GE: House vote on Export-Import Bank won’t keep future jobs in Bangor

The revival of the U.S. Export-Import Bank passed the House of Representatives last week, but General Electric Co. says that won’t save 80 future jobs that could have been brought to Bangor.

U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, a Republican from Maine’s 2nd District who voted for the bank after criticizing it for much of the year, has been roundly criticized by Democrats after the company’s announcement in September.

The Export-Import Bank, which underwrites loans to foreign purchasers that buy American goods, saw its authority lapse in June amid opposition from some conservatives who say it distorts markets. It still has an uncertain chance of passage in the Senate.

In September, GE announced that if it won billions of dollars in global power project contract, work that could support 500 American jobs would be moved overseas because of agreements with export credit agencies in France and other places. A GE spokeswoman said that’s still the company’s plan.

The two Democrats vying to replace Poliquin in 2016 renewed their criticism of him in Friday statements, with Emily Cain saying that he “can’t be trusted to put Maine people first,” and Joe Baldacci saying jobs are in danger because “companies have no confidence that people like Bruce Poliquin won’t try to kill the bank again in a few years.”

Poliquin’s vote for the bank came after he was critical of the bank’s leadership for much of the year, railing against cases of fraud and “corruption.” He also opposed the petition that brought the issue up for a vote for procedural reasons.

In a Friday interview, Poliquin cast some doubt on whether GE would have brought jobs to Maine, saying it’s “a private company,” we “have no idea what their plans are” and there “has not been one (existing) job that has been cut.”

“I’m not representing our 2nd District to play political games,” he said. “There was one vote to authorize the bank and it happened this week and I voted for it after pushing as hard as humanly possible to end the corruption at the bank.”

LePage to Rockland for post-election town hall

All political eyes will be on Rockland on Wednesday evening, when Gov. Paul LePage will hold a town hall meeting from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at City Hall.

It’ll likely be the first chance for LePage to respond publicly to the results of Tuesday’s election, and a statement from his office said he’ll also brief attendees on his trade mission last week to China and Japan.

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Michael Shepherd

About Michael Shepherd

Michael Shepherd joined the Bangor Daily News in 2015 after covering state, federal and local issues for the Kennebec Journal for three years. He's a Hallowell native who now lives in Gardiner. He graduated from the University of Maine in 2012 and is a graduate student at the University of Southern Maine's Muskie School of Public Service.