Letter to the editor
February 4, 2022
This is a letter to American Aquafarms CEO Keith Decker.
Good morning, Mr. Decker.
My name is Becky Okeefe and I am a resident of Prospect Harbor, Gouldsboro. I moved here in 1976, married, built a house and raised our two sons here. I have sat on the Solid Waste Committee for over 35 years, coached cross-country and track in the local schools for over 14 years, my husband is a lobster fisherman as well, so I am very closely connected with the people who call Gouldsboro home.
My question is about jobs. From the moment I heard about this project, I thought it ill-advised. Hadn’t we learned anything from the failure of MFT? There was a time when women stood at tables across from each other, their hands cutting and packing sardines at a rate comparable to a machine. They took pride in their work and skill. Stinson factory closed and with it an era. The people of Downeast Maine are independent, self-driven and above all capable of a hard day’s work. But they value sovereignty over their time as number one. Being the mother of two young men in their late 30s, I have watched this generation reject working “for others.” They are inclined to start up their own businesses. They are savvy entrepreneurs with a good handle on social media. They are not going to work in a factory. When MFT brought in workers from outside, workers whose culture was very different than that of Downeast Maine, it was a disaster. We do not have the infrastructure, public transportation or support that is available in a larger town or city.
My questions to you:
Where do you think the workforce for your project is going to come from?
Do you really think the jobs you are creating are ones our young people want?
If you and your family lived in Prospect Harbor, would you be happy to see a huge factory rebuilt there, with 24/7 noise and lights, more truck traffic than ever experienced passing by your home on the very narrow roads every day?
Is this your idea of improvements on what we now have?
This project is about to change our lives forever, not for the better.
Please take time to actually visualize what I am asking you. I have no desire to have this “conversation” if the answers are simply talking points.