st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband" /> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband" /> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband" />
Friday September 16, 2011 | 02:19 PM

Rep. Mike Michaud today formally introduced a bill that “clarifies” that a federal law requiring the military outfit soldiers with American-made apparel includes athletic footwear.

But he also wrote a letter to President Obama saying that legislation shouldn’t be needed.

Michaud, D-2nd, along with GOP Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine, have been campaigning for some time for the Department of Defense to mandate military branches buy American-made athletic shoes for recruits.

Massachusetts-based New Balance has three plants in Maine – Skowhegan, Norridgewock and Norway – and two in Massachusetts and its U.S. factories manufacture 25 percent of New Balance shoes. New Balance has said it can produce “Berry amendment” compliant shoes, and made 5,000 pairs recently to show that capacity, a reference to the name for the World War II era law that mandates American-made goods for U.S. soldiers.

Currently most branches of the military give vouchers to recruits to pick the athletic shoes of their choice, while the Marines don’t pay for shoes. The Defense Department has said that individual soldiers have different athletic shoes needs, and it would be difficult to outfit them all with the same shoe.

New Balance, the only company making athletic shoes in the United States, has said it is not looking for a guaranteed contract, and would find other domestic shoemakers willing to bid on the chance to make athletic shoes for the military.

In his letter to Obama, Michaud wrote, “I write to urge you to instruct the Secretary of Defense to issue American-made athletic footwear to our enlisted soldiers, something they should already be doing.”

While he is introducing legislation, “frankly, this situation does not have to be fixed legislatively,” Michaud wrote. “It can be fixed administratively.”

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

About the Author

Kevin Miller is Washington bureau chief for the Portland Press Herald and MaineToday Media. He has worked as a journalist in Maine for 6 ½ years, covering the environment, politics and the State House. Before arriving in Maine, he wrote about politics, government and education for newspapers in Virginia and Maryland.
Kevin can be reached at 317-6256 or kmiller@mainetoday.com

Subscribe to the
Maine on the Hill RSS

Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

More

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.