Incoming 127th Maine Legislature Picks Leaders (UPDATED w/ Statements)

Posted on November 13, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Senate President Mike Thibodeau, Majority Leader Garrett Mason and Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing

Senate President Mike Thibodeau (Waldo), Majority Leader Garrett Mason (Androscoggin) and Asst Majority Leader Andre Cushing (Penobscot)

Last week, the Republicans in both legislative chambers of the Maine State House selected their leadership.

With Friday’s recount of Senate District 11 between Sen. Mike Thibodeau of Waldo and challenger Jonathan Fulford of Monroe concluding that the district re-elected the incumbent by a 135 vote margin, the make-up of the Senate Majority leadership team selected last week will be: Senate President Mike Thibodeau, Majority Leader Garrett Mason and Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing. Each issued statements:

Senate President Mike Thibodeau:“I cannot begin to express what this means to me. It is a true honor to be chosen by such an outstanding group of people to lead not only them, but the entire Maine Senate.

“At the same time, I recognize it is an awesome responsibility. The people of Maine spoke very clearly in this week’s election. They are demanding action on critical issues such as job creation, energy costs, and welfare reform. We cannot let them down. Delivering real results will take the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats to put their partisan differences aside and work in a collaborative manner on behalf of the people of Maine. It is what we were elected to do and we must rise to the challenge.”

Majority Leader Garrett Mason: “I am very honored to have earned the trust of my Republican colleagues who chose me to be the majority leader. I look forward to working with my fellow senators, members of the House of Representatives, and Governor LePage to find real solutions for the people of Maine.”

Assistant Majority Leader Andre Cushing: “I am looking forward to the opportunity to go to work on the agenda items that are most important to the citizens of Maine.”

As has been noted in the past, both Thibodeau and Cushing have long-standing ties to ALEC, as do a number of other returning Maine GOP senators and incoming Kim Rosen, wife of former State Senator Richard Rosen of Bucksport.

Over in the House, Republicans chose to retain 126th Minority Leader Ken Fredette of Newport to serve again in the 127th in that office and replace outgoing Alex Willette, who resigned to take a position with the LePage re-election campaign, with Rep. Eleanor Espling of New Gloucester.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves, , Majority Leader Jeff McCabe and Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon

Speaker of the House Mark Eves (N. Berwick), Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (Skowhegan) and Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon (Freeport)

On Wednesday, Democrats held separate caucuses to select their leaders. The House Democrats had lost a few seats in the recently concluded elections, but managed to retain their majority.

While Speaker of the House Mark Eves was not challenged for his seat, the other two leadership positions went up to votes by the caucus, with Rep. Barry Hobbins going up against Assistant Majority Leader Jeff McCabe for the Majority Leader spot last held by termed-out Rep. Seth Berry (Bowdoinham), and 126th freshmen Rep. Lori Lister Fowle (Vassalboro) taking on Rep. Sara Gideon (Freeport) for McCabe’s chair. Ultimately the body selected McCabe and Gideon to join Eves as their 127th Legislative leaders.

Speaker of the House Mark Eves: “It is an honor and privilege to lead our strong and historic 83 seat majority. With Election Day behind us, now is the time govern. We must come together with Governor LePage and our Republican colleagues to address the challenges we face as a state. We cannot allow the partisan battles of the past dictate our future.

“Too much is at stake for leaders to put their party ideology ahead of common sense solutions. Democrats and Republicans can see eye to eye on smart and strategic investments in our state, on property tax relief, on lowering energy costs and helping seniors and veterans. We must focus on areas of common ground, not conflict.”

Majority Leader Jeff McCabe: “We need to move Maine forward and do everything we can to improve the lives of Mainers. We must establish an economic message and policy that works statewide. The voters sent us a message on Election Day. They don’t care about party labels or partisan ideology. They care about government that works.”

Asst Majority Leader Sara Gideon: “Now that these long and divisive campaigns are over, it’s time to show the people of Maine that we are about action, that Democrats will deliver while holding steadfast to our values, that Democrats own the idea of prosperity for everyone. We will work with all our strength to protect the values of Maine people: women’s economic security and basic rights, workers’ ability to organize, a clean and sustainable environment and the integrity of excellent public school systems.”

The Senate-elect Democrats, who saw their 18 majority shrink to a 15 seat minority last week, held a caucus Wednesday evening in Hallowell.

Democratic Senators congratulate Dawn Hill as being selected as Assistant Minority Leader. To her right is Senator Justin Alfond, who will be moving from the podium as exiting Senate President to serve as Minority Leader for the upcoming 127th legislative session.

Democratic Senators congratulate Dawn Hill as being selected as Assistant Minority Leader. To her right is Senator Justin Alfond, who will be moving from the podium as exiting Senate President to serve as Minority Leader for the upcoming 127th legislative session.

They chose outgoing Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland to serve as their Minority Leader in the upcoming 127th legislative session. Alfond is in his final term and served in the 125th Legislature as Assistant Minority Leader to then-Senator Barry Hobbins’ Minority Leader.

