AUGUSTA — The Legislature’s State and Local Committee approved a bill from Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, to establish the Buy American, Build Maine Act in a vote of 7-5 on Monday, with one member absent.
“The Buy American Build Maine Act is a win for the entire state. It puts taxpayer dollars back into the community, keeps our economy humming, and grows our Made-in-Maine brand. It does all of this by supporting the workers and businesses here in this state,” said President Jackson. “Maine small businesses and the hardworking people who keep them running don’t just drive our economy, they really are a part of our communities. Small business owners sponsor our little league teams, help out with band fundraisers and donate to our community food banks. They are our family members, neighbors and friends. After the year they’ve had, they deserve our support.”
Other states already have laws that allow the government to give in preference to in-state businesses or products when awarding public contracts. According to the National Association of State Procurement Officials
, 38 states give in-state preference on state contracts. Although Maine is technically included in this list, Maine’s actual policy is relatively weak — it simply encourages municipalities to use in-state workers or goods when receiving state grants. There is no enforcement mechanism and it does not apply to contracts awarded directly by the state. The proposed legislation would give Maine workers, businesses and products the same leg up that many other states give their own workers, businesses and goods.
Buy American policies have been in place at the federal level dating back to 1933
. In January, President Biden signed an Executive Order
strengthening “Buy American” policies across the federal government. Earlier this month, the Biden Administration unveiled the “American Jobs Plan”
which makes it clear that the federal government is heading in a new direction — one that recognizes the quality and value of American workers and goods.
Buy American, Build Maine Legislation is supported by Kathie Leonard, Auburn Manufacturing, Inc.; Ben Waxman, American Roots; Chris Lausier, C. Lausier Family, Inc.; Dan Kleban, Maine Beer Company; Devin McNeill, Flowfold; Brian Lombardozzi, Alliance for American Manufacturing; Tim Kuebler, Dragon Cement; Maine AFL-CIO; Machinists’ Union Local S-89; Ironworkers Local 7.