January 4, 2021
By Ramona du Houx
Shenna Bellows was sworn in January 4, with a formal acceptance ceremony in the House Chamber of the Maine State House. Secretary Bellows is the Maine’s first female Secretary of State and the 50th person elected to the office.
The Secretary of State is one of Maines three constitutional officers, along with the State Treasurer and Attorney General. All three, as well as the statutory office of State Auditor, are elected by the Legislature.
There is a movement gaining momentum to let all the people in Maine vote on their constitutional officers.
Secretary Bellows previously served two terms in the Maine Senate from 2016-2020, representing 11 towns in southern Kennebec County. In the Maine Senate, she served as Senate Chair of the Labor and Housing Committee and served on the Judiciary Committee. She was a 2020 presidential elector in the Electoral College.
Secretary Bellows most recently led the Holocaust and Human Rights Center of Maine as executive director from 2018 to 2020. Previously, she owned Bellows & Company, a non-profit consulting business, where she worked with organizations such as the Sierra Club’s Maine Chapter, Consumers for Affordable Healthcare and the Maine Women’s Lobby. She also served as interim executive director of LearningWorks. In 2014, Secretary Bellows was the Democratic nominee for United States Senate in Maine.
From 2005 to 2013, Secretary Bellows was executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine. She was a member of the first Right to Know Advisory Committee and the Maine Freedom of Information Coalition. She served on the Executive Committee of the 2009 and 2012 ballot campaigns to pass marriage equality in Maine, and co-chaired a successful 2011 statewide ballot campaign to restore same-day voter registration. She was an original member of the Committee for Ranked Choice Voting.
Secretary Bellows grew up in Hancock and is a graduate of Ellsworth High School. She holds a B.A. in International Politics and Economics from Middlebury College. She volunteered with the Peace Corps in Panama and AmeriCorps VISTA in Nashville, Tennessee.
Secretary Bellows lives with her husband, Brandon, in Manchester, where she serves on the Manchester Conservation Commission.