AUGUSTA — The Democratic lawmaker who earned a crude rebuke from Gov. Paul LePage last month is now the majority leader in the Maine Senate, a role that gives him more prominence as a foe of the Republican governor.
Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash was selected for the role Wednesday by his party caucus following the resignation of Sen. Seth Goodall of Richmond, who was tapped to serve as New England administrator of the Small Business Administration.
Jackson, a logger, previously served as assistant Senate Democratic leader, a spot that will be filled by Democratic Sen. Anne Haskell of Portland.
The Republican governor targeted Jackson with a sexually vulgar phrase and said he had a “black heart” after Jackson criticized LePage’s proposal for a short-term budget fix. LePage also said “people like Jackson ought to go back in the woods and cut trees and let somebody with a brain come down here and do some work.”
LePage later apologized to loggers and others who were offended, saying he grew up on the streets “and I tell it like it is.” He added, “Some say my language is colorful and refreshing. Others say it is rough and offensive. If I have offended anyone, I apologize. But folks, it is time to wake up.”
Democrats say Jackson and Haskell were unchallenged and unanimously elected.
Jackson said he’s looking forward to his new post. “I will do my best to lead by example and serve the Senate and my caucus,” he said in a statement. “We’re a hard-working group and I know that we will continue to focus on the job the people of Maine sent us here to do.”