Democrats retake State Legislature – pledge focus on economy, growing Maine’s middle class

By Ramona du Houx - November 13th, 2012 

Maine's House Speaker Elect Mark Eves with son in the House Chambors

The newly elected House Democratic Majority today selected its leaders for the 126th Legislature during a meeting at the State House. Rep. Mark Eves, D-North Berwick was nominated Speaker of the Maine House, Rep. Seth Berry, D-Bowdoinham was elected as Majority Leader and Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan was elected Assistant Majority Leader.

“I’m pleased and honored to have won the support of the newly-elected House Democrats,” said Rep. Eves, 35, who is entering his third term in the Maine House. “Today we begin to put together the blueprint for rebuilding our economy and strengthening our middle class. Almost everything we care about as Democrats is part of that plan — from improving our schools, to making sure every family can afford to have a family doctor, to fixing our roads, and investing in the jobs of the future.”

Eves won a four-way race for the nomination.

Democrats won 89 seats in the House of Representatives on Election Day, regaining control of the Maine House. Forty-one members of the Democratic caucus are new. There are 58 Republicans and four Independents.

“Maine voters laid out a clear assignment and high expectations last Tuesday,” said Majority Leader-Elect Rep. Berry, D-Bowdoinham, 44, who is entering his third term in the House. “Our job is to give all Mainers a real chance to succeed, and to build from our state’s strengths and from our middle class.”

During his speech, Berry sent a strong message to Maine voters.

“These men and women of the House Democratic Majority of the 126th Maine Legislature have your back. We are up to the task. We are here to strengthen our economy – not from the top down, but from the middle out.”

The 19-member Senate Democratic caucus unanimously supported and elected the following three leaders:

Maine Senate President: Senator Justin Alfond of Portland who is beginning his third term and previously served as Assistant Democratic Leader. Alfond also served on the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee and the Regulatory Reform Committee.

“We have a lot to do. Our work is just beginning. I want Maine to once again be a state where Mainers feel good about where they live, work and do business. The door is open to Governor LePage to join with us in coming up with reasonable and productive solutions to our state’s challenges,” said Alfond during his floor speech.

Majority Leader: Senator Seth Goodall of Richmond who is beginning his third term and served and formerly chaired the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee as well as the Regulatory Reform Committee.

“It is time for action, by both parties and the Governor, to work together toward common ground to move Maine forward. It’s not about who is right or wrong, or who wins or loses, it’s about what is best for Maine,” said Goodall. “Lawmakers need to get to work immediately to find solutions that will rebuild and grow our economy for our smallest towns to our cities. We need to be focused on growing our economy and restoring economic security.”

Assistant Majority Leader: Senator Troy Jackson of Allagash who is beginning his third term and served on the Labor Commerce Research and Economic Development Committee. Jackson also previously served three terms in the House before his service in the Maine Senate.

“Democrats knocked on more than 600,000 doors across this state from my hometown of Allagash on down to Kittery. We listened to their concerns and frustrations,” said Jackson. “And today, we’re here to say, we’ve got your back. We will get up each day and focus on the job that needs to be done—getting Mainers back to work and strengthening the middle class.”

The Maine Senate is comprised of 19 Democrats, one unenrolled, and 14 Republicans. There remains one seat, Senate District 17 (Colleen Quint-D and Garret Mason-R), that is being recounted on Friday, November 16.

House Democrats also nominated Millicent MacFarland of Augusta to serve as Clerk of the House. MacFarland served in the position from 2000-2010. Former Rep. Rob Hunt, who represented Buxton from 2008-2012, was nominated to serve as Assistant Clerk.


The nominees for Speaker, Clerk of the House, and Assistant Clerk of the House will be elected by the full House on Dec. 5th, when the 126th Legislature is sworn-in.