Document Type



Good day.

During my six years as governor of Maine, I have signed a lot of important bills into law.

We’ve protected people from discrimination, balanced tough budgets, made some structural reforms in education and health care and invested in the state’s economy.

On Monday, I signed a special piece of legislation that will help college students and the state’s economy well into the future. It’s called Opportunity Maine.

The bill was brought to the Legislature by a dedicated group of young people – many of them recent college graduates – determined to make Maine more hospitable for students by addressing the problem of college debt.

More than 500 volunteers worked statewide to gather more than 60,000 signatures. The bill was destined for the ballot.

But a bipartisan group of state lawmakers took up the cause and helped pass the bill. But they didn’t just pass the bill, they passed it with overwhelming support in both the House and Senate. As a matter of fact, it was unanimous in the House, of all the republicans and all the democrats. And in the Senate it was 27-8, sending it to my desk for signature.

I was very proud to sign it.

Opportunity Maine is a prime example of the innovation and commitment that young people have to the state of Maine.

Mainers love this state and want to stay here after graduation. That’s what this bill is all about.

I was pleased 2 weeks ago to tell the participants of Girls and Boys State – those are juniors throughout the State of Maine in high school - that I was going to sign that legislation.

Because I wanted them to know, when I looked out and saw them among the most promising faces in our state to let them know that we in the state capital care about them, and that we want them to stay here in Maine.

They are our future leaders, and we can’t afford to lose them.

I believe in this legislation, and I know that it’s a key to opening up opportunity for Maine’s students.

My parents raised eight of us, and they made it clear the importance of education and higher education. Making sure that we had the chance for an education was one of the ways they took care of us. They instilled the idea of getting an education is one of the foundations where we could then put out our shingle, be able to determine our own prosperity, and realize our real opportunities here for ourselves and our families.

This legislation gives us the tools to offer more to our young people - a fresh start right here at home.

Because we don’t believe that earning a degree should force any graduate out of state in order to pay off their student loans.

We don’t want our graduates to be debt-ridden because they make the choice to stay here in Maine after graduation.

For four years, my administration has worked hard and maintained tight budgets, reformed and restructured the administration of administration of education and health care. Now that’s beginning to pay off, and we can put more resources into where they need to go in terms of tax relief, especially property tax relief, and higher education opportunities for all of our citizens.

This is about our generation rolling up our sleeves and laying the foundation for the next generation.

We’re telling our students: If you live, work and pay taxes in Maine, you’re not going to have this student debt hanging around your neck.

Additionally, this legislation helps Maine businesses because it provides for them a well-educated work force.

We will keep more of our home-grown graduates here, and attract more back to the state.

This legislation is a big deal. It’s going to require us to invest significant resources in the future, but we’ll be spending that money on the right thing.

Nobody gets this tax credit unless they’re living and working and paying taxes in Maine. For that, we have a wise investment in our children, in our future and in our state’s economic future, and I believe it will pay huge dividends.

Thank you very much.

Exact Creation Date






Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "Save As"



Rights Statement

Rights Statement

No Copyright - United States. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/NoC-US/1.0/
The organization that has made the Item available believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries. Please refer to the organization that has made the Item available for more information.