Franklin Countys First News

UMF hosting more than 60 policymakers with legislative bus tour today

FARMINGTON - More than 60 state policymakers will come to Farmington today to learn more about the University of Maine at Farmington’s contributions to the community.

The legislative visit is part of the Maine Development Foundation’s biannual Policy Leaders Academy legislative bus tour, which will spend three days in Western Maine also visiting Franklin Memorial Hospital and the Foster Career and Technical Education Center while in Franklin County.

The Farmington stop will allow UMF and the University of Maine System to showcase its important impact in Western Maine, including as an economic driver and a producer of the next generation of the rural region’s skilled workforce. Local media are encouraged to attend.

A panel hosted at Titcomb Mountain where UMF Outdoor Recreation Business Administration (ORBA) graduate Seth Noonkester is now General Manager will focus on the region’s outdoor recreation economy and be moderated by Carolann Ouellette, Director of the Maine Office of Outdoor Recreation. In addition to Noonkester, panelists include Jim Hauptman, Founder, Maine Outdoor Brands Collective; Scott Hoisington, Coordinator, UMF Alpine Operations Program; Karl Strand, President & CEO, Sugarloaf; Greg Sweetser, Executive Director, Ski Maine; and Charlie Woodworth, Executive Director, Greater Franklin Development Council.

UMF ORBA students will also lead interested legislators on a guided snowshoe at Titcomb.

Back on campus, UMF Interim Provost and Dean of Education Katherine Yardley; Elementary Education, Early Childhood & Early Childhood Special Education Division Chair Donna Karno; and Executive Director of the Maine Association for the Education of Young Children Tara Williams will speak to legislators about the strong foundations for lifelong success created by quality early childhood education, often delivered by UMF graduates. A visit to UMF’s nationally recognized Sweatt-Winter Child Care and Early Education Center, which provides care for young people in the community while also providing hands-on experience for UMF students, will follow. The Center is a model for legislators to look to as they consider supporting affordable, quality early childhood education, including several legislative proposals this session to expand access and affordability.

A tour of UMF’s innovative biomass plant which generates $7 in local economic activity for every dollar spent to fuel the plant and a dinner on campus with legislators and more than 75 guests – many leaders in the Farmington community – will follow. In addition to University of Maine System Chancellor James Page and Board of Trustees Chair Jim Erwin, UMF Interim President Eric Brown and Greater Franklin Development Council’s Morgan Spencer will speak at the dinner which will feature local foods.

Farmington’s own Governor Janet Mills is expected to attend.

The legislative bus tour will be at Titcomb Mountain from 3 to 5:15 p.m. and at UMF from 3 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 10.

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