Thank you to Gov. Mills, Senate President Troy Jackson and others, including the editorial board of this paper, for supporting L.D. 1712. Now law, it will help more Maine families access affordable, high-quality child care programs. It is a critical investment in Maine people and Maine’s economy.

As your July 8 editorial stated, “Child care is a health issue, an education issue, a workforce issue and an economic opportunity issue,” which is why Maine’s business community supported the bill and views child care as an economic priority.

From a business perspective, lack of access to high-quality child care is often a barrier to workforce participation. The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a bright light on this barrier as a major factor in Maine’s labor shortage. Many parents are not able to be employed if their kids do not have high-quality care. And, in many areas in Maine, already considered “child care deserts” pre-pandemic, there are not enough child care slots for eligible kids. This new law will help address these challenges.

Additionally, by helping young children develop key learning and social-emotional skills, high-quality child care programs give many kids a strong start, so that they have a better chance to succeed throughout their lives. This is especially true for at-risk or economically disadvantaged kids.

Maine has identified important goals to resolve our economic and workforce challenges. This new law and other investments increasing access to affordable, high-quality child care across Maine are critical to achieving those goals and helping Maine’s people and economy succeed.

Steve deCastro
president and CEO,
Gorham Savings Bank

Chris Emmons
former president and CEO,
Gorham Savings Bank

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