Political Profile Jordyn Rossignol
AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - We continue our Political Profile series with Maine State House District 4 between Republican Tim Guerrette and Democrat Jordyn Rossignol. WAGM, with the Aroostook Partnership, interviewed the candidates for the local races. Each candidate had 5 minutes to answer the same 3 questions. Those questions were provided ahead of time. The interviews were all done through Zoom. Republican Tim Guerrette did not respond to our invitation for this interview, so tonight we have Democratic challenger Jordyn Rossignol.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: What are your top three priorities if elected, in the coming legislative session?
Jordyn Rossignol, Democrat Candidate Maine State House District 4: Thank you Kelly and Jason for having me, I’m really excited about this opportunity. So, my three priorities are really putting money back in the hard working of the Aroostook County people and in doing so, we need to attack the housing crisis, lowering property taxes and expanding access to high quality and affordable childcare.
Jason Parent, Aroostook Partnership: Alright, so we have plenty of time, you just used 40 seconds for that actually, for your second and third question. So, the second question is, what are your thoughts on population growth, or perhaps other strategies, to address our qualified employee shortages in the region?
Jordyn Rossignol, Democrat Candidate Maine State House District 4: This is something that I think about every single day of my life because as a small business owner, I’m experiencing this first hand and it has plagued my business for the last two maybe three years. So, it’s clear we have a severe workforce shortage across all industries, so that’s something we need to tackle immediately. I think a good start is encouraging young people and people of all ages to consider trades. Northern Maine Community College is free for two years for those who qualify. And we need to get people invested in doing some trade work. I know that I’m waiting for an electrician at my business and we need more skilled trades here in Aroostook County. The second part is making sure that folks know they can come back. I’m what you’d consider a boomerang. I left, lived in the big city and I came back and I started a business here in my 20′s and planted some roots. And I know that I have a lot of friends and other people my age who have left and would love to come back. But we have to make sure we’re strengthening our communities by having a strong police force, fire, ambulance, making sure schools are staying open and thriving, rec opportunities for kids and families, affordable housing and of course enough licensed childcare slots for families because people really do want to come back, but we need to make that equitable for them so we can get some really skilled workers back in our communities.
Kelly O’Mara, NewsSource 8: Ok, and you have about 2 and a half minutes for your last question, which is, Aroostook County’s workforce participation rate continues to decline and is currently at 54% for residents 16 and older. What do you feel the barriers are to increasing this important metric and what are your ideas to reverse this trend?
Jordyn Rossignol, Democrat Candidate Maine State House District 4:You both know what I’m going to say and that is, we have a severe lack of childcare in Aroostook County. Aroostook County is considered a child care desert, there are just not enough licensed slots for the amount of children that live in our communities. There are parents who want to work, who need to work and can’t simply because they do not have access to childcare. That’s something I’ve been working on for a couple of years now and we need to solve it, we need to tackle it head on. I get calls from parents, daily, begging me to take their children and I just don’t have the room. These parents really are eager to get back to work and they can’t if no one is watching their children. So I think that is a huge deterrent for getting people back to work and something I really don’t think people think about is transportation in Aroostook County. I have a few employees that are walking to work and that’s going to get really tough when it’s cold here very soon. And there’s not a lot of reliable public transit for people here. So I think that’s something that we also have to think about and how do we help people just get to work, simple as that.
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