Senator Dawn Hill of Cape Neddick, who chaired the 126th Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee and was honored as Emerge Maine’s Woman of the Year along with fellow AFA Chair Rep. Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston, was chosen to serve as Assistant Minority Leader for the next two years.

Minority Leader Senator Justin Alfond:“Even though, as Democrats, our political beliefs may be different from Paul LePage and Republicans in the Legislature, there are areas in which we agree–and we must build off of that common ground in order to serve the Maine people. I will extend my hand with to Governor LePage, Senate President-elect Thibodeau and others to find that common ground and forge the relationships needed to move ideas forward that work for Maine people.”

Asst Minority Leader Dawn Hill: (sent a message of listening to her fellow lawmakers to ensure that) “we all carry the distinct stories and values of our districts. Listening is how we define our plan and our purpose going forward.”

The 127th Legislature will be sworn into office on December 3 by Governor Paul LePage.

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Emerge Maine To Honor Senator Dawn Hill and Representative Peggy Rotundo as 2014 Women of the Year

Posted on March 20, 2014. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Via press release:

Emerge Maine To Honor Senator Dawn Hill and Representative Peggy Rotundo as 2014 Women of the Year
AFL­CIO organizer Sarah Bigney named 2014 Rising Star

Senator Dawn Hill and Rep. Peggy Rotundo, chairs of the legislature's Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, listen to testimony at a public hearing.

Senator Dawn Hill and Rep. Peggy Rotundo, chairs of the legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, listen to testimony at a public hearing.

Portland­­- Emerge Maine, the premier political training program for Maine Democratic women, has named State Senator Dawn Hill of Cape Neddick and State Representative Peggy Rotundo of Lewiston as the 2014 Women of the Year. Previous Emerge Women of the Year are Clerk of the House Millie MacFarland (2010), the Honorable Libby MItchell (2011), Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (2012), and Attorney General Janet Mills (2013).

Senator Hill and Representative Rotundo chair the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee, the state’s budget­writing committee. In an economically challenging and contentious political environment, they lead by example demonstrating a strong commitment to bipartisanship, working together, and civility in politics. Under their leadership, the Appropriations Committee unanimously recommended a bipartisan budget that was approved by more than two­ thirds of lawmakers in the House and the Senate during initial votes and again during subsequent votes to override Governor LePage’s veto of the budget.

    “Senator Hill and Representative Rotundo exemplify what it means to engage in civil discourse in politics,” said Jill Barkley, the Executive Director of Emerge Maine. “These two incredible women have worked together to create and maintain our state’s budget while fielding more than one funding crisis. They remain calm and committed to the best outcome for our state. We are thankful for their leadership.”

dawn hillSenator Hill, a non practicing attorney, is currently serving her second term as State Senator representing Eliot, Kittery, Ogunquit, South Berwick, and York. Prior to her time in the Senate, she served two terms in the State House representing York. In May 2008, she graduated from the prestigious “Leadership Maine,” a program of the Maine Development Foundation, in the Omicron Class.

Senator Hill is the founder and owner of It’s a Dog’s World, a large canine training and activity facility in southern Maine. She also serves on the board of directors for MMG Insurance of Presque Isle, Maine.

    “I’m honored to be named one of Emerge’s women of the year,” said Senator Hill. “It is an even greater honor to share this designation with all of the previous women named, who have worked tirelessly for our great state.”

peggy rotundoRepresentative Rotundo was first elected to the Legislature in 2000. She served four terms in the State Senate and is currently serving her third term in the State House representing part of the city of Lewiston. During her time in the Legislature, she has sponsored legislation that has created greater public access to government information, a cleaner environment, greater educational opportunities for all Maine people and better services for veterans and the elderly.

She has also led in creating bipartisan state budgets. Rep. Rotundo has won numerous awards for her work on these issues and for her work in creating civil and respectful public discourse. Prior to her service in the Legislature, she served on the Lewiston School Committee, which she chaired for four years.

Representative Rotundo helped found the Center for Service­ Learning at Bates College in Lewiston in 1995, which has become a nationally recognized program that connects Bates students to the community through service. She currently serves as the Director of Strategic and Policy Initiatives for the Bates College Harward Center for Community Partnerships.

    “I am deeply honored to be recognized by Emerge Maine, which has done so much to encourage and support women interested in public service,” said Representative Rotundo. “We all stand on the shoulders of courageous women leaders who have gone before us. We honor their lives and service by encouraging and mentoring the next generation of great women leaders.”

Sarah Bigney and Sen. John Patrick (D-Rumford) at the State House.

Sarah Bigney and Sen. John Patrick (D-Rumford) at the State House.

Emerge Maine will also be honoring Rising Star Sarah Bigney of Hallowell. An Emerge alumna from the Class of 2009, Bigney is Director of Field and Member Mobilization at the Maine AFL­CIO where she advocates for workers’ rights and economic justice. Her work includes supporting the newly formed Maine Lobstering Union and recruiting and training union members to be candidates for the Legislature. She was named the 2014 “Mrs. Paul Bunyan” in her hometown of Bangor.

    “I’m humbled to be recognized by Emerge Maine. The training I completed with Emerge was such a terrific boost when I was first starting out working in politics,” said Bigney. “I greatly value the encouragement and support I receive from this powerful network of women leaders in public service in our state. Together we will make Maine a better place for working families to thrive.”

Emerge Maine is one of fourteen state Emerge programs across the country.

Emerge is committed to increasing the number of Democratic women in office, building a strong network of dedicated women leaders, and creating a pipeline of Democratic candidates at all levels of government. Emerge Maine has 140 alumnae, Emerge Maine alumnae make up ten percent of the House Democratic caucus, and there will be 20 Emerge Maine alumnae running for the State House in 2014.

Senator Hill, Representative Rotundo, and Bigney will be honored at the 2014 Woman of the Year reception Thursday, May 15, at the Senator Inn in Augusta.
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Emerge Maine Honors 2013 Woman of the Year Janet Mills and Rising Star Heidi Brooks

Posted on June 25, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , |

June 20th was a special day, as Emerge Maine celebrated their 2013 Woman of the Year, Attorney General Janet Mills of Farmington, and 2013 Rising Star Dr. Heidi Brooks of Lewiston at a fete at Augusta’s Senator Inn.

Janet Mills and Heidi Brooks

Janet Mills and Heidi Brooks

Janet Mills, Maine’s current Attorney General, is nothing short of a living legend in Maine politics. She served 4 terms in the Maine House of Representatives before becoming the state’s first woman Attorney General in 2009 under Governor John Baldacci. She served as the Maine Democratic Party’s vice chair the past few years and resumed her former position as Maine’s Attorney General earlier year. A lifelong resident of her beloved Farmington, Mills is an alumna of UMass Boston and University of Maine School of Law. Janet is married to Stanley Kuklinski, with whom she has five stepdaughters and three grandsons.

This is the inaugural year for the Rising Star award. Its first recipient, Dr. Heidi Brooks of Lewiston, is a 2012 graduate of the Emerge Maine program, who in her capacity as a physician believes that healthcare is a basic human right and has seen firsthand the consequences of not providing healthcare early enough to prevent illness. To that end, Heidi currently volunteers as Co-Chair of Maine People’s Alliance Board and as Secretary of both the Maine Democratic State Committee and the Androscoggin County Democratic Committee. She was recently appointed to the Lewiston Community Development Block Grant Citizens Advisory Committee and elected to the local Head Start Board.

Emerge Maine is part of a national network, Emerge America, that is currently working in eleven states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Wisconsin. Now in its twelfth year, Emerge Maine has graduated 120 Demcoratic women with 9 currently serving in the 126th Legislature, including freshmen lawmakers Katherine Cassidy, Mattie Daughtry, Sara Gideon, Catherine Nadeau and Lisa Villa.

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap introduced his friend and the Woman of the Year honoree in a touching and hilarious address:

And then it was Janet’s turn, which was equally entertaining, as well as uplifting for all of those in attendance:

Past recipients of Emerge Maine Woman of the Year award include current Maine House of Representatives Clerk Millie MacFarland (2010), former Senate President/ Speaker of the House/ 2010 Maine Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell (2011) and U.S. Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (2012).

(Many thanks to Peter Imber for allowing his photos to be used in this report. ~AP)

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18 Democratic Women Graduate as Emerge Maine’s Class of 2012

Posted on February 6, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: |

(Photo courtesy of Emerge Maine; it includes over 30 current and past alumni)

From their press release:

Eighteen Democratic women graduated from Emerge Maine’s 6th campaign training program this past Saturday, with six of them planning to run for the Maine State legislature in 2012. They are: Sara Gideon of Freeport, Bettyann Sheats of Auburn, Gail Maynard of Woodland, Pamela Boivin of Manchester, Rachel Sukeforth of Litchfield and Dana Hernandez of Waterville. All but Hernandez will be seeking seats in the Maine House. Hernandez will run for the Senate.

Emerge Maine’s class of 2012 is comprised of eighteen women who work as local leaders, business owners, parents, students, union members and professionals in communities across Maine. The program included a rigorous six-month training aimed at increasing the number of Maine women serving in state, local and county offices.

The keynote speaker was Libby Mitchell, who was Emerge Maine’s 2011 Woman of the Year.

In addition to the six women seeking statewide office the class includes Heidi Brooks, Lewiston; Nicole Brown, Fairfield; Lanette Bryant, Dixfield; Danielle Chrissman, Bradley; Robin Dayton, Old Orchard Beach; Delia Gorham, Randolph; Emma Halas-O’Connor, Portland; Isobel Moiles, Orono; Ashley Williams-Phaneuf, South Portland; Amanda Pike, Westbrook; Molly Quaid, Portland and Kimberly Sampson, Auburn.

“More than two dozen of our alums have been elected to office,” said Emerge Maine executive director Katie Mae Simpson. “We currently have six alumnae in the state legislature. With six more planning to run we’re excited about helping to establish a growing female presence at every level of office. The coming election cycle is critical for Democrats and we’re confident that our program has prepared these women to run strong and effective campaigns.”

With this graduating class Emerge Maine will have inspired, educated and prepared 106 Democratic women for public office.

Applications are being accepted for the next EM class.

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