AUGUSTA – Senate President Troy Jackon, D-Allagash, testified in support of two Aroostook County residents nominated to serve on the Loring Development Authority during a confirmation hearing before the Legislature’s Committee on Innovation, Development, Economic Advancement and Business on Tuesday. The committee unanimously approved the nomination of Grace O’Neal of Limestone and Joseph M. Sleeper, II of Caribou.
“In both her personal and professional capacity, Grace has demonstrated a profound commitment to her community and the future of Aroostook County,” said President Jackson. “I have no doubt she will give the people of Limestone a voice and represent the community’s interests well on the Loring Development Authority. Her experience and vision will help the Loring Development Authority build a vibrant future and maximize economic opportunity at the Loring Air Force Base.”
Grace O’Neal is a Programmer Analyst at MMG Insurance in Presque Isle and a resident of Limestone, where she currently serves on the Community School Committee, as a member of the Limestone Rotary Club, as Cub Scout Pack 193 Cubmaster, and as Team Captain for the local Relay for Life Chapter. Her service has earned her MMG Volunteer of the Year, MMG Wellness Champion and the Paul Harris Fellowship Award.
“Family and community has always been at the heart of Sleeper’s Market in Caribou. This commitment to people along with an extraordinary work ethic is the reason Sleeper’s Market has remained open and thriving since 1914. Joe II exemplifies this tradition both with his leadership at the store and involvement in local economic development efforts,” said President Jackson. “I know his background in business, economic planning and customer service will be an asset to the Loring Development Authority as the group works to take the Loring Airforce Base to the next level.”
Joseph M. Sleeper, II is part owner of Sleeper’s Market, a family-owned small business located in the heart of downtown Caribou that has served Aroostook County residents for more than 100 years. He also serves on the Caribou Economic Growth Council and Caribou Development Corp. Loan Committee.
The Loring Development Authority of Maine (LDA) was created in statute upon the closing of the Loring Air Force Base in Limestone. The Authority manages the 3,700-acre business, commercial and industrial park, which includes a 1,600-acre aviation complex. It serves as landlord to businesses and provides municipal services to approximately 300 residents and 28 businesses, which employ an estimated 800 workers. LDA works to attract new employment opportunities and jumpstart new economic activity in the area.
The Authority is governed by a 13-member board of trustees, twelve of whom are appointed by the Governor, subject to review by the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over economic development matters and confirmation by the Legislature. No less than seven of the trustees must be from candidates who are residents of Aroostook County and nominated by the primary impact communities. At least four of the remaining appointments must be from candidates who are not residents of Aroostook County.
Nominations to LDA will go before the Maine Senate for a vote.