Trostel’s report on Trans-Pacific Partnership featured in the BDN

The Bangor Daily News highlights a new report by Professor Phil Trostel showing the impact to Maine of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP, creating the world’s largest free-trade zone, would have a small but mostly beneficial impact on Maine.

Philip Trostel, an economist at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center at UMaine and one of the study’s lead authors, says gains under the TPP for Maine are small because the U.S. already has free trade agreements with six of the 11 TPP nations, including Maine’s most significant trading partner, Canada. As a result, tariffs already are low with these nations and trade flows freely. Free trade with these countries also means cheaper imports as well as growth in earnings from exports of U.S. products. Savings from lower priced goods would give Mainers additional money to spend elsewhere in the economy.

“Most Maine employers aren’t going to be affected by the TPP, although some firms will see increased trade opportunities and expand,” Trostel said.

On the other side of the ledger, TPP could impact the state’s manufacturing sector, as competition from low-cost imports pushes struggling local producers out of the marketplace.

The report concludes that, overall, the Pacific trade pact is a net gain for the Maine economy, though a small one.

Read the full article in the Bangor Daily News:
Maine will benefit from increased trade under the TPP, but those gains are very modest


Walt Whitcomb to visit UMaine as Distinguished Policy Fellow

Walt Whitcomb, the Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, will visit UMaine on Thursday, October 6, as the next Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. Whitcomb will meet with students, faculty, and researchers on campus. A public reception will be held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4:00PM. His visit is sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the School of Forest Resources.

More information on the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows Program.

Sorg’s Analysis of Drug Deaths in the News

Professor Marcella Sorg’s recent analysis of drug deaths in Maine forms the basis of a story in the Bangor Daily News today. Her research indicates that In the first six months of 2016, 189 people in Maine died by drug overdose, an increase of 50 percent over the same time last year. Dr. Marcella Sorg is a University of Maine medical and forensic anthropologist and Policy Center research professor  who analyzes overdose deaths for the state’s attorney general.

Read the story here:
Maine suffers record number of fatal drug overdoses in first half of 2016

Rubin Quoted on Biofuel Development

Professor Jonathan Rubin was interviewed for a Bangor Daily News article on research to develop energy from trees in Maine. Rubin’s economic research focuses on how to commercialize biofuel development for use in the transportation industry. Last month the U.S. Department of Defense announced a $3.3 million investment into ongoing research at the University of Maine, some of which may assist UMaine’s Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative in its efforts to develop a wood-based biofuel from Maine’s forests. The recent article in the Bangor Daily News appears here:

Maine trees could fuel military jets, but as long as oil costs $40 a barrel, it’ll be a while

Summer Government Interns Meet in the State House

This summer 39 student interns are serving in state, regional, and municipal government offices in Maine.  The interns recently convened in Augusta  to each discuss their summer internship position and tasks. Hosted in a wide range of government agencies and offices, the internships vary greatly in content, with topics ranging from communications, geographic information systems, and education policy to traffic design and wildlife monitoring.  The interns heard a presentation about the status of Maine’s labor market and workforce from Ruth Pease of the Center for Workforce Research and Information. The afternoon was spent at the State House hearing from staff in partisan and non-partisan offices about their work and how they came to their jobs. While most interns had been to the State House before, for many it was their first visit and chance to hear from the dedicated people who contribute to the Maine Legislature.

The Maine Government Summer Internship Program, administered by the Policy Center, was started in 1967 to provide opportunities for students to contribute to government and benefit from the work experience. Internships last twelve weeks and are full-time paid employment in a state agency, municipal or regional government, or quasi governmental organization.

Summer Government Internships are Underway

Thirty-nine interns are taking part in the Maine Government Summer Internship Program this year. The internships are full-time for 12 weeks, with placements in ten different agencies of Maine state government and five municipal, regional, or quasi-governmental organizations. Internship topic areas range from engineering, environment, and GIS to public relations, education, law, and planning. The students are all either Maine residents or attending a college in Maine. Interns are usually third or fourth year undergraduates, while some are non-traditional, law, or graduate students. For some it is their first experience in a professional job, and others come to the internship with many professional skills. By the end of the summer students accomplish at least one major project, learn new ways they can contribute to their state, and always tell us how dedicated Maine’s state and local government workers are.

The Maine Government Summer Internship Program was established in 1967 by the 103rd Legislature “to attract and select college students with ambition and talent for temporary internships within State Government.” This year it has expanded to local and municipal government. Since 1967, more than 1730 interns have participated in the program.

Maine NEW Leadership Starts Today

A group of 28 students with a variety of majors and interests from colleges around the state will take part in the eighth Maine NEW Leadership – a residential conference that aims to strengthen political skills and build civic engagement.

Throughout the free program, students will participate in workshops hosted by women leaders from politics, business and education.

A Bangor Daily News article previews the keynote speaker, Rep. Cyndi Munson of Oklahoma:

Read the full press release:

New Issue of Maine Policy Review

The latest issue of Maine Policy Review is now available on Digital Commons. Volume 25, number 1, features articles and commentaries on topics of waste management in Maine, immigration and demographic changes, drug-induced mortality in the state, the proposed park in Maine’s north woods, and community development. This issue also includes the 2015 Margaret Chase Smith Library high school essay contest winners.

Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship Awarded

The Margaret Chase Smith Public Affairs Scholarship for 2016-17 has been awarded to UMaine rising senior Sierra Kuun for work she plans to carry out at the Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions. A chemical engineering major, Kuun is part of the MItchell Center Materials Management team. Her proposed research project will focus on household solid waste.

The scholarship involves working with faculty advisors to conduct research throughout the 2016-17 academic year. Her project will focus on waste reduction through implementing a pilot program at UMaine that will give students living in campus apartments the opportunity to divert food scraps and have them converted into compost that is used around campus. The data collected from her project will help inform public policy on the management of household waste at the university level and the broader community.

“We have developed a list of goals on how to tackle the problem of organic waste in Maine through increasing awareness of the benefits of composting, reaching out to organizations involved in food production and processing, and connecting them to organizations who specialize in managing food waste, and participating in community events,” Kuun says.

Kuun will present the results of her project at the UMaine 2017 Student Research Symposium next April.

Two talks to highlight Margaret Chase Smith Library’s annual meeting

The Margaret Chase Smith Library’s annual Maine Town Meeting on May 19 will be highlighted by a talks that combine historical perspective with political analysis.

Professor Heather Cox Richardson of Boston College will speak about her history of the Republican Party, “To Make Men Free.” Daniel Shea, director of the Goldfarb Center for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement at Colby College, will speak on the long-established conventional understandings of American politics.

The Maine Town Meeting begins with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by the program at 9 a.m. The event is free; lunch is $10 per person.

The Margaret Chase Smith Library in Skowhegan is owned by the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation and operated under its auspices by the University of Maine. For more information about the event or to request a disability accommodation, call the library, 474.7133.