The current unemployment rate is relatively low, but there are still many unemployed or underemployed Mainers. In 1998, Congress addressed this problem with state grants to provide local programs that help people gain the skills needed to reach their maximum potential within the work force. Maine’s share of funding in recent years has been approximately $3 million dollars.

In 2016, Gov. LePage, arguing that the programs should be centrally administered, blocked regional access to those federal funds, thus seriously disrupting local services. Under court order, he finally released the funds, allowing the regional offices to try to reconstruct the programs that had operated so successfully for many years.

Janet Mills has pledged not to interfere with the funding for these valuable work force development programs. Her Republican opponent has made no such promise and his statements fully supporting Gov. LePage’s policies suggest that he may continue the governor’s obstructionist practices.

Elaine Makas, Lewiston

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