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Proposal Would Create Commission Help To Retain Younger Mainers In The State

Lawmakers are being asked to create an independent youth impact commission that would provide state leaders with the perspective of 15- to 30-year-old Mainers on what state policies would keep them in Maine.

For years, state leaders have grappled with how to convince young Mainers to stay in the state and not be part of the brain drain of young people leaving the state after college or high school. Thea Sweet, 23, of Hallowell told members of the Legislature’s Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business Committee that the perspective of youth is needed to craft the policies that would keep them working in Maine.

“I saw the need to establish a youth impact commission because currently there is no permanent part of state government whose sole purpose is dedicated to ensuring that our youth have a prosperous, sustainable and secure future in Maine,” she said.

The bill drew strong support from a number of organizations and individuals. But the measure calls for three full-time staff for the commission, and that will require funding that will be difficult to identify in the state’s current financial state caused by the coronavirus pandemic.