KITTERY, ME -- Rep. Mike Michaud joined Vice President Joe Biden for a tour of Portsmouth Navy Shipyard to highlight the excellence of Maine's manufacturers and to discuss other avenues for strengthening Maine's innovative economy.
"I'm pleased I had the opportunity to show Vice President Biden first-hand today the results of investing in American workers," said Michaud. "Portsmouth is a fine example of Maine's long and proud history of shipbuilding, and I believe it offers a powerful reminder of why we must continue doing more to ensure our economic policies elevate the American worker. I'll continue my work in Congress to ensure a level playing field for American manufacturers, who I know are among the finest in the world."
In April, years of Michaud's leadership and advocacy for American manufacturing culminated with the Pentagon announcing they would begin ensuring service members wore American-made footwear -- a potential boon for New England-based New Balance. Three of New Balance's five U.S. factories are in Maine.
Michaud also addressed several other topics with the Vice President during today's visit, including the University of Maine's "Bridge-in-a-Backpack" initiative and strategies for expanding broadband internet access across the state.
Michaud presented Biden with information on the "Bridge-in-a-Backpack" program, which is run out of the University of Maine and seeks to advance bridges made of a composite material that is lighter, stronger, more durable and more environmentally friendly than materials currently used in bridges. Michaud just visited UMaine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center in August, and recently asked Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take a series of steps aimed at strengthening the adoption of composite bridges.
"Advancing innovative technologies and ideas like 'Bridge-in-a-Backpack' and composite bridges is one of the many ways Maine can continue building on its long history of manufacturing and position ourselves for continued success into the future," added Michaud. "Maine's workers have always played a role in driving our nation's economic engine, and I conveyed to the Vice President how initiatives like 'Bridge-in-a-Backpack' allow us to continue to do so moving forward."
Michaud also spoke with Biden about the need for an increased focus -- through incentives and other programs -- on strengthening broadband internet access in Maine.
"Having a reliable and speedy internet connection is something that's taken for granted in many parts of the country, but it is still an enormous challenge in far too many parts of our state," said Michaud. "Reliable phone and internet access is at the root of any solid economic strategy and is central to ensuring our businesses can grow and prosper."