Small Business Advocate
Secretary Summers recently appointed J. N. Martin Jr. (“Jay”) as Maine’s first Small Business Advocate. This position was formed as part of LD 1, “An Act To Ensure Regulatory Fairness and Reform,” (referred to as "Special Advocate", pages 12-15) approved in a bipartisan vote then signed into law by Gov. Paul LePage on June 13, 2011. Secretary Summers will chair the Regulatory Fairness Board, to be staffed by Martin, which will hear testimony and report to the Legislature and the Governor on regulatory and statutory changes necessary to enhance the state's business climate.
The Small Business Advocate will reach out and respond to small businesses of 50 employees or fewer that are addressing state regulatory concerns, with a focus on resolving enforcement actions. Secretary Summers states, “Jay will serve as an independent voice to advise and inform me of regulatory issues that create significant economic hardship for Maine’s small business community. This is the first position of its kind for Maine and the nation, and we project very positive results.”
Jay is one of five sons raised in Bangor by parents Ann (Morris) of Falmouth and J. Normand Martin of Madawaska. His mother, who passed away in 1994, was a dedicated volunteer who served as the Bangor Symphony Women’s first president. His father is an active community supporter and well-known commercial artist who specializes in portrait art, and perhaps is best known for designing Bangor’s Paul Bunyan statue.
A graduate of John Bapst High School, Jay worked as a restaurant manager throughout his college years, including four years at Paul’s Restaurant in Bangor alongside current DECD Commissioner George Gervais. Upon receiving his BA English degree at the University of Maine in 1995, Jay began his career as a technical writer and editor, assisting Bangor’s Bill Buckley in franchising his Coffee News publication across the U.S., then serving as Associate Editor for the Solid State Circuits Society under Prof. John Wuorinen. He served as the chief grant writer, fundraiser, and marketing specialist for Washington Hancock Community Agency, leading efforts that earned WHCA over four million dollars in grants and contributions. Recently, Jay led United Cerebral Palsy of Maine in its acquisition of the Elizabeth Levinson Center in Bangor. Since 1995, Jay has served a variety of businesses through his consulting service, Write It Right – Profitable Proposals and Promotions.
Regarding his appointment as Maine’s first Small Business Advocate, Jay says, “This is a terrific opportunity for me to assist small business owners throughout the state who may inadvertently run afoul of Maine’s extensive and often complex regulatory requirements. I will perform as an intermediary, resolving regulatory disputes so that businesses can rectify matters without undue burden or penalty. My priority is to look out for small businesses, so to be effective, I will seek their active engagement, while building cooperative relationships with the state’s regulatory agencies.”
Jay serves on the American Folk Festival’s Volunteer Committee as the chair of the Bucket Brigade. His wife Karen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker employed by Veterans Administration in Bangor. They live in Stillwater in a vintage home they have nearly completed renovating.