March 18, 2019

Senate confirms host of Baldacci nominees

AUGUSTA – The Maine Senate, with occasional dissents by some members of the Republican minority, routinely approved several dozen nominees put forth by Gov. John Baldacci at a special confirmation session Thursday, including Superior Court Justice Ellen Gorman for a seat on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

Nominees for a variety of posts had won endorsements from the legislative committees that screened them so none was in peril, because it would take Senate votes of two-thirds or better to block confirmation.

Blocs of Republicans, however, voted against Baldacci’s two new choices for the Dirigo Health board of directors, Mary McAleney of South Portland and Mary Anne Turowski of Newburgh, in a new expression of GOP hostility toward the controversial health insurance program.

Some Republicans also opposed four nominees to the State Board of Education after procedural questions were raised over the length of terms of appointment.

A fifth nomination had been withdrawn and a sixth tabled.

Baldacci’s remaining education board selections – James Banks Sr. of Portland, former Reps. Mabel Desmond of Mapleton and Constance Goldman of Cape Elizabeth, and Marilyn Temple Tardy of Palmyra, whose son Joshua Tardy is the House Republican floor leader – were green-lighted.

So, too, were Human Rights Commission nominee Joseph A. Perry of Searsport; nominees Francis Marsano of Belfast, a former legislator and retired judge, and former lawmaker Edward Youngblood of Bangor for the Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices; and four nominees for the University of Maine System board of trustees – Norman Fournier of Wallagrass, Tamera Grieshaber of Auburn, Krisandra A. Horn of Sweden and Lyndel Wishcamper of Freeport, a reappointment.

Additionally, four nominees were cleared for the Finance Authority of Maine – Brent Cross of Bangor, Terry MacTaggart of Hampden, Patrick O. Murphy of Portland and Susan Snowden of Scarborough – and three for the Maine State Housing Authority – Elizabeth Mahoney of Cumberland, Timothy M. O’Neil of South Portland and former legislator Barbara Trafton of Auburn.

Along with Gorman’s elevation to the state supreme court, the Senate also confirmed two choices for District Court – Richard Mulhern of Falmouth and Judge Patricia Worth of Belfast for reappointment – and three Superior Court selections – M. Michaela Murphy of Waterville, Chief District Court Judge John Nivison of Winslow and Justice S. Kirk Studstrup of Augusta for appointment as an active retired justice.

The Senate also confirmed three nominees for the Maine Maritime Academy board of trustees – Mary Lou Cormier of Castine, Richard Grosh of Brooklin, a reappointment, and Anne Marie Samway of Hampton Falls, N.H. and Northport, Maine – as well as eight picks for the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority board of directors – Shepard Lee of Cape Elizabeth, former lawmaker Arthur Mayo of Bath, John Moncure of Harpswell, Jennifer Stowell-Norris of Rumford, Stephanie Slocum of Harpswell, Charles Spies of Topsham, Dana Totman of Brunswick and Martin Wilk of Brunswick.

Gorman, who now lives in Freeport, is Baldacci’s third nominee for the state’s highest court.

Gorman was appointed to the Superior Court by Gov. Angus King in 2000 and was reappointed by Baldacci earlier this year. She was appointed to the District Court in 1989 by Gov. John McKernan.

A graduate of Trinity College in Washington, D.C., and Cornell Law School in Ithaca, N.Y., Gorman will take the law court seat being vacated by Justice Susan Calkins.

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