Tuesday, March 11, 2014
The Honorable Paul LePage
Governor of Maine
1 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333
Dear Governor LePage,
I write you today to request a meeting to discuss statements released by the former Commissioner of the Department of Marine Resources Norman Olsen to the public yesterday, as well as, the future of the city and state's combined efforts to develop and enact policies to help restore the state's groundfishing fleet.
As I am sure you are aware, Mr. Olsen claims that during a meeting with you, you instructed the then-Commissioner that there was to be no further collaboration with the City of Portland to develop measures to return groundfishing boats to Maine. Mr. Olsen also asserts that you made the following statements in this meeting. "Portland was against him, he said, and we will not work with that city. Rather than work with Portland, he said, we'll build a new port somewhere."I trust you understand that regardless of the veracity of these statements, the public and the City of Portland need to be reassured that economic development in all Maine communities, both large and small, are a priority for the Governor's office. More germane to Mr. Olsen's claim, is a need to clearly understand your commitment to the state's marine industries of which groundfishing has and continues to be an integral part.
The City of Portland and the State of Maine have worked in partnership under the leadership of every Governor to expand economic opportunity and spur growth for all industries including marine-based businesses. Whether through the lease arrangement with the Maine Port Authority for the International Marine Terminal to allow for the expansion of cargo shipping or through the recent passage of legislation that created a tax exemption for the purchase of fuel for local ground fishing boats, there has been a mutual understanding that economic growth in the Port of Portland isn't just good for Portland, it's good for Maine. Statements implying that the Governor's office "will not work" with Portland, true or not, are harmful to the business climate both locally and statewide.
I hope that you will clear this matter up publicly by reassuring local business owners and employees that the economic engine of Portland is, and will continue to be, an important priority for your administration, and by meeting with city officials and members of the ground fishing industry to discuss ways we can work together to help bring our ground fishing fleet and the jobs and economic opportunity that comes with them back to Maine.
Thank you for your prompt response to this request and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss this issue in greater detail in the near future.
Nicholas M. Mavodones