Sens. Collins and King, Reps. Pingree and Golden Share Remarks for Summit Urging Senate Action on Bipartisan Immigration Solutions
Friday’s summit will feature business, faith, education, civic and immigrant leaders and impacted community members, urging Senate action on reforms to keep families together, strengthen the economy and help Maine grow.
Media is invited to cover. Pre-registration is required. To register, please click here.
Portland, ME — Facing an aging population and a labor shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Maine business, faith, education, civic and immigrant leaders and members of affected communities will hold a virtual forum to urge Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) to support bipartisan immigration solutions that would expand our workforce, bring certainty to families and employers, and help our communities and economy grow. The Growing Maine – Bipartisan Immigration Solutions 2021 event will take place Friday, June 18th at 12 PM EDT. Register here.
Senator Susan Collins and Rep. Chellie Pingree will each share remarks (video); representatives of Senator King’s and Representative Golden’s offices will share remarks on their behalf. Full speaker list below.
Maine has long been the oldest state in the nation, with a median age of 44.6 and more than 20.6% of its population over the age of 65. In 2020, Maine was projected to pass the tipping point of having more residents over age 65 than under age 18. As Maine gets older and Baby Boomers retire, immigrants are an important part of the solution to Maine’s population and workforce challenges, and growing the state’s economy.
Maine’s two largest health care providers, Maine Health and Northern Light Health have over 3,600 job openings ranging from custodians to doctors. Over 20% of long- term care facilities and nursing homes are short-staffed. Maine’s world-class hospitality and tourism sectors are facing significant workforce shortages. Many of these businesses are limiting business hours because of an estimated shortage of over 16,000 workers, with not enough nonimmigrant H2B visas or J-1 visas available. Maine needs every single worker it can get.
Organizations participating in Friday’s event include: Associated General Contractors of Maine, Barber Foods/Tyson, Eastern Maine Development Corporation, GWI, HospitalityMaine, Luke’s Lobster, Maine Dairy Industry Association, Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Maine State Chamber of Commerce, Northern Light Health, Portland Public Schools, Retail Association of Maine, Revision Energy, Pierson Nurseries Inc., Penobscot Community Health Care, Wild Blackberry Commission of Maine.
- Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), by video
- Sen. Angus King (I-ME), statement read by staff
- Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), by video
- Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME), statement read by staff
- David Barber, Business Development Specialist, Tyson; Former CEO, Barber Foods
- Julie-Marie Bickford, Executive Director, Maine Dairy Industry Association
- Paul Bolin, SVP, Chief Human Resource Officer, Northern Light Health
- Xavier Botana, Superintendent, Portland Public Schools
- Mufalo Chitham, Executive Director, Maine Immigrants Rights Coalition
- Ben Conniff, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder, Luke’s Lobster
- Dana Connors, President, Maine State Chamber of Commerce
- Bishop Robert Deeley, Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine
- Greg Dugal, Director of Government Affairs, Hospitality Maine
- Kerem Durdag, President & CEO, GWI
- Lori Dwyer, JD, President & CEO, Penobscot Community Health Care
- Heather Johnson, Commissioner, Maine Department of Economic & Community Development
- Roger Katz, Attorney, Former State Senator
- Brian Langley, Chef/Owner Union River Lobster Pot, Former State Senator
- Matt Marks, CEO, AGC Maine
- Erick Molina, Dreamer, DACA Holder
- Fortunat Mueller, PE, President & Co-Founder, ReVision Energy
- Angela Okafor, Bangor City Councilor; Owner, Tropical Tastes and Styles International Market; Attorney
- Curtis Picard, CAE, President & CEO, Retail Association of Maine
- Jake Pierson, MCN, Pierson Nurseries
- Beth Stickney, Executive Director, Maine Business Immigration Coalition
- Lee Umphrey, President & CEO, Eastern Maine Development Corporation
- Eric Venturini, Executive Director, Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
Media is invited to cover the event. Pre-registration is required. To register, please click here.
The Maine Business Immigration Coalition (MeBIC) recognizes the value of immigration and promotes initiatives, laws, and policies to attract, integrate, and retain immigrants in Maine’s economy and communities as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and citizens.
The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizens.