Governor Mills Applauds Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee on Unanimous Support for Maine Connectivity Authority Nominee
Augusta, ME (STL.News) Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement today on the Legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology’s unanimous vote to recommend the approval of Andrew Butcher of Portland as the first president of the Maine Connectivity Authority. With today’s vote, the Maine State Senate will consider his nomination.
“The Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee’s unanimous support of Andrew Butcher is a testament to his extensive experience in broadband, fiscal management, and community infrastructure — critical knowledge that will help us put historic federal funding to use to expand internet access across the state of Maine,” said Governor Mills. “I am hopeful the Senate will approve his nomination and then look forward to working closely with him to expand broadband in Maine in the years ahead.”
“I am incredibly grateful and humbled by the unanimous confirmation of my nomination by the committee to serve as the inaugural President of the Maine Connectivity Authority,” said Andrew Butcher. “Not surprisingly, the committee raised critical, complex and thoughtful questions around how to best serve all Mainers – especially those with the least access and ability to afford high speed internet. I take their trust and endorsement seriously, and look forward to getting to work towards a more connected future in Maine.”
Governor Mills announced her intent to nominate Andrew Butcher on October 19, 2021. In addition to the role of the president, the Maine Connectivity Authority is governed by an eleven member board, seven of which are nominated by the Governor. Governor Mills swore in her nominees on July 20, 2021, just one day after they were unanimously confirmed by the State Senate.
The Maine Connectivity Authority, the new State entity charged with achieving universal availability of high-speed broadband in Maine, was proposed by Governor Mills and created through bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Rick Bennett (R-Oxford) and co-sponsored by Representative Seth Berry (D-Bowdoinham) and the Co-Chairs of the Legislature’s Broadband Caucus. The Legislature unanimously passed the bill, and Governor Mills signed it into law on June 25, 2021.
Governor Mills has dedicated $21 million to broadband through the Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, which, when combined with the $129 million through the American Rescue Plan, will provide a total of $150 million to the Maine Connectivity Authority to expand access to affordable broadband.