The Maine Senate Democratic Caucus elected Sens. Troy Jackson of Allagash and Nate Libby of Lewiston to serve as its new leadership team Monday night.

Jackson, the minority leader, and Libby, the assistant minority leader, were chosen by secret ballot at a caucus in Augusta, the Democrats said in a press release Monday night. Jackson defeated Sen. Dawn Hill of York and Libby beat out Sen. James Dill of Old Town.

Jackson is a former member of the Maine House of Representatives and the Maine Senate, serving as the Senate Majority Leader for the Democrats during the 126th Legislature. He has served on a wide range of legislative committees, including Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Agriculture, and Utilities and Technology.

Jackson, whose father worked in the northern Maine woods, pledged to fight for families and working people concerned about their futures.

“We, as Senate Democrats, need to fight like hell for those people, and we’re going to. That’s my promise to my colleagues and to the people of Maine,” Jackson said in a statement.

Libby has represented Maine’s second largest city in the House of Representatives and the Senate, serving on the Taxation, and State and Local Government committees.


The Democrats, who gained two seats the election last week, remain in the minority by one seat, with Republicans holding 18 of the Senate’s 35 seats. Last week Senate Republicans nominated Sen. Mike Thiobdeau of Winterport for another term as Senate president, Sen. Garrett Mason of Lisbon as majority leader and Sen. Andre Cushing of Newport as assistant majority leader.

Thibodeau, Mason and Cushing served in the same roles during the most recent two-year lawmaking session.

Sen. Justin Aflond of Portland served as minority leader for the Democrats, but is termed out of the Legislature. Hill has served as Alfond’s assistant leader from 2015 to present.

Both Jackson and Hill have found themselves at odds with Republican Gov. Paul LePage, usually over disagreements on the state’s budget, tax cuts, or welfare reforms. In 2013, LePage drew national media attention to the state when he criticized Jackson by using a sexually crude comment, telling a television reporter, “Sen. Jackson claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.”

LePage also said Jackson had “no brains” and a “black heart.” LePage later apologized for his comments, but didn’t apologize to Jackson. The Allagash Democrat has criticized LePage for trying turn the state into a “dictatorship.”

Likewise, LePage also has been critical of Hill, who served as the ranking Democrat on the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee. Hill too has taken aim at LePage and was critical of his recent attack on a state representative in a profanity-laced voice message, and has written commentary critical of LePage’s support for President-elect Donald Trump and his “racist trope.”


House Republicans elected their leaders last week, again selecting Rep. Ken Fredette of Newport to be their minority leader with Rep. Ellie Espling of New Gloucester, again being selected to serve as assistant minority leader.

House Democrats are expected to vote on their leaders Friday. Rep. Sara Gideon of Freeport and Rep. Gay Grant of Gardiner are expected to compete to be the caucus nominee to replace Mark Eves of North Berwick as speaker of the House, while Rep. Erin Herbig of Belfast, and Rep. Andrew McLean of Gorham will compete to be House majority leader.

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey contributed to this report.


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