I am writing to commend Sen. Susan Collins on her efforts to save Maine’s tourism season with the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act of 2017. In an example of leadership, Sen. Collins acted for Mainers.
On March 13, the arbitrary cap for the guest worker H-2B visa program was met. Small and seasonal businesses, from Kittery to Bar Harbor, were shut out of important seasonal labor. Ogunquit alone estimated that family businesses would stand to lose millions.
With the possibility that entire sections of hotels, restaurants and more would be shuttered, Sen. Collins listened to the families and to the people of Maine, and acted.
According to the Maine Office of Tourism, tourism supports nearly 99,000 jobs, roughly 15 percent of employment in Maine. The H-2B program allows tourism businesses to operate at a greater capacity, retain their full-time workers and contribute to their local communities. Every H-2B worker is estimated to create and sustain 4.64 American jobs and helps support many upstream and downstream jobs.
These are challenging times for public service. In co-sponsoring the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act, Sen. Collins worked in a bipartisan manner to address an important need. Let us hope that her efforts on this matter quickly are approved, save the season and stand as an example that our leaders can and must work together for the good of our communities.