Democratic presidential candidate, former New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, speaks during a campaign rally, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Chicago. Bloomberg unveiled a rough sketch of his plans to create millions of new jobs focused largely in communities he says have been “left behind” by President Donald Trump. Credit: Teresa Crawford | AP

Growing up in a working-class family, you learn not only the value of hard work, integrity and honesty. You learn that if you have an opportunity to help, you have an obligation to act. These are the values Mike Bloomberg and I share, and it’s why I’m proud to endorse him for president.

While there are certainly some differences between being raised in a Maine mill family and as the son of a Massachusetts farm bookkeeper, the lessons are the same. It’s why Mike and I believe in an all-in economy, where you can have a good job, and there is no limit to what you can accomplish — regardless of your zip code.

However, our economy right now is leaving too many people behind, and it’s time for a fresh approach. Mike understands that small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy and our communities. His plan will invest where it counts, creating “ Business Resource Centers” that act as a support system for our small businesses.

In turn, he will boost community and technical colleges, helping them build career-training systems to address the workforce shortage and provide the skills employers are looking for. This includes providing our veterans with the tools and job opportunities they deserve, they served the country, and we have an obligation to repay that debt. As mayor of New York City, Mike did just this, creating close to half a million good jobs, and supporting more than 10,000 small businesses.

An all-in economy also means investing in the rural areas that make up much of Northern Maine. Mike’s plan includes expanding rural broadband and providing Maine communities with the connectivity and infrastructure to support the jobs and businesses they need. This connectivity will not just increase business opportunity but access to online education, large information networks and increased telecommuting to fight population decline.

Unfortunately, the issues facing our rural areas are many, and they have been especially hard hit by the opioid epidemic. As mayor of New York City, and as a philanthropist, Mike has fought the addiction crisis, investing millions to fight addiction in the communities that have suffered the most. He would continue this work as president. His plan would prioritize treatment for those suffering from addiction, and ensure that our rural health care centers have the resources they need to fight this epidemic.

As a lifelong union member, the rights of my union brothers and sisters are something I look for in any plan. Mike’s plan will grant all workers the right to organize and collectively bargain. He recognizes the importance of workers’ rights to our economy, and our communities.

Mike has long been a global leader on another urgent issue facing our state — the climate crisis. Every aspect of our economy is threatened by climate change, from the forest products industry to farming and tourism.

I’ve seen the work Mike has done on this issue. When Washington pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Mike gathered cites, states, and private businesses — together they help keep our country’s promises. He led the effort to replace coal plants with clean energy, reducing coal pollution deaths by 10,000 a year — all while creating new jobs. His plans build on this, reaching a 100 percent clean energy economy by 2050 and continuing to grow clean energy jobs across the country. Mike’s leadership on the climate crisis is unmatched, and I know that he is the person to continue this fight into the White House.

To do any of this though, we have to take back Washington, and Mike is the candidate to do it. He grew up in a small New England town, working to pay for his own college. Now he’s one of the world’s most successful businessmen, philanthropists and mayors. He isn’t running to further divide the country, but instead to bring it together and build a country and a state we can be proud of. He understands that it’s time for less talk, less partisanship, and less division. It’s time to get things done. He’s the president this country needs and one we can all be proud of.

Mike Michaud of East Millinocket represented Maine’s 2nd Congressional District from 2003 to 2015. After running for governor, he became assistant secretary of labor for veterans’ employment and training under President Barack Obama.