AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine's top legislative leaders will be touring paper companies across the state this month to talk with operators and workers about the industry, which has faced setbacks but is still a crucial part of Maine's economy.
Senate President Mike Thibodeau, a Republican from Winterport, says leaders plan to do a lot of listening.
"What polices we have, what's affecting our employers, particularly in this case the folks in the forest products industry," he says. "We want to hear from the folks that are creating jobs."
Thibodeau says there are some success stories in the Maine forest products industry, such as the increased tissue-making capacity at the mill in Baileyville. He says the leaders plan to hold a forum at the State House later in the month to hear from experts on what lawmakers might be able to do to help the industry grow.
"We are the wood basket for our entire nation," Thibodeau says. "This is where we grow some of the best fiber in the world here and as long as we have that natural resource the pulp and paper industry. He forest products industry are going to be a staple for our economy."