Maine Compass: Statewide Paid Family Leave Would Add To Maine’s Allure (September 21, 2017)

By: Kathleen Fleury, Central Maine

As editor in chief of Down East magazine, I get hundreds of letters a year from people sharing their passion for this state we call home. Take it from me, Maine, we’ve got something special, something you can’t manufacture in a marketing firm overnight, something based on this enduring truth: People want to live in, return to or relocate to Maine. In short, we have curb appeal.

As a member of the millennial generation, I also see stubborn obstacles and mindsets that are preventing us from capitalizing on this priceless asset. Our demographics and related economic challenges have been amply covered and articulated; and yet, we haven’t made the changes necessary to chart a new, more hopeful course. If we want to be competitive in recruiting new and younger Mainers to support our aging and retiring workforce, we have to have a competitive advantage. And the “quality of life” sales pitch rings hollow if you don’t have the opportunities and policies to back it up.

There are a lot of relevant issues that need solutions, from affordable and quality child care and health care to internet access and job opportunities. As a working mother, I believe one of the policies that could make a huge difference is a comprehensive paid family leave law.