It's different being back at the State House today. There is an emptiness both literally and figuratively. We loss a great Representative and friend, Rep. Bill Noon of Sanford.
I had the pleasure of being his seatmate for each session I've been in office, in fact we entered politics the same year and were sworn in together. He was a steady voice of reason and humor in moments I felt stressed throughout our turbulent time up here. He was my go-to on agriculture issues as he always stood up for farmers and locally grown food, being a farmer himself.
Pleased to announce that Christina Scenna of the Thornton Academy class of 2015, received the first Justin Chenette Spirit of Service Scholarship, presented by the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement, a nonprofit service organization.
The $500 scholarship is awarded to a graduating senior in Saco that has demonstrated a passion for helping others, strong leadership skills, and has worked to improve the community outside of the school’s campus.
Christina plans to attend Saint Michael's College in Vermont to study sociology this fall.
AUGUSTA - Maine people will have an opportunity to vote on a $15 million housing bond to build affordable senior housing across the state.
The bond heads to the ballot this November because Gov. Paul LePage failed to sign or veto the bill in the 10-day period afforded to him under the Maine Constitution.
“I am thrilled that Mainers will have the opportunity to vote on this important bond,” said Rep. Justin Chenette, D-Saco, a cosponsor of the bill. “It is critical that we have affordable housing for our seniors. Not only will it help Maine’s older adults, it will also create construction jobs and benefit our lagging economy.”
Residents of York County celebrated the Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage in a variety of ways on Friday. In Ogunquit, known as a popular LGBT vacation destination with a number of local businesses owned by LGBT community members, the historic Playhouse put the banner in a rainbow colored lighting scheme celebrating LGBT pride. Marketing Director of the Playhouse Cheryl Farley said that the reaction from patrons has been “overwhelmingly positive.” Equality Maine, an LGBT civil rights organization, held a victory party at Maine Street, a bar and event space.
Legislators from across York County also heralded the Supreme Court’s decision.
Ryan Fecteau, D-Biddeford, who campaigned for marriage equality while working for Mainers United for Marriage, said that the decision was hard-fought.
“We changed hearts and minds, door-by-door, legislature-by-legislature, state-by-state, and court-by-court,” Fecteau said. “We knocked on doors in Maine and love won. We knocked on the door of the Supreme Court on Friday and love won again. As a gay person, as a Catholic, as a public servant, I am proud that marriage for all is the law of the land.”
Justin Chenette, D-Saco, one of the youngest openly gay legislators in the country, said that the decision was “all he wanted.”
“It’s an incredible feeling you get when you gain a constitutional right that your friends and family have had their whole lives and never had to think twice about,” Chenette said. “It’s the feeling of being acknowledged to be equal based on something that makes us inherently human, love.”
The Supreme Court’s decision led to a number of states that had not already legalized gay marriage, mostly in the south, to officially recognize such marriages as a constitutional right. Maine has recognized gay marriages since a ballot initiative passed in the state in 2012, making it one of the first states to pass gay marriage by popular referendum.
By NATHAN LYNCH | Special to the Journal Tribune