Democrats and Republicans in the Maine Senate have chosen their leaders for the next Legislature, which will convene in January.

Sen. Dana Dow of Waldoboro

Troy Jackson of Allagash was elected Senate president among Democrats, who gained four seats on Election Day to flip the chamber from Republican to Democratic control. Democrats will have a 21-14 advantage, their biggest in more than a decade.

Democrats Nate Libby of Lewiston and Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic were chosen as Senate majority leader and assistant majority leader, respectively.

On the Republican side, Dana Dow of Waldoboro was elected minority leader and Jeff Timberlake of Turner as assistant minority leader.

House Democrats and Republicans had not chosen new leadership as of Friday, although Democrats increased their advantage in the House to 89 of 151 seats, up from 77 during the 128th Legislature.

In both parties, there will be new faces.

Only Sara Gideon of Freeport, the current speaker of the House, won re-election this year. The Democrats’ House leader, Erin Herbig of Belfast, was elected to the state Senate and their assistant leader, Jared Golden of Lewiston, is waiting for the results of ranked-choice voting in his congressional race against U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin.

Neither of the Republican House leaders – Ken Fredette of Newport, who lost in the gubernatorial primary, and Ellie Espling of New Gloucester, who lost in her state Senate campaign – will return.

New lawmakers are scheduled to be sworn in on Dec. 5.

The Democratic-led House and Senate will have a member of their own party in the governor’s office, too – Janet Mills, who made history Tuesday by becoming the first woman ever elected governor of Maine.

Jackson, a logger by trade, said he’s “humbled” to serve as Senate president.

“Over the next two years, Senate Democrats have an opportunity to show the people of Maine what smart, fair and responsible leadership looks like,” he said in a statement. “I don’t intend to waste any time. This means working together to lower property taxes, make health care more affordable and invest in education.”

 

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