March 12, 2010

Diamond has a tough task in new Senate post


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Bill Diamond, Senate District 12 2008

Staff Writer

Legislative leaders announced Friday which lawmakers would lead various committees in the 124th Legislature.

Among the appointments, state Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, will co-chair the Appropriations Committee -- likely to be a busy job as the state attempts to close a $838 million budget gap in the next two-year period starting July 1. His co-chair is State Rep. Emily Cain, an Orono Democrat.

Diamond, who dealt with such high-profile issues as jail consolidation and the sex offender registry as co-chair of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee last term, is beginning his third consecutive Senate term and fifth overall.

''Committee work isn't glamorous, but it is where the most important legislative work is done,'' said House Speaker Hannah Pingree, D-North Haven, in a statement. ''You get into the fine details of public policy and you really have to have a passion for the subject.''

Senate President Elizabeth Mitchell, D-Vassalboro, who made the Senate assignments, said lawmakers will spend hundreds of hours in committee listening to testimony and poring over details of complex issues.

Each policy committee of the Maine Legislature is made up of members from both the House and the Senate. The joint standing committees comprise 13 members -- three from the Senate and 10 from the House. Each committee has a Senate and a House chairperson.

Other area lawmakers heading up committees are:

n Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, and State Rep. Anne Haskell, D-Portland, co-chairs of the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.

n Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland, co-chair of the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

n Sen. Joseph Brannigan, D-Portland, co-chair of the Health and Human Services Committee.

n Sen. Peter B. Bowman, D-Kittery, co-chair of the Insurance and Financial Services Committee.

n Sen. Lawrence Bliss, D-South Portland and State Rep. Charles R. Priest, D-Brunswick, co-chairs of the Judiciary Committee.

n State Rep. John L. Tuttle Jr., D-Sanford, co-chair of the Labor Committee.

n Sen. Nancy B. Sullivan, D-Biddeford, co-chair of the Legal and Veterans Affairs Committee.

n State Rep. Stephen Beaudette, D-Biddeford, co-chair of the State and Local Government Committee.

n State Rep. Thomas R. Watson, D-Bath, co-chair of the Taxation Committee.

n Sen. Barry J. Hobbins, D-Saco, and State Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, co-chairs of the Utilities and Energy Subcommittee.

n Sen. Philip Bartlett II, D-Gorham, co-chair of the Joint Rules Committee.

n State Rep. Dawn Hill, D-York, co-chair of the Government Oversight Committee.

Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

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