Simpson, Smith land prosperity panel seats

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LEWISTON – Speaker of the House Glenn Cummings has appointed state Reps. Deborah Simpson, D-Auburn, and Nancy Smith, D-Monmouth, to the Legislature’s newly created Joint Select Committee on Future Maine Prosperity.

The committee was formed to examine methods that the state may pursue to grow the economy and preserve Maine’s high quality of life. Several recent studies on Maine’s economy have suggested that the state needs to have a broader long-term strategy and to focus on its economic development efforts and growth patterns.

The Prosperity Committee aims to draw on the expertise of legislators with various professional and legislative backgrounds, in order to bring a wide range of views together on one committee.

The Joint Order to create the committee was passed in May, and the Committee will meet during the interim. It is made up of 15 members, with four senators and 11 representatives and an even partisan split.

Members will be asked to examine five recent reports on Maine’s economy and quality of life, including the report by the Brookings Institution, “Charting Maine’s Future,” and take recommendations from eight of the Legislature’s key policy committees on areas within their jurisdiction and areas of expertise.

The Prosperity Committee will then develop recommendations for legislative action. It also has been asked by the budget-writing Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee to weigh in on several pieces of legislation.

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