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[dropcap letter=”I”] love the state of Maine like I love my family: unconditionally, although I’m aware we’re not perfect. I aspire to support us when we struggle, and I have grand dreams for our happiness and well-being.
When we were dreaming up our “8 Crazy Maine Ideas” feature this month, it came from that place of familial intimacy. This parcel of earth is our home, and we want to take good care of it. Our geographic breadth may be large, but 1.3 million people are a relatively small community to occupy it. Great things are possible if we get creative and work together. So we asked ourselves — and our contributors — to dream big: Never mind whether it could ever happen, what would be the game-changer you’d like to see for Maine?
Here are a few of mine:
Universal free broadband: I can’t shake the hunch that if we could somehow provide all Mainers with fast, free internet, we could overcome the constraints of our geography, attract remote workers and small businesses, and grow our economy to new heights.
Family-friendly policies: We already have the quality-of-life reputation. And we all know we need a whole bunch more young people to round out our aging population and ensure our communities a prosperous future. To entice new residents, Maine needs to offer affordable childcare, paid parental leave, and other policies that make living here feasible for working families.
Renewable energy: Okay, so what would it take to transition Maine’s approximately 550,000 households from oil heat to wood-pellet heat? It’s not that many households — the city of Boston has more — but the economic benefits of conversion would be huge since it would reduce our dependence on out-of-state fossil fuels while bolstering our own wood products industry. Any angel investors out there?
During political seasons as tumultuous as this one, conquering the challenges that Maine faces can seem daunting. But dreaming big ideas that transcend our political differences certainly can’t hurt. So read our feature with an open mind — and then tell us what you think: What wild and crazy idea would you like to see in Maine? — Kathleen Fleury
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