June 26, 2019
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LePage heads to Florida for manufacturing summit sponsored by Wal-Mart

Christopher Cousins | BDN
Christopher Cousins | BDN
Gov. Paul LePage speaks with reporters in this Aug. 14, 2013 file photo

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage is headed to Orlando, Fla., on Thursday for the U.S. Manufacturing Summit, an event hosted by the National Retail Federation and Wal-Mart.

The event is focused on increasing domestic manufacturing, something Bill Simon, president of Wal-Mart’s U.S. division, has emphasized. Simon announced this year that Wal-Mart’s U.S. division would buy an extra $50 billion in domestically produced goods over the next 10 years.

The governor is joined by his economic policy adviser, John Butera; Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner George Gervais; and press secretary Adrienne Bennett. The entourage will return to Maine on Friday.

“This summit is a big step in the right direction to attract and keep more businesses in the U.S. In Maine, we know that small businesses are the engine of our economy, and our commitment to American manufacturing will bring even more companies and jobs to our state,” LePage said in a news release.

Also attending the conference are Simon; NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay; U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; and Govs. Mike Beebe, D-Ark.; Phil Bryant, R-Miss.; Nikki Haley, R-S.C.; Susana Martinez, R-N.M.; Butch Otter, R-Idaho; Rick Scott, R-Fla.; and Earl Tomblin, D-W.Va.

In July, LePage vetoed a bill that would have required any goods or services bought by state government to be American-made whenever possible. In his veto letter, the governor said the bill would “say to American workers that their products cannot compete unless the deck is stacked in their favor. I cannot and will not say that.”

Follow Mario Moretto on Twitter at @riocarmine.

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