What’s the best way to plan for Maine’s economic future? Leave it to the regions, argues Michael Aube, president of Eastern Maine Development Corporation in Bangor.
In an OpEd published this week in the Bangor Daily News, the former commissioner of economic and community development argues that a statewide economic development strategy is ill-suited to Maine.
“What works in coastal Maine may not translate to the western mountains,” he writes, responding to last week’s BDN article on economic growth, a part of the BDN’s MaineFocus initiative. “Instead, the positive aspects and economic sectors in each region should be harnessed and built upon to bring greater return on a regional basis.
“There is no ‘one size fits all’ economic strategy in a state as vast as ours.”
But there is a region-specific planning strategy in the works that’s a ground-up effort by Maine’s seven Economic Development Districts. Aube argues for this effort, called Mobilize Maine, in his essay.
“The Mobilize Maine model recognizes that substantial input by many is not only welcome, it’s necessary,” he writes. “The model builds on a region’s existing assets instead of only its needs. Mobilize Maine is an approach that is sustainable through the four-year political cycle and well beyond it.”
But could this regionally driven planning effort benefit from some statewide cohesion?
Those involved with Mobilize Maine seem to think so. As the BDN reported last week, those heading up the seven Mobilize Maine planning efforts are, for the first time, parlaying their regional economic development planning into a statewide effort.