A Gala Celebrating Dana Connors
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce, chamber members, friends, family, and dignitaries gathered on Thursday, December 8, 2022, at the Holiday Inn Portland-By the Bay to celebrate the career and accomplishments of Dana Connors. After nearly 30 years of service to Maine's business Community through the Chamber, Connors is set to retire in early 2023.
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The Congressional Record
Senator Susan Collins
November 29, 2022
TRIBUTE TO DANA CONNORS
Ms. COLLINS. Madam President, it is a great pleasure to join people throughout the State of Maine in thanking Dana Connors for a remarkable career of nearly six decades of devoted service and lasting contributions in government and the private sector. In addition to being an outstanding leader, Dana is a cherished friend to me and so many others.
I first met Dana when I was working for Bill Cohen in Washington and he was the city manager of Presque Isle, a position he held for 16 years. Both of us are natives of Aroostook County, so we have always had that special county bond.
Years later, we served together in Governor John McKernan's cabinet, where he was commissioner of transportation. Everyone who worked with Dana during his 11 years in that challenging role was in awe of the fact that Dana could go into any meeting, and no matter how unhappy the people might be about the condition of a road or bridge in their community, they inevitably came out smiling. He just had a knack, which he still has, of always listening to people and making them feel valued.
From there, Dana stepped forward to serve as president of the chamber. Throughout his nearly 30 years of leadership, he has shown a deep understanding of the role of businesses in our State, particularly those that are owned by families. He is a staunch supporter of Maine's traditional industries, including farming, fishing, and forestry, and a champion of such emerging industries as advanced manufacturing and biotechnology.
What motivates Dana are his love for our State, his belief in our communities, and his deep affection for our hard-working, ingenious, and determined people. He understands the importance of creating an environment that is conducive to small businesses starting up, growing, and expanding. Above all, Dana is passionate about ensuring that Mainers have good jobs and are able to stay right here in Maine. There
is no better demonstration of this desire than his strong and effective advocacy for vocational education, apprenticeships, and other programs that provide Mainers with skills that are in demand by Maine employers.
I am especially grateful to Dana for the advice he provided during the pandemic as I was drafting the Paycheck Protection Program. I knew I could turn to him for guidance on how it should be crafted and what would work best to help our small employers remain in business and continue to pay their employees. Dana was truly an invaluable resource during that crisis.
There is one special memory of Dana that I want to share. In 2016, he brought together all five of Maine's living U.S. Senators--George Mitchell, Bill Cohen, Olympia Snowe, Angus King, and me--for a forum about public confidence in government and bipartisanship. It is a testament to the enduring relationships Dana has forged and the respect he has earned from members of both parties that he was able to convince all five former and current Senators to come to the same event on the same night.
There is another part to that story that says so much about Dana. At the time, my husband, Tom Daffron, was teaching a class at the University of Maine. He told Dana that the Senators forum would be a wonderful event for students to attend, but they could not afford to pay for the dinner. Dana quickly devised a solution. He offered students the opportunity to volunteer at the event, which would allow them to attend
for free. Those students were absolutely thrilled to see five Maine Senators on the same stage discussing the issues of the day, all because of Dana's generosity and his caring for the next generation.
Dana has made such a positive difference for Maine in all of the positions he has held. His legacy is that Maine is an even better place to live, raise a family, and start a business. He has done so much, and I know that there is another chapter yet to come. In the meantime however, I offer my very best wishes to Dana and his wife, Joyce, and
my deepest thanks.
Senator Angus King
September 21, 2022
TRIBUTE TO DANA CONNORS
Mr. KING. Mr. President, I rise today to honor the career one of Maine's most dedicated, respected leaders: Dana Connors. Dana is part of the fabric of Maine, and it is almost impossible to concisely recognize the impact he has had on our State.
Dana, a proud native of Aroostook County, started his career as a municipal manager in Presque Isle after graduating from the University of Maine. Here, he served as city manager for 16 years, where he built a reputation as an advocate for common sense, a consensus builder, and a good listener. His exceptional ability to put a fine point on issues and present a case for the greater good brought him to State government, where he served as Maine's Commissioner of the Department of Transportation under both a Democratic and Republican Governor--a true testament to his bipartisan values.
In the time I have known him, it has always been clear that Dana served the people, not any party. It is due to this unimpeachable dedication, that people have always trusted him implicitly. I am one of those people, and when I was lucky enough to serve as Governor of the great State of Maine, Dana was my first and only choice to be my
transition director. Shortly after in 1994, he became president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, where he has served our business community admirably for nearly 30 years.
It is here at the chamber where perhaps he has left his largest legacy. There has never been a greater advocate for Maine's businesses, and his legacy will continue to echo throughout our State for generations. Because of Dana, thousands of Maine businesses have been able to thrive, employ hard- working Maine people, and make our State
the greatest in the Nation.
While his retirement will undoubtably leave a large void in the business community, Dana has instilled the same work ethic and understanding of the needs of Maine businesses in his team. They will continue Dana's legacy and ensure the growing success of the State that Dana devoted his career to.
Dana has made the Maine State chamber a shining example of professionalism. His instincts--and his fashion sense--may be a hard act to follow, but his ability to lead always includes a path for others to succeed. Thank you, Dana, for your friendship, your leadership, and your dedication to public service. Maine is better for it.
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