Well folks, that’s a wrap on 2018. For me, this year has had many high points, such as in September, when I had the opportunity to teach students from across the state about insects during the Maine State Museum’s annual Bug Maine-ia event, or this November, when I was once again re-elected to serve as your state senator, which has been an honor and privilege.

There have been some low points, too, like when members of the legislature were unable to put aside their partisanship to reach a compromise, and we were forced to briefly shut down the government, or when we learned of the tragic deaths of Kendall Chick and Marissa Kennedy and the failure of the child welfare system to protect those children. A lack of compromise and child welfare reform are two problems I hope we are able to make progress on in the coming legislative session.

Each new year also brings with it new reasons for hope and optimism, and 2019 is no exception. Here are a few things that I’m feeling optimistic about for the coming year:

I predict 2019 will be a big year for economic development and jobs in Penobscot County. In Old Town, Nine Dragons purchased the Old Town mill and has pledged to restart it in the new year, which should bring over 100 good-paying jobs back to the mill. Recent developments on this front have been good, with news breaking that the mill will receive $12 million in tax credits.

In Millinockett, the news has been more mixed, as we learned earlier this month that Ligna Terra has backed out of the deal to redevelop the Katahdin Mill site. Even with this setback, I am confident that the committed, hardworking group of local leaders at Our Katahdin, who are spearheading this monumental project, will be successful in their endeavor to redevelop the site.

On a related note, I am excited to be sponsoring a bill this session to support the production of forest bioproducts including bioplastics, concrete, and other innovative products that are more environmentally friendly and are developed from Maine wood. These products could be the future of the forest products industry.

There are a few folks from my Senate district who give me hope for the new year as well. Earlier this month, in the Penobscot Times, I read about Brenda Davis, an Old Town resident who just completed her annual walking tour to raise awareness and funds to combat hunger in Maine. Brenda partnered with Maine’s credit unions, visiting 96 locations and raising more than $33,000 to combat hunger in Maine. Brava, Brenda.

I know we were all very proud to see the University of Maine Black Bears football team advance all the way to the CAA subdivision semifinals this year, and we in Old Town were particularly proud to see our very own wide receiver Andre Miller complete nine catches, 129 yards and score a touchdown in his final game of the season. I expect we’ll see great things from Andre next season, in his junior year.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected], or to call my office at (207) 287-1515 or my personal phone at (207) 827-3498. My line is always open.

filed under: