Region 9 School of Applied Technology chef Ryan Kimball and eight culinary arts students prepared lunch for U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and his staff at the school in Mexico on Thursday. 

MEXICO — U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, his wife, Mary Herman, and about 35 of his staff from Washington and Maine, attended a lunch hosted by the Region 9 School of Applied Technology culinary arts program Thursday.

The senator and his staff were touring the region and holding a staff retreat.

Before the luncheon, the group visited Catalyst Paper mill in Rumford.

“I think probably at least more than half (of my staff) had never been in a paper mill and one of my mottos is, ‘one day of seeing is better than 30 days of reading,’” King said.

He said the reason for staff to visit area businesses was twofold: “One is to give an opportunity to see what (businesses) do here, because they work on these things firsthand; and secondly, it’s an opportunity for us as a group (to see) what can we do better, what are the issues that are going to be coming up, and where should I be focusing my attention.”

During the luncheon, King and his staff were introduced to Region 9 instructor and chef Ryan Kimball and the eight culinary arts students who prepared corn chowder, sandwiches and apple crisp for their guests.

School Director Brenda Gammon told the crowd that the school has 11 programs and is a member of Maine’s network of Career and Technical Education schools.

King and some of his staff also visited the Colleges & Trades Job Fair at the school after the meal. University of Maine schools, several Maine Community colleges and many other schools and businesses were represented at the fair.

Region 9 computer technology student Eric Hodsdon of Mexico said he was interested in attending the University of Maine at Farmington for its computer technician program, while Selina Creelman of Bethel, a first-year culinary arts student at Region 9, was interested in furthering her career in cooking by going to either UMF or a school in New York, she said.

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U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, and his wife, Mary Herman, attend a luncheon at the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico with his staff Thursday.

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, attends the Region 9 School of Applied Technology’s College and Trades Fair on Thursday in Mexico.

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