– TOM BELL

MaineToday Media State House Writer

AUGUSTA – Incoming House Republicans have nominated Heather Priest to be the new clerk of the House of Representatives.

The full House will vote formally next month on the position, but her election is likely with Republicans holding a 78-72 majority.

Priest, 46, would follow the career path set by her mother, May Ross Coffin, who served as secretary of the Senate or as a staffer for Senate Republicans for 32 years before retiring in 2003.

Priest, who lives in Augusta, has worked in the State House for 16 years, most recently as the senior legislative aide for House Republicans.

The House clerk is the chief executive and administrative official for the House of Representatives, and does a range of administrative, managerial and parliamentary tasks.

Priest would report to the speaker of the House and supervise a staff of more than a dozen people. She said in an interview that the clerk’s job is a nonpartisan position.

“We are there to serve every member of the House chamber,” she said.

Priest would replace Millicent MacFarland, a Democrat.

The House clerk’s post is among the highest-paid jobs in the State House. MacFarland, who has held the post since 2000, was paid $110,527 in 2007, according a database of salaries compiled by the Maine Heritage Policy Center.

Starting pay for the new clerk would be between $76,600 and $83,5000, according to the state’s established pay scale.

Also Tuesday, House Republicans nominated Shawn Roderick to be assistant clerk. Roderick is now the senior executive secretary for House Republicans.

Roderick, 26, worked on constituent services and casework investigations in the Portland office of U.S Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine.

MaineToday Media State House Writer Tom Bell can be contacted at 699-6261 or at:

[email protected]