GrowSmart Looks to October Summit
As I alluded to in our inaugural post , GrowSmart Maine is contemplating two “sequel” reports to “Charting Maine’s Future,” our 2006 collaboration with the Brookings Institution.
One, "Governing Maine in the 21st Century," aims to craft a long-term plan for modernizing Maine's governments, at all levels. Instead of responding to shortfalls with meat-cleaver cuts, this report will aim to create a productive, farsighted plan that actually makes government services work better, at lower costs. The other, "Climate, Energy, and Prosperity," will seek ways to address the linked problems of climate change and energy prices with a new focus on the state's "green innovation" sector.
Both of these projects would follow the model we adopted with the Brookings report three years ago: nationally-renowned experts, a focus on real action and implementation, and, most importantly, extensive outreach efforts with Maine people in hundreds of town meetings and forums, before and after publication.
In 2006, before research for the “Charting Maine’s Future” report got underway, GrowSmart Maine brought Brookings Institution experts on a statewide tour, from Aroostook to York County, to meet with hundreds of Maine people in town-meeting-style listening sessions.
As a result, Mainers had a strong influence on the topics and themes in that report. For instance, widespread concern over Maine’s tax burden and the TABOR referendum led the Brookings Institution researchers to focus on reductions in government spending and bureaucracy in their recommended course of action for the state (obviously, we still have work to do on this front – hence the more in-depth “Governing Maine in the 21st Century” proposal).
This fall, at our fifth annual GrowSmart Summit in Augusta on October 10th, we’ll be introducing Mainers to some of the experts and researchers with whom we might work for these “sequel” projects. But more importantly, Summit 2008 attendees will be the first people in the state to have a say in what topics and issues these new reports should address.
Among the experts informing the discussion this year will be Joel Rogers, a co-founder of the Apollo Alliance, Erika Spanger-Siegfried of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jim Chrisinger of the Public Strategies Group, former Governor Angus King of Independence Wind, and Bruce Katz, a lead author of the “Charting Maine’s Future” report and a founding director of the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
If past years are any indication, the Summit will be a provocative convergence of hundreds of businesspeople, politicians, environmentalists, nonprofit professionals, and citizen activists, all of whom care deeply about Maine. We hope you’ll join us - to learn more, or to register, visit http://growsmartmaine.org/programs/summit.asp