Maine NEW Leadership Application Open

Maine NEW (National Education for Women) Leadership will host its annual six-day residential undergraduate student leadership training program June 1 – June 6, 2017 at the University of Maine.  We are looking for a diverse group of students who are motivated to learn about the importance of women’s participation in public life and to develop their own leadership skills.

As always, this six day program is completely free and is available to any full time college students who are either Maine residents or attending college in Maine. International students and May 2017 graduates are welcome as well!

The deadline is February 1, and all of the information and online applications are here:…/maine-new-leadership/


Jonathan Rubin presents to U.S. Transportation Research Board

Policy Center director Jonathan Rubin gave a research presentation at the Transportation Research Board (TRB) 96th Annual Meeting, held January 8–12, 2017 in Washington, D.C.  The introduction of automated vehicles requires new approaches to transportation policy and Rubin’s research examines the efficient taxation policies for automated vehicles.

Leiby, Paul and Jonathan Rubin, “Efficient Fuel and VMT Taxation for Automated Vehicles,” in Methods for Projecting and Evaluating Energy and Demand Impacts of Vehicle Automation, Transportation Research Board 96th Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, January 8, 2017.

The annual transportation meeting addresses topics of interest to policy makers, administrators, practitioners, researchers, and representatives of government, industry, and academic institutions. The theme for the 2017 meeting was Transportation Innovation: Leading the Way in an Era of Rapid Change.


Summer intern’s work now offered as a free finance guide

State Offers New Consumer Booklet Free to Maine Residents:
“On the Money – A Young Person’s Guide to Personal Finance”

Maine’s Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection announces the release of a new consumer publication, “The Downeaster Common Sense Guide: On the Money – A Young Person’s Guide to Personal Finance.” The booklet is one of the many products of Maine government enhanced by a college student’s 12-week summer internship through the Maine Government Summer Internship Program administered by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center. During the summer of 2016 thirty-nine college students worked in internships in Maine state and municipal governments through this internship program.

Kyrie Johnson, who co-authored the guide while serving a Maine Government Summer Intern in the Bureau, emphasized the value of the publication for young people.  “As a current college student, I believe the topics in this guide are exactly the ones that many young adults say they lack basic knowledge.  We learn many subjects in school, but from K-12 and in post-secondary education it’s rare to find courses that cover financial literacy.  I hope this booklet will make a positive difference in the financial well-being of my peers.”

Bureau Principal Examiner David Leach, who coauthored the guide, said it will help people become more “situationally-aware” when facing major decisions or making key choices about their finances, including:

  • The financing of a vehicle or student loans
  • Establishing and maintaining credit responsibly
  • The significance of credit reports and credit scores
  • The fundamentals of purchasing stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments
  • Comparison-shopping for the lowest annual percentage rate (APR) when using credit
  • The basics of auto, home, life and health insurance
  • Realizing that credit cards do not represent “free money,” and that charges and cash advances must be paid back, with interest
  • Avoiding too-good-to-be-true fraudulent offers, such as foreign lottery winnings, no-interest loans, or no-risk investments

On the Money is the 10th Downeaster consumer protection guide released by the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection in the past eight years,” Leach said.  “Our goal is to provide essential financial literacy publications on a variety of topics, including auto and home buying, the responsible use of credit cards, comparison shopping for student loans, understanding credit reports and file freezes, helping elders fight back against financial exploitation, and recognizing financial scams.”

The online version of this new guide and all other “Downeaster Common Sense” financial publications can be found at by clicking “Publications” and finding “On the Money.” Copies can also be ordered by calling the Bureau at 1-800-332-8529 (toll-free in Maine) or 624-8527.

The Maine Government Summer Internship Program places college students in 12-week internships with state or municipal government agencies in Maine. More information on the program is available under Student Programs on our website:


Rubin serving on jury to select Best Mauritian Scientist Award recipient

Jonathan Rubin, director of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and professor of economics, is serving on a three-member jury to select the recipient of the Best Mauritian Scientist Award. The award is an initiative of the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Communication and is managed by the Mauritius Research Council. The government-approved award, which recognizes an individual for their work in the fields of Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Technology, will be presented this year on Dec. 12. A story about the first award recipient is online. As part of the nationally televised event on Monday, Rubin will speak about his research and the potential for Mauritius to increase its uptake of renewable energy.

Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Sen. Dawn Hill Visits Campus

Maine Senator Dawn Hill visited UMaine on December 1st as part of the Center’s Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows (DMPF) Program. The program brings prominent Maine policy makers to campus for a day to talk with undergraduate classes, engage with faculty on research and public policy issues, and meet with UMaine administration and graduate students.

During her visit Senator Hill met with students in the School of Economics, with faculty in the School of Business and College of Engineering, with researchers in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture, and with UMaine administrators and researchers. She toured the Maine Business School Capital Markets Training Lab and the Advanced Structures and Composites Center.

It was Hill’s first opportunity to see some of the research aspects of the university. Sen. Hill noted that the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows program helps legislators better understand the varied activities of UMaine and its contribution to the state.

