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February 25, 2004

For more information please contact:
Muriel Mosher
Tel: 207-623-0680

Senator Collins Secures Participation of Dept. of Homeland Security Undersecretary Hutchinson at First-Ever Maine Homeland Security Conference

WASHINGTON, DC - Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) today announced that she has secured a commitment from Asa Hutchinson, the Undersecretary for Border and Transportation Security, to take part in the first-ever State of Maine Homeland Security Conference.

The conference, scheduled for May 14 and conceived of and organized by Senator Collins, Governor John Baldacci, and the University of Maine, will assist Maine small businesses and first responders in learning about procurement opportunities and obtaining federal contracts and funding from the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to Undersecretary Hutchinson, representatives from DHS’ small business and grant-making offices are expected to make presentations.

“When he comes to Maine, Undersecretary Hutchinson will learn firsthand that Maine's businesses and first responders stand ready to assist the Department in its homeland security efforts. I am pleased that he has accepted my invitation, and I commend him for giving Mainers an opportunity to discuss their concerns and capabilities with the new Department,” said Senator Collins, whose committee has jurisdiction over DHS. She added, “Too often, small businesses find it difficult to navigate the federal contracting process. This conference will help them to understand where to turn first for the information they need.”

“I am pleased to be hosting the Homeland Security Conference with Senator Collins this spring," stated Governor John E. Baldacci. "Small businesses and first responders throughout Maine will gain direct access to key personnel from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and various state resources.” “The conference will enable a free flow of information on contracting, procurement, and security issues, benefiting all Maine citizens and communities. I appreciate the leadership of Senator Collins, as Chair of the Senate Governmental Affairs, on this important endeavor,” added Governor Baldacci.

The conference, geared toward small businesses, first responders, and state and local governments, is expected to feature four different seminar tracks for participants. The seminars include the following:

• Small Business and Procurement
• Small Business/Department of Homeland Security Supply Chain Management
• First Responders/Transportation Security
• Research and Development

In addition, exhibition booths will provide valuable information for homeland security products, as well as contracting and procurement opportunities within private, non-profit, and governmental agencies.

The conference is being produced by the University of Maine and the Maine Small Business Development Centers in association with the Maine Emergency Management Agency, the Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Maine Market Development Center, and the University of Maine Office of the Vice President for Research.