My family has owned and operated a lobster pound in Pine Point for 106 years, and for the last 42 years, I’ve had the pleasure of working in and expanding the legacy my family has created through four generations of hard work and grit, with the support of our local community and seasonal tourists.

Over the last 10 years, my husband and I have expanded our businesses to include several restaurants, growing from 20 employees to more than 150. Most of these jobs are highly seasonal in nature, which is why we’ve come to rely on the H2B program for upward of 9 percent of our crew. While that percentage is small, it is crucial, and without the help of our overseas team, we would have to lessen our hours of operation, cutting down on hours for our local workforce.

Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult to find local residents to fill our back-of-the-house kitchen jobs. Most qualified kitchen workers are seeking year-round employment, and the seasonal locals who we can draw choose front-of-the-house jobs.

That’s where the H2B program comes in. While participation is pricey, it has allowed us to fill in the gaps as we’ve expanded over the years, which is why we need the H2B cap to be extended now to allow us to prepare for the upcoming season.

Thankfully, Sen. Susan Collins understands our urgency, and she’s working hard in Washington to make sure that Maine businesses have access to the visas they need to meet our seasonal demands. Thank you, Sen. Collins, and please continue to push for this important change.

Susan Clough

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