LGBTQ Mainers have much to celeberate with pro-LGBTQ Gov.-elect Janet Mills, a new administration, and Democratic majorities in both the State House and Senate. Not only that, Maine’s LGBTQ community can rest assured that they are well-represented in Maine’s new government. This past week, three LGBTQ people were elevated to top positions in both the new administration and State House leadership.
Gov.-elect Janet Mills appoints Jeremy Kennedy as Chief of Staff
Jeremy Kennedy, a Portland resident and longtime political activist, was named chief of staff by Gov.-elect JanetMills, who called him a “world-class strategist.” Prior to being named chief of staff and running Mills’ election campaign, Kennedy was the Maine director of advocacy for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. He has also served as executive director of the Maine Democratic Party and was involved in the successful Maine marriage equality campaign, among other things.
“The challenges facing our state are clear: we must lower health care costs, address our workforce shortage, retain and attract young people to the state, and improve our public education system,” Kennedy said in a prepared statement. “Under Gov.-elect Mills’ leadership, I know we can tackle these serious problems and chart a new and better direction for our state. I look forward to helping her accomplish these goals as Chief of Staff.”
Two openly gay legislators elected to top House leadership positions
For the 129th legislative session, State Rep. Matt Moonen (D-Portland, part), who is also executive director of Equality Maine, was elected as the majority leader by House Democrats. Rep. Moonen is a longtime progressive activist who helped advance issues such as marriage equality and campaign finance reform in Maine.
In addition, State Rep. Ryan Fecteau (D-Biddeford), who sponsored a bill to ban conversion therapy during the 128th legislative session, was elected assistant majority leader. Rep. Fecteau is the second youngest member of the Maine state legislature and the youngest openly gay legislator in the U.S. He won The Trevor Project’s 2015 Youth Innovator of the Year award for his work on suicide prevention,.
Maine’s legislature also features other prominent members of Maine’s LGBTQ community, listed below:
State Senator Justin Chenette (D-Saco)
Sen. Chenette was recently re-elected to a second term as State Senator for Senate District 31 (Hollis, Limington, Saco, and parts of Buxton). He formerly served as State Rep. for House District 15 in 2014 and was first elected to that position in 2012, when it was District 134. He has a long history of political involvement, beginning with his appointment to the Maine State Board of Education in 2008, and his election as an at-large delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
State Rep. Craig Hickman (D-Winthrop)
Rep. Craig Hickman was re-elected to a fourth term as state representative for House District 82 (Readfield, Winthrop, and part of Monmouth). He is the first openly gay African American to serve in the Maine House of Representatives. He is an organic farmer, small business owner, chef, poet, and a published author. He serves on a number of boards and commissions and received a Spirit of America Foundation Award for Community Service in 2011.
State Rep. Andrew McLean (D-Gorham)
Rep. McLean was re-elected to a fourth term as state representative for Maine House District 27 (parts of Gorham and Scarborough). He works in public higher education administration and earned a public policy masters from the Muskie School of Public Service. In 2009, he was appointed by Gov. Baldacci to serve on the Maine Commission for Community Service, which he did until his election to the Maine legislature in 2012.
State Rep. Lois Galgay Reckitt (D-South Portland)
Rep. Reckitt was re-elected for a second term as state representative for Maine House District 31 (part of South Portland). She is a member of the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame and has been a tireless advocate for Maine women and families. She is a co-founder of the Human Rights Campaign and Maine Women’s Lobby.
State Rep. Charlotte Warren (D-South Portland)
Rep. Warren was re-elected to a third-term as state representative for House District 84 (Hallowell, Manchester, and Gardner). She is an adjunct professor in the University of New England’s Graduate School of Social Work and consultant. She’s served on the Hallowell City Council for 12 years, four of them as mayor.