BUCKSPORT — U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine) found a warm reception and support for his trade reform bill speaking before a crowd of 75 at the Alamo Theatre April 8.
The event sponsored by Democratic committees from Hancock, Waldo and Penobscot counties, two local labor unions, Food AND Medicine, Eastern Maine Labor Council and the Maine Fair Trade Campaign attracted supporters of Michaud’s efforts to reform U.S. trade policy and establish fair trade agreements.
Last June, Michaud and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced the Trade Reform, Accountability, Development and Employment (TRADE) Act.
The proposed bill would require a review of existing trade pacts, including NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and the WTO (World Trade Organization). The bill provides for renegotiation of existing trade agreements and describes key elements of a new trade negotiating.
Michaud founded and chairs the House Trade Working Group, a bipartisan caucus promoting trade policy reform. In Bucksport, he repeatedly referred to a letter about trade sent at the end of February to President Obama that was signed by him and 53 of his colleagues in the House of Representatives.
Citing a loss of more than 23 percent of Maine’s manufacturing base, Michaud said there is no doubt of the negative effect NAFTA, CAFTA and the WTO have had on Maine and the country.
One audience member asked Michaud what he would like to see happen to the Maine economy over the next 20 years.
“I’d like to see it turn around, so students graduating in Maine have the option to work in Maine,” he said. “I think we’ll get there.”