Document Type

Book

Publisher

Franco American Centre Publications

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Publication Date

Spring 2013

Language

English/French

Issue Number

1

Abstract/ Summary

In 2012, the 125th Maine Legislature established the Maine Task Force on Franco-Americans. As articulated in LD 1601,1 the purpose of the Task Force was to gather basic Franco American demographic data, investigate various dimensions of the Franco American heritage in Maine, evaluate the current economic and educational cir­cumstances of this population group, and report to the Legislature its findings by the end of the year. The Task Force was to meet four times. LD 1601 called upon the University of Maine’s Franco American Centre to support the Task Force’s work.

The Task Force on Franco-Americans was chaired by Representative Ken Fredette of Newport and Senator Thomas Martin of Benton. Other members included Representative Brian Bolduc of Auburn, Juliana L’Heureux of Topsham, Yvon Labbé of Greenville, Severin Beliveau of Hallowell, David Madore of Augusta, Daniel Deveau of Van Buren, Susan Pinette of Orono, Gilman Pelletier of Waterville, Raymond Lagueux of Lewiston, and James Lemieux of Pittsfield. The committee staff consisted of two members: Karen Nadeau-Drillen, legislative analyst, and Natalie Haynes, legislative analyst, both at the Office of Policy and Legal Analysis, Maine Legislature.

Given the limits of scientific data specific to Franco Americans in Maine, the Task Force determined that it needed not only to examine existing statistics and research material, but also to inquire into current attitudes among Maine’s Franco American population, to ascertain first- person views on a number of subjects not covered by other data collection methods, including the most recent U.S. Census.

Toward that end, in keeping with the long-term vision Representative Ken Fredette proposed for the Task Force, the Franco American Centre at the University of Maine commissioned a 600-person attitudinal survey carried out by Command Research, a Maine-based, national public opinion survey company, located in Harpswell.

Funding for this survey was made possible by the generosity of a number of people and organizations, especially the University of Maine, the University of Southern Maine, the University of Maine at Fort Kent, the University of Maine System, the Forum Francophone des Affaires (FFA-USA), Representative Ken Fredette, and Juliana L’Heureux.

Command Research conducted field work during late July and early August of 2012. The study consisted of a 55-question survey administered to 600 self-described Franco American adults in Maine who were chosen at ran­dom based on the statewide geographical distribution of this population group. The normal statistical margin of error for a study of this type is plus or minus .04 at the 95th level of confidence.

An initial exploration of the findings of this survey, together with important census data and secondary research, provide the basis for this Occasional Paper #1. It is our hope that this paper will stimulate further research into the thousands of pages of findings already generated, and that it will engender further explorations of the attitudes of Franco American communities in Maine—indeed of all communities in Maine—on an ongoing basis.

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