Politics

January 7, 2013

Governor will swear in top state officers

Democrats replace Republicans as attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor.

Glenn Adams / The Associated Press

AUGUSTA — Ceremonies marking the opening of the new legislative session will wind down Monday with Gov. Paul LePage's swearing in of three constitutional officers and the new state auditor.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy OFFICERS: Attorney General Janet Mills is applauded by Senate President Justin Alfond, second from right, Speaker of the House Mark Eves and Supreme Court Chief Justice Leigh Saufley Monday January 7, 2013 at the House of Representatives in Augusta after Mills was sworn into the office of as Maine's top law enforcement officer.

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Staff photo by Andy Molloy OFFICERS: Matt Dunlap, right, greets Maine Senate President Justin Alfond, left, after being sworn in as Secretary of State Monday January 7, 2013 in Augusta by Gov. Paul LePage.

Democrat Janet Mills returns to her former job as attorney general and Democrat Matthew Dunlap as secretary of state.

Neria Douglass, also a Democrat, will take the oath of office for state treasurer. Douglass could not seek re-election to the state auditor post because of term limits.

Pola Buckley will be sworn in as state auditor. Buckley, who's been principal auditor in the Department of Audit, is the only one of the four top officers who is not a former legislator.

The Legislature gets down to business on Tuesday.

Maine's constitutional officers are elected by the Legislature, instead of by voters.

Mills, Dunlap and Douglass replace Republicans -- Attorney General William Schneider as attorney general, Charlie Summers as secretary of state and Bruce Poliquin as treasurer -- after the Democrats took back their legislative majorities in November.

The majority party traditionally fills the offices, which often serve as a springboard to higher elective offices.

In November, Summers lost a race for U.S. Senate to independent Angus King. Dunlap lost a June primary for Senate to Cynthia Dill.

Others have used the prominence of the attorney general's office to run for governor, most recently Democrat Joseph Brennan, who served two terms in the Blaine House.

With state fiscal problems in mind, legislative leaders from both parties agreed in December to steer away from a potential conflagration over pay and to compensate Mills and Dunlap at incoming salary levels, less than what they were getting in 2010 before Republicans took control of the Legislature.

Mills will be paid about $92,248 a year; Dunlap will earn $69,264.

Douglass will earn the entry-level salary of $69,264 a year; Buckley will earn $81,566.

 

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