House Republicans Offer Support To Laid Off Madison Paper Workers

Augusta – Tuesday, we all got the news that Madison Paper Industries would be laying off an undetermined number of employees due to a halt in paper production. House Republicans share in the frustration of the workers who must endure this temporary layoff. Rep. Brad Farrin, Rep. Larry Dunphy and Rep. Tom Skolfield all represent a number of people who are negatively impacted by these untimely layoffs.

“We want them to know we’re here for them. Anything they need we encourage them to reach out to us and we’ll do everything we can to help them,” said Rep. Farrin, who represents House District 111 which encompasses most of Madison, Norridgewock and Solon.

One of the most frustrating parts in all of this is one of the reasons these layoffs were necessary. In a letter sent to Maine’s Congressional delegation, Madison Paper Industries President Russ Drechsel wrote:

“We regret having to take this downtime, but conditions in the U.S. market for supercalendered paper, combined with the increased energy costs we incur during the cold winter months, require us to reduce production.”

One of the top priorities for House Republicans in this upcoming session is to continue our efforts to lower Maine’s energy costs. High energy costs are squeezing some of the state’s largest employers like Verso Paper, Old Town Fuel and Fiber and now Madison Paper Industries to the point where they’re shutting their doors either temporarily or in some cases permanently. This is unacceptable and House Republicans are committed to focusing our attention on the solution to Maine’s energy crisis to keep these businesses vibrant and here in our state. We made progress in the 126th Legislature with the passage of the omnibus energy bill, a multi-faceted approach dealing with the cost of electricity and natural gas in Maine, ocean energy and rate relief among other things. This bill was a great jumping off point and now we must remain vigilant in our efforts to reduce Maine’s high energy costs even more.

“We see these layoffs as yet another warning that all of us in the Maine Legislature need to act now,” said Rep. Dunphy. “I worked at Madison Paper for decades and I know they want to stay in Maine. Those of us in state government need to be there to assist businesses in our state not hinder them.”

“These layoffs should not be a way of life for the hard-working folks at Madison Paper,” said Rep. Skolfield. “Maine will never be competitive as long as we have these exploding energy costs hanging around our necks like an albatross.”

House Republicans would like to thank Congressman Bruce Poliquin who has already reached out to Madison Paper Industries officials as well as union representative to offer his support. We now have the right team in place to address the energy issue in Maine. We urge our Democratic colleagues in in the 127th Legislature to work with us on this critical issue.

Workers impacted by the layoffs can contact the House Republican Office to speak with Rep. Farrin, Rep. Dunphy or Rep. Skolfield and share their thoughts and concerns. That number is: 207-287-1440

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