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The Aug. 22 article, “Summers’ jobs program fails to live up to his claims of success,” seemed at best like a strained attempt to find a reason to criticize Secretary of State Charlie Summers, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate. Adding a small business advocate to the secretary of state’s office is only being billed as a “jobs program” by the story’s authors. To try to define its success by attributing a precise, yet unknowable, number of jobs created or saved is futile and misses the point of the initiative.
When Maine legislators toured the state shortly after the election of 2010, business leaders told them that they needed relief from burdensome regulations. They needed someone inside government who they could turn to with questions and concerns. Charlie Summers, with his experience as a small-business owner and as head of the regional Small Business Administration, saw the importance of this and lobbied legislators to create the position. He made it happen without additional cost to the taxpayer and found the perfect person for the job.
The job of small business advocate is about responding to the needs of Maine’s businesses and giving them an ally in state government. The 117 cases he has received in just 10 months demonstrate a need for this position. It’s all a part of making Maine more business friendly, and that will encourage more businesses to come to, and stay in, Maine. My friend and neighbor, Charlie Summers, deserves a lot of the credit for this success.
Rep. Amy Volk