My family owes a lot to Bath Iron Works.

My father worked there for 26 years as a blacksmith. Dad, as he so eloquently put it, “smashed the poop out of things” for eight hours a day. At the end of the day he clocked out, picked us up from school, made dinner, did laundry and had a glass of wine ready for when my mom came home. BIW allowed my parents to raise a family, put kids through school and build their dream home. That’s what’s at stake in this state: People like my father. And, people like me.

When I graduated from college, it took me three months to find a job in Maine. And what I found was hourly and without benefits. Bath Iron Works is not nirvana, but it takes care of its employees. It spends $350 million employing Maine citizens. I’m a fortunate son for finding a job at Bath Iron Works. I earn a living. I have benefits. I can spend money in the community. The owners of Portland Pie Co. can certainly vouch for that.

It doesn’t take an economist to tell you that Maine isn’t the most fertile ground when it comes to opportunity. There is no line of Fortune 500 companies parked on I-95, ready to set up shop in Maine towns. Pickings are damn slim. And the arguments being made about a corporate parent being too wealthy to deserve a $60 million state tax incentive over 20 years fail to consider the lives that Bath Iron Works betters here in Maine.

BIW has hired 2,000 people since 2014. That’s 2,000 people paying taxes, putting their kids through school, going out to Portland Pie and buying clothes at L.L Bean’s. Putting money into Maine communities. Spout profit margins and stock prices until you’re hoarse, but don’t forget the human beings who owe their livelihood to Bath Iron Works.

Drew Marshall

Topsham