If we want Maine to remain competitive and economically sound, we must invest in the next generation of workers. With the Legislature likely to return next week after weeks of inaction, I hope my colleagues will join me in supporting bonds that will do just that. After all, Maine students, families and businesses are counting on it.

There are many worthy bonds worth consideration, including those that support transportation infrastructure, broadband expansion and watershed protection – all essential to our way of life. However, bonds that would support workforce development efforts in our community college and university systems, career and technology centers and school safety are equally important.

This year, the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee reached a bipartisan agreement on three priorities to help ensure Maine students can attend public schools with safe drinking water, learn in secure facilities and graduate with the skills to support themselves and our growing industries.

Unfortunately, the bonds to address these issues are still awaiting final action. They include efforts to update equipment in our career and technology centers to reflect industry standards, and recapitalize the state’s revolving school renovation fund (the current balance is $0) so schools can renovate, upgrade security systems and make repairs, avoiding more costly new construction. The higher-education bonds would help the Maine Community College System and the University of Maine System make strategic investments to attract and retain more qualified young people in Maine.

Investing in our roads is important, but so is investing in human capital. Both are essential to the future of our state. I hope my colleagues and legislative leaders will join me in supporting these critical bonds.

Rebecca Millett

Democratic state senator; member, Education and Cultural Affairs Committee

Cape Elizabeth