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News from Augusta

New Administration Takes Shape

There are many new faces, and a few familiar ones, surfacing in Augusta as the Mills’ Administration puts its team together. Here are the some highlights concerning state agencies most likely to deal with issues related to the work of land trusts and natural resource protection.

Mills Assembling Cabinet

Appointing commissioners and staff in her administration is an early challenge as Governor Janet Mills begins her first year in office. Some of the highest profile positions are within the Governor’s 15-person cabinet. The four cabinet positions that will touch upon the work of land trusts more than the others are the Commissioners of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), Department of Marine Resources (DMR), and the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Mills has nominated the following four individuals for these positions.

  • Amanda Beal, President of Maine Farmland Trust, has been nominated to be the DACF Commissioner. Among other programs this Department oversees the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands, the Maine Forest Service, the Bureau of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Resources, and the Land for Maine’s Future program.
  • Patrick Keliher, the current DMR Commissioner, has been chosen to remain in that position. He has been commissioner of DMR since 2012, when he was appointed by Governor LePage. Pat is the current chair of the Land for Maine’s Future Board.
  • Judy Camuso has been nominated to be the first woman MDIFW Commissioner. Judy worked at Maine Audubon for ten years before joining the Department in 2007. She has been MDIFW Wildlife Division Director since 2013.
  • Jerry Reid, Natural Resource Division Chief within the office of Maine’s Attorney General, has been tapped to head DEP.

Each of these four nominees will be presented to legislative committees at a public hearing over the next couple weeks. If approved by the committee and confirmed by the State Senate, they will begin to implement the policies of the new Administration soon after.

More Appointments on Horizon

While cabinet-level positions are the most visible appointments a Governor makes, there are many others that will be announced over the next few months. These include staff positions such as the Director of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands and the Maine Forest Service Director. Governor Mills also has an opportunity to nominate new people to serve on many volunteer boards and commissions. In fact, the terms of two current Land for Maine’s Future Board members expire as of January 31.

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