SACO - Former State Senator Justin Chenette, of Saco, has announced he is running for a seat on the York County Commission in next year’s election.
“I’m running to be your next county commissioner to fight every single day for a more accessible, transparent, and accountable government -- just like I’ve done in the legislature,” says Chenette. “We should expect more from our elected officials than just the bare minimum; They should be accountable to you.”
One of the biggest issues Chenette sees is the lack of engagement and awareness of what is happening with county government.
“The county commission shouldn’t be Maine’s lost level of government. Sadly, we don’t see a lot of attention paid to county government actions and that directly stems from our elected officials not engaging the public throughout the decision-making process. I’m seeking to change that with a new generation of leadership on the commission.”
Chenette plans to hold monthly office hours, attend community events, and provide frequent updates through social media, email newsletters, and newspaper columns to keep the public informed and to get direct feedback. He also wants to see commission meetings held in the evening instead of during the day to encourage greater participation.
If elected, Chenette would be the first millennial ever elected to the commission, at age 30, and would be the only commissioner who is a member of the LGBTQ+ community. He previously made history as the youngest lawmaker in the country when he was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives at age 21. He served a total of 8 years in the legislature, with two terms in the House and two terms in the Senate, including a stint as chairman of the bipartisan Government Oversight Committee.
Chenette is currently the only registered candidate with the Maine Ethics Commission for the District #3 seat which includes Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Buxton, and Dayton, though the district is subject to redistricting changes. The commission term is 4 years and the Primary Election is set for next June.
To view Chenette’s full action plan, visit www.AccountableToYou.org.
SACO – Former State Senator Justin Chenette has indicated interest in filling the Ward 5 vacancy on the Saco School Board, after Art Tardif resigned last month due to medical reasons.
“As a proud product of Saco schools, I would be honored to step in to assist the board over the next few months until the newly elected board member is sworn in,” said Chenette. “Because of the shortened timeframe, my experience in the legislature and on the state board of education, in addition to my longtime connections in our schools, will enable me to hit the ground running.”
In 2008, Chenette was appointed by Governor John Baldacci as the first student member on the Maine State Board of Education. There he approved school construction projects, similar to the one being planned for Young School.
Between 2012-2020, Chenette represented the Saco area as both a Senator and Representative in the legislature, working to increase the state’s share of education funding, updating the state’s anti-bullying laws, and successfully passing legislation to make service learning a component of Maine’s high school graduation standards.
“I’ve spent a great deal of time in our local schools teaching Saco students about how their government works, reading to them, and empowering them to use their voice to make a difference. They inspire me to advocate for the best interests of those in the classroom,” he said.
Chenette previously provided arts grants to Saco Middle School and CK Burns to improve their performance stage, purchase over 20 instruments, and double the strings budget.
The Ward 5 term is set to expire in December. According to rules outlined in the city’s charter, the school board must appoint someone to fill a vacancy when the remainder of the term is less than a year. The Saco School Board is currently fielding letters of interest from Ward 5 residents prior to an interview process, vote, and swearing-in.
See Chenette’s full letter of interest to the Saco School Board below:
Rep. Justin Chenette
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