Mike Michaud receives endorsement from Maine Small Business Coalition

On Tuesday morning in Portland, Mike Michaud accepted an endorsement from the Maine Small Business Coalition in his campaign to be Maine’s governor at Arabica Coffee on Commercial Street.

Flanked by members of the MSBC, Michaud addressed a smattering of media folks and campaign workers, as well as a busy coffee house full of patrons.

Here is the video that I took from my camera phone of Michaud accepting the endorsement:

 According to a press release from the MSBC, the coalition “represents more than 3,600 community based businesses in Maine and advocates for responsible economic development, environmental stewardship, and investment in Maine and local communities.”

Also in the press release was a statement from John Costin, owner of Veneer Services Unlimited in Kennebunk and a member of the MSBC Steering Committee:

“One of the biggest costs and concerns for small business owners is health care coverage, and Mike Michaud has been a champion in helping small businesses and our employees access health care. Governor Paul LePage, in contrast, has vetoed accepting federal funds for health care expansion five times, putting affordable health care out of reach for as many as 70,000 Maine people, including struggling small business owners and our employees. We’re thankful that Mike has put small businesses first and are proud to support him for governor.”

Officially announcing the endorsement was Adam Lee, chairman of Lee Auto Malls, here is the speech that he gave:

“Hello my name is Adam Lee, I am chairman of Lee Auto Malls.

I am here to talk about one of the many reasons I strongly support Mike Michaud for Governor—and that is his commitment to building a Maine economy that works for everyone, by increasing wages for Maine workers.

Our state’s minimum wage is only 7.50 per hour.   Lee Auto Malls has recently raised their minimum wage for all full time employees to $10.00 per hour.    I know of a number of good, Maine businesses that are at least $10 per hour:  Lamey Wellahan, a family owned shoe store is one.  Moody’s Collision Centers, one of my competitors, run by Shawn Moody is quite a bit higher, to name just two.  

Business owners like us are increasing wages voluntarily, while we are waiting for elected leaders to do the right thing and pass legislation that mandates increasing wages for everyone.

Nowhere is it written that minimum wage should be sacred and should never change.  The cost of my goods goes up every year; is there some reason why the lowest paid people in Maine should have to pay more for everything they buy but should be expected to live on a stagnant wage?   Is there some good reason why most of the things my company buys–oil, paper, parts, tires, and of course cars–go up in price each year, yet my employees’ wages shouldn’t?  

It makes no sense.  It is a system we have gotten used to and it is time it changed.  We have a model for change:  In 1914, Henry Ford, who was one of the nastiest, most ruthless businessmen the world has known, shocked the world by shortening his work day from 9 hours to 8 and, are you ready for this, raising what his average employee earned from $2.50 per day to $5.00.  He doubled their pay overnight.  He figured out that if he paid his employees enough, they would be able to buy his cars; and they did.  

If Henry Ford could see his way to double his employees’ wages, I believe that Maine could see their way to go from $7.50 an hour to at least $10.00 in the next year.  Despite what our current Governor may think, people should be paid fairly for the work they do.  The impact on Maine’s lowest paid employees would be really significant, I believe it would end up having a positive effect on our economy, and would also give Maine one more thing to boast about as to why people should move here; a livable wage.

The 13 states that increased the minimum wage last year had faster employment growth compared to other states. With a little more money in workers’ pockets, individual Mainers can boost the Maine economy in ways that no single business or employer ever could—by spending more dollars in local businesses across Maine.

Mike Michaud understands this, and that’s why he’s been a tireless advocate for increasing wages as a strategy for building a strong economy. He was elected Senate president in an evenly divided state Senate (17Ds – 17Rs – 1 unenrolled member) and as the Senate president, Michaud was able to work across party lines to pass a minimum wage increase, unanimously.

With Mike as Governor, we can get Maine’s economy back on track and lift thousands of Mainers out of poverty at the same time by passing a long-overdue increase to Maine’s minimum wage. I am one of many business owners who support Mike for his commitment to rebuilding the Maine economy, starting with increasing wages for workers. Maine businesses—and workers—need a leader like him in the Blaine House.”

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.