incentivizing workforce opportunities, forestry and the potential for mining in Aroostook County.

More than 30 legislators and 50 County residents attended the function in 2015 and Dorsey is hoping for a similar, if not larger turnout this year.

“Bills enacted by the Maine Legislature can greatly impact Aroostook economic development efforts and our natural resources utilization, and therefore it’s vital that our legislators get a perspective on our County opportunities and challenges so they can make the best decisions,” said Dorsey.

“Aroostook Day is a great venue, a good way to meet and interact with our legislators, and an opportunity to share our rural perspectives,” he said.

For more information, contact Judy Dinsmore at Northern Maine Development Commission by email at jdinsmore@nmdc.org or by phone at (207) 493-5752.

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