SACO – State Senator Justin Chenette has announced he is withdrawing from the Senate District 31 race, which includes the communities of Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington, and part of Buxton.
Chenette has served 4 consecutive terms and 8 years in the Maine Legislature with 2 terms in the House of Representatives and most recently 2 terms in the Senate. When he was first elected in 2012, he made history as the youngest lawmaker in the country.
“Looking back, I’ve spent every single year of my twenties running for and serving in the Legislature starting at age 20, being sworn into office just a week before graduating from college,” says Chenette. “After spending nearly a decade in office, this decision will enable me to amplify my impact in whatever I decide to do next and was made easier knowing that the district will be in very capable hands.”
Chenette points to the passage of his comprehensive campaign finance reform package this past session as his biggest legislative policy achievement.
“We moved the needle on money in politics, lobbyist influence, and created a more ethical state house so that your voice is heard over donors, corporate lobbyists, and special interest groups that write the biggest check,” says Chenette.
Instead of running for re-election, Chenette plans to empower the next generation of voters through the launch of a civics education organization called the Maine Democracy Project, will publish a full-length children’s book version of his state government coloring book The Great Whoopie Pie Debate, and will be working to help retain Democratic majorities in the Legislature.
Chenette currently serves as the chair of the Government Oversight Committee, co-chair of the Democracy Reform Caucus, chair of the Marijuana Advisory Commission, and is a member of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee, Senate Ethics Committee, Maine Climate Council’s Coastal & Marine Working Group, and is also a Citizen Trade Policy Commissioner.
The York County Democratic Committee will hold a caucus before the August 25th deadline to replace Chenette on the ballot.
SACO – A senior at Thornton Academy has received a public service scholarship for his commitment to helping others.
Brady Forbes of Saco, was recognized with a $500 scholarship from Senator Justin Chenette’s nonprofit scholarship fund. The Spirit of Service Scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior who has demonstrated a passion for helping others, strong leadership skills, and has worked to improve the community outside of the school’s campus.
“Brady is on a path of public service and truly represents the goal of this scholarship which is to empower the next generation of civic leaders,” says Justin Chenette, President of the Chenette Scholarship Fund. “He and his family give back everyday and Brady looks to continue on the family tradition of going into law enforcement.”
Forbes’ father is in the state police and both of his brothers are local police officers.
At Thornton, Forbes played numerous sports including Football and Hockey and volunteered in the community via the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement, Salvation Army, and numerous civic activities on campus.
Forbes plans to attend Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire to study criminal justice and law enforcement on a path to become a police officer.
For more information about the scholarship and to donate to help future students, visit www.ChenetteScholarships.org.
AUGUSTA - The Maine Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee will meet next Wednesday, May 6 at 1:00 p.m. The committee has invited Department of Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman for a briefing on the state’s unemployment insurance system. The meeting will be broadcast over the Legislature’s audio system. Additional organizational details will be released in a separate message.
Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker Sara Gideon released the following statement:
“Mainers across the state are hurting. The number of unemployment claims are record-breaking and each claim represents a person facing a dire financial situation. To ensure Maine people receive the benefits they’re entitled to during this public health crisis, we are convening a meeting of the Labor and Housing committee. Last week we joined with members of Republican leadership, Senator Dow and Representative Dilligham, to request Commissioner Fortman’s presence to discuss any challenges the Department may be facing, including, but not limited to the complexity of implementing novel federal programs, limited staff resources, and information technology infrastructure. We strongly believe that Maine people will be better served if we work together to resolve these issues as the Department of Labor is tasked with a historical challenge.”
Senator Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee released the following statement:
“We all deeply appreciate the remarkable efforts of the Department of Labor to deliver over $200 million in unemployment benefits to more than 70,000 Mainers. The team of just thirteen workers at the Maine Department of Labor handling this has gone above and beyond to deliver. At the same time, thousands of Mainers have experienced serious problems with the system, and we're acutely aware that it's going to get worse before it gets better. We need to make sure the Department of Labor hears what's happening with our constituents, and we need to work collaboratively with them to fix these problems as soon as humanly possible."
Rep. Mike Sylvester, D-Portland, House Chair of the Legislature’s Labor and Housing Committee released the following statement:
“The process of ensuring Mainers have the benefits that they need, and are entitled to, most certainly has been difficult in the midst of COVID-19. Our committee looks forward to working with the Department of Labor to ensure they have everything they need moving forward to keep unemployed workers from drowning in debt.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act
Rep. Justin Chenette
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