DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud spent much of Friday meeting with Piscataquis County residents in an effort to learn more about the problems facing the county.
Michaud was the guest at a luncheon attended by town, school, hospital and economic development officials at Womancare’s new facility, which will officially open in mid-June.
The leaders were told that the Northern Border Regional Commission, a bill written by Michaud and adopted into law in 2008, was designed to help with economic development in economically distressed areas of New England and New York state. As such, Piscataquis County is eligible for the assistance, he said.
“It’s designed to look at regional efforts,” Michaud said.
The 2nd District congressman also briefly spoke about the little-known North American Development Bank, which was created by the United States and Mexico after the adoption of the North America Free Trade Agreement. The bank was designed to address concerns about the potential loss of jobs, Michaud said. Those areas that have been affected by NAFTA could be eligible to draw funds from the bank for economic development purposes, he said.
Piscataquis County officials told Michaud that help was needed to strengthen the county’s tourism efforts, and they urged him to let hospital officials have a voice in the discussions on health care reform.
Michaud said he wanted to see more cooperation between the federal government and the University of Maine’s research and development program. He said he’d like to see the university’s designs on some of the country’s bridges and windmills. He said he was told that either the president or vice president planned to visit the university in the near future.