Voters got a lot of things right on Tuesday, but one place where they missed the mark was voting on Question 2.

Question 2 would have allotted more than $11 million for capital improvements at the University of Maine system, Maine Community College System and Maine Maritime Academy, including funds to help equip a new machine technology program at York County Community College.

Although all of the other state bond questions and same-sex marriage were approved by Maine voters, this important measure was shot down by a vote of 332,208 to 346,541 ”“ approximately 49 to 51 percent.

It is unfortunate that voters did not elect to spend this modest amount of money to help train and educate a new generation of skilled workers needed in southern Maine. This bond would certainly have helped YCCC in its new endeavor and possibly allowed more students to get into the program more quickly.

YCCC plans to open a site in south Sanford for its new integrated manufacturing degree program, and the extra $805,000 in the bond would have helped pay for equipment for the site. The program’s goal is to provide skilled workers for York County’s manufacturing facilities like Pratt & Whitney in North Berwick, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery and General Dynamics in Saco.

Leaders at these companies have said there will be a great need in the coming years as a generation of baby boomers retire. YCCC ”“ along with Southern Maine Community College, which already has a similar program ”“ is poised to meet that need.

Questions 3 through 5 were approved and will help fund land conservation easements, infrastructure improvements, and upgrades to drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities. The bonds could bring in nearly $150 million in matching federal grants.

Although these questions passed, we now need Gov. Paul LePage to honor the people’s decisions by ordering the bonds. In a statement in June, LePage said even if voters authorize the bonds, he would not spend the funds until the state’s debt is lowered “significantly.”

Despite his personal beliefs, he was elected to represent the people of Maine, and the people of Maine have spoken.

We hope the Legislature will also see the need in southern Maine for more training and education for future skilled workers and make the funds necessary available to YCCC and other schools doing their part to fill jobs with qualified people in the area.


Today’s editorial was written by City Editor Robyn Burnham on behalf of the Journal Tribune Editorial Board. Questions? Comments? Contact Managing Editor Kristen Schulze Muszynski by calling 282-1535, Ext. 322, or via email at [email protected].