The Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce will present the 2013 Catherine Lebowitz Award for Public Service to Edward M. Youngblood, well known for his 30 years at Bangor Savings Bank (from which he retired as a senior vice president) and his term as the Chamber’s president.
Youngblood will be honored “for his hard work in support of the Omnibus Energy Bill and for sustaining a civil and sensible tone of the Maine State Senate in 2013,” according to a Chamber press release.
“I was literally blown away. It could not have been more of a surprise,” said Youngblood, who represents Senate District 31 municipalities in Hancock and Penobscot counties. A Milo native and Husson College graduate, he has lived in Brewer for more than 40 years.
While working full time at Bangor Savings, Youngblood served in the State Senate from 2000-2004. He left the senate for eight years, then won the District 31 seat in November 2012. A member of the Government Oversight Committee. Youngblood is the ranking Republican on the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee in the 126th Maine Legislature.
That committee, representing “a really well-rounded group of people,” developed the Omnibus Energy Bill (LD 1559), according to Youngblood. Passed overwhelmingly by legislators, the bill lowers energy costs and expands the state’s natural gas infrastructure; “what it has the ability to do over the next decades in saving Maine people money is astounding,” Youngblood said.
“An interesting cross-section of the people that make up the great State of Maine” testified during the bill’s public hearings, and committee members “argued out all the aspects” of the bill, he said.
State senators have “worked hard” to maintain legislative civility, said Youngblood, for whom “being able to work across the aisle with people on many issues” was important.
During his first terms in the State Senate, Youngblood and Rep. David Trahan (R-Waldoboro) drafted legislation to establish the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability (OPEGA), which “has done some outstanding work,” he said.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to go to Augusta and accomplish some of these things,” Youngblood said.
He credits his years with Bangor Savings Bank for honing his desire to serve the public. “Our philosophy was, ‘How do we make the communities we’re part of better places than they are?’
“Everyone has the responsibility … to leave this world a better place than we found it,” he said.
Since he retired eight years ago, Youngblood has spent considerable time with his family, especially his grandchildren. He carves wooden birds, a passion ignited after visiting the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor “about a dozen years ago.
“I always had an interest in art,” and “I was pretty good on carving,” said Youngblood, adding that “painting was a nightmare for me.” He studied bird carving at the Gilley Museum; today Youngblood likes to carve highly detailed birds in his basement workshop.
“Carving is fun; it’s relaxing,” he said.