Senator Hill represents Eliot, Kittery, Ogunquit, York, South Berwick and a part of Berwick. Now in her third term, Sen. Hill currently serves as the Assistant Senate Democratic Leader and serves on the Energy, Utility and Technology Committee. Previously she was the Senate Chair of the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee. Hill served two terms in the House of Representatives, during which time she served on the Judiciary Committee and as the House Chair of the Government Oversight Committee.

Report from the Maine Government Summer Internship Program

The Maine Government Summer Internship Program placed 39 students in full-time internship positions with state, local, and regional agencies in Maine this past summer.  Student projects included communications, GIS, bridge engineering, transportation planning, city administration, education research and more. The report on this year’s program is now available.

Supervisors praised the work of their interns who completed projects that in some cases may have taken years for the staff to accomplish. Interns’ work included producing publications, researching tourism development, developing options for land use and transportation, mapping for emergency management agencies, producing videos, and leading client mediations. As one supervisor noted, “This is a great way to give a student a chance to find out how government works.”

2016 was a very successful  year, with students saying, “I learned so much in such a short period of time and was able to get some valuable experience in the field I want to go into,” and “I’ve learned more about actual engineering this summer than I have in my entire college career.”

The report on the internship program is available on our website and will be distributed to all members of the Maine Legislature.

See the 2016 Internship Report

For more information on the Maine Government Summer Internship Program please see the website.

Maine Government Summer Internship Program

U.S. Senator Angus King Speaks on Climate Change

U.S. Senator Angus King spoke to the UMaine community on the topic of “Maine and Climate Change: The View from Greenland.” Senator King addressed interested students, faculty, and members of the public on Thursday, November 10, for the Senator Margaret Chase Smith Lectureship on Public Affairs for 2016. He explained the causes and impacts of climate change over time, talked about seeing Greenland’s melting glaciers firsthand, and encouraged the audience to learn more about the science of climate change. After his talk Senator King responded to questions solicited from the UMaine student body, moderated by Allyson Eslin, a past Margaret Chase Smith public affairs scholar.

Click on the arrows in the photo above for more photos of Sen. King’s lecture.
video of Senator King’s talk is available at

Each year UMaine’s Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center brings to campus a person of national status to deliver a lecture in the field of civic and public life. The Senator Margaret Chase Smith Lectureship on Public Affairs was endowed in 1989 by the Margaret Chase Smith Foundation in honor of Senator Smith’s contributions to Maine and to the nation.


Sen. Dawn Hill is Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow Dec. 1st

Maine State Senator Dawn Hill will visit UMaine on Thursday, December 1, as the next Distinguished Maine Policy Fellow. Hill is the state senator representing Eliot, Kittery, Ogunquit, York, and South Berwick and part of Berwick. She will meet with students, faculty, and researchers on campus throughout the day. A public reception will be held at the University Club in Fogler Library at 4:00PM. Her visit is sponsored by the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and the UMaine College of Engineering.

More information is available on the Distinguished Maine Policy Fellows Program.

Sorg’s Research on Drug Overdose Deaths in Maine in BDN

Drug overdose deaths in Maine continue to surge,  fueled largely by an increase in deaths due to fentanyl, as reported by the Office of the Maine Attorney General, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner and Dr. Marcella Sorg of the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center.

Attorney General Janet T. Mills today released statistics on drug overdose deaths through the first nine months of 2016. With 286 deaths through the end of September, overdose deaths have already exceeded the total number for all of 2015 when there were 272 drug overdose deaths in Maine.  This dramatic increase is mainly due to illicitly manufactured (non-pharmaceutical) fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, although the number of deaths due to other drugs is also increasing. Many are due to combinations of drugs.

Dr. Marcella Sorg, research professor at the Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center, is a medical and forensic anthropologist who analyzes overdose deaths in Maine for the state’s attorney general.

The Bangor Daily News reported on the issue in today’s article, ‘One person a day is dying’ in Maine, drug overdose numbers surpass 2015.

The Portland Press Herald also reports on the issue: Drug overdose deaths in Maine now averaging 1 a day.

Research Professor Trostel Examines Fiscal Impact of Too Little Saving for Retirement

Margaret Chase Smith Policy Center and School of Economics Professor Phil Trostel has received funding from AARP for new research on “The Fiscal Implications of Inadequate Saving for Retirement”.

Most workers do not save enough for retirement.  According to AARP Maine, one-third of Mainers 65+ rely entirely on Social Security, an average annual income of $14,000, and the typical working household in Maine has only $3,000 saved for retirement.

Saving even the smallest amount today will improve financial security in retirement.

The lack of personal saving for retirement means many of the costs of retirement for are covered through government spending, by transfer payments such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, various types of cash assistance, energy assistance, housing subsidies, and Supplemental Security Income.

A new study by Professor Phil Trostel will look at the fiscal costs (costs to federal/state/local governments) of “new retirees” (people turning 65 in coming years) by calculating transfer payments (cash and in-kind) to this population. Trostel’s research will then estimate the difference between fiscal costs and retirement income. After determining this current fiscal cost, Trostel will examine how future retirees differ from current retirees in their retirement income, and then estimate the projected cost to government from new retirees.

The final step in the study will be to estimate the fiscal savings to the federal and state government if new retirees had saved more for retirement. Results emphasized in the report will be for Maine and the United States, and projections will be for the 15 years from 2018 through 2032.