The state Legislature recently passed the Maine Buy American and Build Maine Act, and now it’s up to Gov. Janet Mills to sign it.

I spent years working in a paper mill and am a proud member of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, and current president of the Western Maine Labor Council. So I know firsthand that Maine’s workers and manufacturers are among the hardest working out there — and they can compete against anyone in the world.

But right now, they face an unlevel playing field. They are competing for state-funded contracts against foreign companies who are often heavily subsidized by their government and don’t follow the same labor and environmental standards as we do in Maine.

The Buy American, Build Maine Act would give local workers and businesses the first shot at these state taxpayer-funded contracts. It just makes sense. We should reinvest tax money into American companies and their employees whenever possible.

Why should our tax money be sent overseas, when there are folks willing and able to do the work right in our own backyard, and at a fair price?

Gov. Mills should sign this bill.

Linda Deane, Livermore Falls

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