Margaret Chase Smith Essay

What’s in a Name? Being a League of Women Voters in 2022

by Anna Kellar

In this essay, Anna Kellar explores the ways in which the League of Women Voters in Maine lives up to its mission of making democracy work.

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Margaret Chase Smith Library High School Essay Contest Winners

Each year the Margaret Chase Smith Library sponsors an essay contest for high school seniors. The essay prompt for 2022 asked students to consider what the proper role of government should be in responding to the current coronavirus pandemic.


Drug-Related Morbidity and Mortality in Maine: Lost Productivity from 2015 to 2020

by Angela Daley, Prianka Maria Sarker, Liam Sigaud, Marcella H. Sorg, and Jamie A. Wren

This article characterizes drug-related morbidity and mortality in Maine between 2015 and 2020. In 2019, lost productivity was $271 million (annual) from morbidity and $565 million (lifetime) from mortality. These estimates reflect the lost value to Maine that occurs when individuals cannot fully contribute to the labor market or nonmarket activities. On balance, this study provides important information about the drug epidemic in Maine, which may be helpful to decision makers as they design and evaluate relevant policies and programs.

Maine and Offshore Wind Development: Using the Coastal Zone Management Act and Marine Spatial Planning to Influence Projects in Federal Waters

by Mary Morrissey

This article looks to Rhode Island to show how Maine can participate in decisions about offshore wind development and compares Maine’s current offshore wind efforts and potential for marine spatial planning to Rhode Island’s. The article also proposes short- and long-term actions to guide Maine’s development of the offshore wind industry in federal waters.

Facing a Care Crunch: Childcare Disruption and Economic Hardships for Maine Parents during COVID-19

by Sarah F. Small

Pandemic-related childcare center closures along with virtual schooling forced many Maine parents to juggle their paid work with care responsibilities, often with dire economic consequences. In this article, I examine changes in the state’s childcare landscape and illustrate how the childcare crisis during the COVID-19 pandemic affected Mainers’ economic wellbeing. Using Household Pulse Survey data, I show how care disruptions dampened Mainer’s incomes and their ability to work, placing many in precarious economic situations. I conclude with an investigation of the effectiveness of policy solutions like the Child Tax Credit and further policy suggestions to support childcare in the state.

Estimated Greenhouse Gas Emissions from PFAS Treatment of Maine Drinking Water

by Benjamin L. McAlexander, Onur G. Apul, Mitchell R. Olson, and Jean MacRae

State law requires the adoption of a maximum contaminant level (MCL) for PFAS contamination in drinking water by June 1, 2024. While discussion of mitigation options has included the degree of risk reduction and the cost of treatment, indirect environmental effects are missing from the conversation. Until other technologies are developed, water treatment in Maine will likely rely on the established, energy-intensive method of PFAS adsorption (binding) to granular activated carbon. This article reports on an inventory of greenhouse gas emissions associated with water treatment using this treatment media to fill gaps in the discussion.

Forever Chemicals Needing Immediate Solutions: Mainers’ Preferences for Addressing PFAS Contamination

by Charity H. Zimmerman, Caroline L. Noblet, and Molly Shea

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse class of synthetic fluorinated chemicals also referred to as “forever chemicals.” The release of these chemicals into the environment presents an urgent, emerging threat to human and environmental health. Decision-makers seeking to address a variety of PFAS-related issues need better understanding of citizens’ knowledge of PFAS contamination and their preferences for managing the issue. To provide this vital information, the authors analyze data from a survey of Maine citizens. They assess Maine residents’ baseline knowledge of PFAS contamination, as well as their preferences for generation and allocation of funds to address PFAS contamination in Maine.

Research Briefs

Examining the Experiences of Small, Independent Grocers during the COVID-19 Pandemic

by Jamie Picardy, Lisa Luken, Iris Michaud, and Martha Lefebvre

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed existing vulnerabilities across various sectors of the economy and society. Disruptions to the food chain have been common during the pandemic, resulting in empty shelves at grocery stores and modifications to consumer culture. Within this study, we examined resilience (characterized by flexibility, diversity, redundancy, adaptability, innovation, self-reliance and infrastructure) of small, independent grocery stores in Maine.