Rob Brown grew up in Northern Maine in a paper-making family. Brown was the first generation in his family to attend college, and the closing of the paper mill industry in the state drove him to become a community organizer, labor organizer and lobbyist. His personal background is in tax reform and tax policy. In 2006, Brown and a group of others formed Opportunity Maine as a citizensâ€™ initiative to create new legislation in the state.
Opportunity Maine executive director Rob Brown discusses the methodology and practicality behind Maineâ€™s new innovative public policy dedicated to expanding education and economic development in the state. Ranked one of the Top 10 Policy Initiatives of 2007, Opportunity Maine is gaining national attention for providing tax credits to pay down college debt for students who graduate from Maine colleges and agree to live and work in the state thereafter. Brown talks about the policy and how it was made a law. He calls the policy a last dollar financing mechanism for higher education. By using income tax credits and piggybacking on the financial aid system, Maine has created an efficient and accountable program that provides increased investment in higher education solely for Maine residents.