2017-12-28 / Editorial

Let’s look ahead to what’s important in 2018

Legislative Lowdown
by Rep. Martin Grohman

With the New Year coming, I thought it would be a good time to take a look ahead to some of the topics I’m planning to cover in the months ahead.

I’m preparing a column on our local YMCA, which I think is an excellent facility that we’re lucky to have. I’ll be digging into its child care programs, so important for working families, as well as the Y’s continued plans for growth and service to our community.

I have also become more and more concerned about our homeless situation. Imagine being out in this cold. I’ve been meeting with local homeless advocates and visiting shelters and food pantries. If you work in this field or share my concern, I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been spending time with our local opioids task force, which is doing hard but meaningful work helping citizens on the road to recovery. I’m planning a column that will dig deeper on what I think are the real issues and opportunities in this area.

In the upcoming legislative session, we’ll take on complex issues such as the crime victim’s bill of rights, also called Marsy’s Law. This new approach has significant costs but may lead to significant benefits as well. I expect this to spur a high-profile debate and possibly a referendum question in the upcoming year. Another area that the Legislature will continue to work on is the potential legalization of retail marijuana sales.

I’ll also cover the transition to civilian careers for our military personnel. This manifests itself in unexpected ways, as there are lots of career roles in the military that might surprise you. For example, I recently met with a Marine who spent seven years as a video and film professional in the military. He is a highly trained expert and has experience all over the world. After leaving the Marines, he has been unable to translate that to the job marketplace and has been forced to return to college to obtain a videography credential. This is a course he could probably teach. Couldn’t we find a way to translate some of these years of military training into a certification?

These credentialing issues exist in a variety of fields and impact not just veterans but professionals who choose to live and work in Maine. For example, a trained pediatrician from another country can struggle to find work here, even though we have a shortage of medical professionals, because medical credentials don’t transfer. I am actively taking on this issue and plan to cover what I’ve learned and what I think we can do in these pages.

If these topics or any others interest you, please be in touch. In the meantime, if you can brave the cold, the sledding hills at Rotary Park and at Harris Farm in Dayton are in fine shape and are great community fun.

Strong communities like ours really are the heart of Maine. In these, the coldest days of winter, I hope you can join family, friends, and neighbors and come together to enjoy each other’s company and celebrate. On behalf of myself, Amy, and the rest of our family, I wish you a Happy New Year. I thank you for your friendship and support in 2017 and look forward to a great 2018.

Rep. Martin Grohman of Biddeford is an Independent State Representative serving his second term in the Maine Legislature and is a member of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee. Outside the legislature, he is chair of the Biddeford Solid Waste Commission. Marty hosts a podcast for Maine entrepreneurs called The Grow Maine Show. Find it on Apple Podcasts and Google Play, sign up for legislative updates at www.growmaine.com or facebook.com/repgrohman or call 207-283-1476.

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