Bicentennial Launch Unveils Governor’s Agenda for Maine; PLUS !


Governor Janet T. Mills, Addresses the Crowd at Deering Oaks Park This Afternoon.

Senator Bill Diamond, Governor Janet Mills and Mayor Ethan Strimling, Plant a Tree in the Tricentennial Pine Grove – symbolizing the first two hundred years and the next one hundred years of Statehood of Maine.

Portland Rec Department Summer Campers Show Banner They Made: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAINE!

Displaying the Bicentennial Flag are: Mayor Ethan Strimling, Portland students and Governor Janet T. Mills.

Senator Bill Diamond Addressed the Crowd as Mayor Ethan Strimling and Governor Mills, Listen. (Diamond is co-chair of the Bicentennial Commission).  In Backrow is Heather Brown, Assistant to City Manager Jon Jennings.

Governor Janet T. Mills, the first woman governor of Maine and a native of the state,  laid out some of her goals for the state she clearly loves, in a bicentennial address at Deering Oaks Park this afternoon – from 1820 to 2020.

Today was the launch of the celebration of the bicentennial birthday of Maine.  Plans for the next year, through October 2020,  were laid out by Senator Bill Diamond (Windham) with an amazing Tall Ships Festival next summer.

In a whirlwind tour of four Maine cities today, the Governor extolled the beauty of the state’s natural beauty.  But it’s really about the people here.  “They all make Maine great,” the Governor said.  She cited well-known heroes like Joshua Chamberlain and Senator Margaret Chase Smith and some lesser known Maine leaders.  As Governor, she meets young people who are “not yet legends in our “history,” but they may  become in the future.  A theme from her inauguration speech as well as from her remarks at the grand opening of WEX, on the Portland waterfront covered by “Come Home to Portland.”

Renewing the state’s membership in the National Governor’s Association that her predecessor had canceled, the Governor said she hoped to persuade the Association to host their annual summer meeting next year in Maine.  “That would be good for all of Portland,” she said.

Long-time Senator Diamond described the specifics of a Maine grant program intended to sponsor cultural programs throughout the state.  “The
Community Grants are the core of our Bicentennial Commemoration,” said Senator Diamond.  They provide an opportunity for all Mainers to engage at the local level and provide a strong community element in addition to the larger signature events planned to celebrate Maine’s anniversary of Statehood,” he continued.

The Maine Legislature appropriated funding to the Maine Bicentennial Commission for the grants that will be supplemented by matching funds from private corporations and individuals.  The initial round of funding will provide up to 10% of the funds for small grants of $500. or less and at least one grant of up to $10,000 will be available in each county.

The Maine Arts Commission will administer the grant program.  The first of three deadlines is September 2019.  Any Maine non-profit can apply for funds provided by the state legislature.

When Heather Brown, assistant city manager, introduced Governor Janet Mills as the First Women Governor of Maine, there was much laughter and applause.  Much of the laughter came from the Governor herself.