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Maine Development Foundation

Current Programming and Resources

Policy Leaders Academy


Legislative Policy Forum
December 8
Morning Session

(Open to all Legislators)

Understanding and Growing Maine’s Economy

The goal of creating more jobs and responding effectively to changes in the Maine and global economy begins with understanding Maine’s current economic status. The Maine Economic Growth Council, administered by MDF, has been tracking Measures of Growth in Maine for over 20 years. This Policy Forum will focus on what the 2016 Measures of Growth report says about Maine’s economy, what the data shows, and why it matters.

Through a joint presentation by an ‘expert’ and a ‘practitioner’, the forum will explore a current topic that illustrates how Measures of Growth indicators relate to economic activities on the ground. The expert will provide statistics and context; the practitioner will provide a firsthand insight into why the topic is relevant to Maine people and businesses.

Where: Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State Street, Augusta
When: Thursday, December 8, 2016 8:30am to 12:30pm (A buffet lunch will be provided)

Afternoon Session

(Pre-Registration Required)

“Building Trust through Civil Discourse”
A workshop on civility for legislators, by legislators

Is civility an abstract notion or is it a code of conduct that can be applied to the political and policymaking process?

How can we all become better practitioners to improve civility in our legislature?

How do we set aside personal attacks and rebuild trust after a season of negative campaigning?

Over 60 members of the 127th Legislature have participated in this workshop, brought to us by Next Generation, a program of the National Institute for Civil Discourse. Please join us for this acclaimed workshop designed to build relationships across the aisle and increase legislative effectiveness.

Where: Governor Hill Mansion, 136 State Street, Augusta
Thursday, December 8, 2016 12:00pm to 4:30pm (A buffet lunch will be provided)

Pre-registration by December 1st is required for the afternoon session on Civil Discourse. For more information or to register, please email Michael Higgins at


Legislative Bus Tour
January 11-13
A Tour of Northern Maine

The Legislative Bus Tour is a key component of the Policy Leaders Academy program. Over the course of three days, we bring legislators into Maine businesses, nonprofits, and communities to see firsthand the growth opportunities and challenges those regions face. The tour broadens legislators’ understanding of economic issues in regions outside their districts. It is also an opportunity to relax and build relationships with colleagues as we provide networking and social opportunities as well as arts and entertainment from Maine’s communities.

All travel, lodging and food arrangements are covered. This opportunity is brought to you at NO COST and should not be missed. There are limited number of seats on the two busses, so registration is on a first come, first served basis.

Where: We will travel north into Penobscot and Aroostook Counties
(Departing from and returning to the State House Parking Lot)
When: Wednesday, January 11 through Friday January 13

This year’s tour will feature some of the following stops:

• Manufacturing Plants
• Forest Products Operations
• Rural Health Care Providers
• Community Development Projects
• Arts and Culture Stops
• Tourism Businesses
• Natural Resources Companies
• Maine Local Food Providers and Processors
• Higher Education and K-12 Education Programs
• Maine Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Click Here to Register for Bus Tour


Maine Legislative Summit
February 8

Looking Ahead: Growing Maine's Economy for All

As a legislator, you’re tasked with establishing public policy that will guide and strengthen Maine’s economy and its people. To be successful, you need up-to-date information about the ‘state’ of Maine: its people, its economy, and its natural resources.

This full day summit, Looking Ahead, has been designed for legislators to provide a comprehensive picture of Maine in 2017, with presentations and interactive discussions that explore demographics, economic development, education, health care and natural resources across the state. Leaders from business, government, and nonprofit sectors will also be on hand to help participants develop a comprehensive view of where Maine stands in 2017, and to explore how we can most effectively build on our rich resources of natural and human capital.

Maine faces great challenges, and Mainers across the state are tackling those challenges with energy, creativity, and spirit. The Summit will highlight some of those efforts, and explore lessons that can be applied on a regional and statewide basis.

Where: Augusta Civic Center, Augusta, Maine
Wednesday, February 8, 2017 8:30am to 4:00pm

Additional information about the summit, forums, and single-day bus tour will be provided in December.


February and March Policy Forums
and Single Day Bus Tour

Beginning in mid February, Policy Leaders Academy will offer 2 to 3 short policy forums on topics of immediate interest to legislators. The forums will typically last for 90 minutes and include breakfast or lunch, depending upon the scheduled meeting time (7:30am to 9:00am for breakfast forums, 11:30am to 1:00pm for lunch forums.) Forums will be held at the Senator Inn or another location in close proximity to the State House.

Policy Leaders Academy will also offer at least one single day bus tour for legislators wishing to visit a business, institution or nonprofit and hear from experts and practitioners about their challenges and successes. The single day bus tour is modeled on the popular three-day bus tour, but designed to accommodate the busy mid-legislative session House, Senate and Committee schedules.


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Policy Leaders Academy


Mike Higgins

Phone 207-622-6345

“I don’t think there is anything of greater value that incoming legislators can do than to visit around the state and get a sense of the pulse of our current situation through direct contact with a variety of individuals and businesses.”

- Senator Chris Rector, (R), Thomaston


“The tours are so valuable for both bonding with other legislators and all the insights we are given into the various industries, infrastructures, not-for-profits, and educational institutions that work together in the state.”

- Representative Linda Sanborn (D), Gorham



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