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Maine lawmakers begin hearing from new governor’s nominees

January 29, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Lawmakers are hearing this week from the nominees chosen by the new Democratic governor to lead Maine agencies and roll out her plans to tackle the opioid crisis, climate change and health care costs.

Gov. Janet Mills’ nominees to lead the state’s financial, transportation, economic and community development, and marine resources agencies will appear in public hearings Tuesday.

Legislative committees on Wednesday will hear from nominees to lead the state’s departments of labor, environmental protection, and inland fisheries and wildlife. Lawmakers will also start considering Mills’ nominees to lead the Workers’ Compensation Board as well as the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management.

On Thursday, hearings are set for nominees for the departments of education, professional and financial regulation, and health and human services. Lawmakers on Friday will consider Mills’ nominations for public safety and corrections commissioners.

The state Senate will later vote whether to confirm the nominees.

Mills is the state’s first female governor and has nominated eight women to join her 15-member Cabinet.

Mills, who ran on a pledge to roll-out voter-approved Medicaid expansion long blocked by her Republican predecessor, nominated former White House official Jeanne Lambrew to head Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services Department. Lambrew helped implement Medicaid expansion under former President Barack Obama’s health law and has already worked with Mills to approve coverage for over 2,000 low-income Mainers.

Mills, who has promised to tackle the state’s opioid crisis, recently appointed longtime Maine Medical Association executive Gordon Smith to bring state agencies together to combat the problem.

A former Republican state lawmaker and several gun rights groups have criticized Mills’ nomination of former Portland Police Chief Mike Sauschuck for public safety commissioner because of his opposition to Maine’s 2015 concealed carry law.

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