MADAWSKA, Maine (12/21/12)--
The 2014 World Acadian Congress Commemorative (WAC2014) License Plate, to be distributed by Maine's credit unions, was unveiled Wednesday. Officials at the unveiling include, from left: Emlien Nadeau, WAC2014 president; Jason Parent, WAC2014 Maine international president; David Rossignol, Maine Credit Union League board chairman; John Martin, former state representative and bill sponsor; State Rep. Ken Theriault, bill co-sponsor; and Sen. Troy Jackson, bill co-sponsor. (Photo provided by the Maine Credit Union League)
Officials from Maine credit unions, the state of Maine, and the World Acadian Congress 2014 Wednesday unveiled the design of a new commemorative license plate to mark the 2014 World Acadian Congress/Congres Mondial Acadien (CMA). Maine credit unions are the official distribution source for the plates.
The event took place at NorState FCU in Madawaska. The plates will benefit the congress, which is jointly held in Aroostock County, part of New Brunswick and part of Quebec, and the Maine Credit Unions' Campaign for Ending Hunger.
This is the first time since the U.S. celebrated its Bicentennial in 1976 that the state has issued a commemorative license plate to mark a significant event, said the Maine Credit Union League.
"The fact this is the first such license plate that our state issues in nearly four decades speaks volumes about our recognition as the outstanding contributions of the Acadian people here in the St. John Valley and of Franco-Americans throughout our great state," said Maine Secretary of State Charlie Summers.
The congress, held every five years, draws more than 50,000 visitors from 44 countries and has an economic impact that exceeds $50 million, said the league.
Maine efforts to prepare for the event were boosted at the license plate unveiling ceremony. David Rossignol, board chair of the league and president/CEO of Norstate FCU, announced the plates would go on sale beginning yesterday at all participating Maine credit unions.
Rossignol also announced that the first partnership of its kind between Maine credit unions and an event with statewide impact would also help residents in need. For every plate sold at any participating credit union, $1 of the proceeds will support the credit unions' ending-hunger campaign.
"Many Maine credit unions had their beginnings in communities across Maine that have a strong connection to the French Acadian and Franco-American heritage and culture," said John Murphy, league president, calling it a "natural partnership."
The plate is different from other commemorative plates; it does not have any numbers or letters on its face and cannot replace legal license plates. The plate was initiated by State Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake, the lead sponsor of the bill, which was co-sponsored by then-Senate President Kevin Raye of Washington County; Sen. Troy Jackson, Aroostook County; Rep. Bernard Ayotte, Caswell; and Rep. Ken Theriault, Madawaska.
State legislation allows the plate to be placed over the existing legal plate on the front of a vehicle. The commemorative plate expires in December 2015.