Maine Fishermen to be Relieved of Onerous Tax Burden.

Commercial Fishermen Rejoice!
Commercial Fishermen Rejoice!

It has been a week of good news for Maine’s ground fishermen.

Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will award $32.8 million in federal funding for the mitigation of the 2013 New England Multispecies Groundfish Fishery disaster that was declared by the Secretary of Commerce. This funding will help aid struggling ground fishermen in the Northeast, including Maine. In addition, the Secretary of Commerce will waive the 25-percent non-federal match requirement as requested by Senator Collins and Senator Angus King in a letter sent earlier this month.

“Fishing is a way of life in Maine and New England and, for too long, our fishermen, their families, and their communities, have struggled with onerous federal regulations and other burdensome costs,” said Senator Collins, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “I was pleased to have secured Fisheries Disaster Assistance in the federal funding bill approved by Congress in January, which can be used to provide both immediate economic relief to our region’s struggling groundfishing industry, and to make targeted investments that will allow the fleet to survive and become more sustainable in the years ahead. I also applaud the decision to waive the non-federal matching requirement, which would have placed an unnecessary burden on our state and local economies.”

In addition, Senator Collins announced that NOAA expects to fully cover observer and at-sea monitoring costs for the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic ground fishermen during Fishing Year 2014.

Maggie Raymond, Executive Director of Associated Fisheries of Maine, responded to that good news: “Senator Collins understands that Maine’s groundfish industry cannot absorb these costs, and we are grateful that she took the lead on assuring that the funds were included in the National Marine Fisheries Service budget.”

The federal funding bill included an appropriation of $43 million to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for Observers and Training operations, and it also included legislative report language authored by Senator Collins that directed the National Marine Fisheries Service to cover these at-sea and dockside monitoring costs.


Encore Entrepreneurs: Seniors Starting Businesses and Creating Jobs. By Senator Susan Collins. Maine.

Sen. Susan Collins.  Maine.
Sen. Susan Collins. Maine.

Small businesses are truly the backbone of our nation’s economy, creating jobs and opportunity. It might surprise you to learn that individuals between the ages of 55 and 64 actually make up the largest percentage of new business owners in the U.S. This has been true for decades, even during the height of the “Dot Com” boom of the 1990s.


Most older Americans don’t want to spend their retirement just on leisure. They want to stay active, and in some cases pursue opportunities that they may not have had the time or ability to pursue in earlier years. Some seniors have a desire to give back to their communities by creating small non-profit organizations. Others simply need to earn extra money to help make ends meet. Whatever the case may be, older Americans have many qualities that make them excellent entrepreneurs. They have life experience and real-world education, as well as networks they have established and maintained throughout their work careers.


Maine has many great examples of seniors who have taken their talent and skills, know-how and wisdom, and turned these attributes into successful small businesses. Through their success, they help create a better life for themselves and to create jobs for others.


Bruce Bohrmann, from Yarmouth, spent his career in the catalog business and as an advertising manager for a Maine bank. As a hobby during his work years, he also created high-quality, custom-made knives in his own small machine shop. After he retired, with the help of SCORE, an organization that provides counsel to small businesses, he was able to turn his hobby into a full-time job, and now sells his knives to customers around the world.


Dana Saucier, from Wallagrass, spent 28 years at International Paper. When he retired, he and three colleagues started a small consulting group to help other entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. Dana says that the great thing about running your own business in retirement is that you can work as much or as little as you want, and still make a difference in the world. By choice, much of the work Dana does now is pro bono.


Martha Muldoon, from West Buxton, lost her job when she was 64 years old, but picked herself up, and got back in the game by starting her own public relations business, calling on skills she had used earlier in her career. Now she works out of her own home, on her own schedule, directing the marketing for “Coffee News,” the world’s largest weekly restaurant publication.


Seniors like Bruce Bohrmann, Dana Saucier, and Martha Muldoon have become successful entrepreneurs not only through their own hard work, but also with the assistance of experts at SCORE, and with the support of programs run by the Small Business Administration.


Unfortunately, despite the large percentage of small businesses that are owned by seniors, there are still far too many seniors who either do not realize that starting a business may be an option to them. That is why the Senate Special Committee on Aging, of which I am the Ranking Member, recently held a hearing titled, “In Search of a Second Act: The Challenges and Advantages of Senior Entrepreneurship.” Elizabeth Isele of Maine testified before this hearing at my invitation.


Elizabeth is the Co-Founder and CEO of, an organization dedicated to helping seniors tap into their strengths and creativity as well as resources available to them to start a business. She also has spearheaded a blog,, to provide information and support for senior-owned businesses.


Like the many successful senior business owners in Maine and throughout the nation, she recognizes the vast opportunities that are available to seniors, as well as the challenges. Some businesses, for example, could get off the ground with just a very small initial capital investment. But finding even these small resources can be difficult. It is important that microloans, or small business loans, for example, be a viable option for some seniors.


Senior-owned businesses also play a critical role in job creation since they hire workers as they grow and thrive. Senior entrepreneurship creates a win-win situation for our communities and our economy.


As Elizabeth said, “senior entrepreneurs truly are a “silver lining” in our nation’s economy that will yield golden dividends.”