More than a dozen organizations will co-host an online forum with six people — all who have served in the Legislature — and who have declared their candidacy for Maine’s secretary of state. The online forum is set for at 5 p.m. on Tuesday Nov. 17. The link to register for the free forum is at:

Outgoing Sen. Justin Chenette of Saco is among the six candidates for the constitutional office, which is elected by the Legislature every two years. Other candidates include Sen. Shenna Bellows of Manchester, who was re-elected to the Senate on Nov. 3; outgoing members of the Maine House of Representatives Erik Jorgensen and Matt Moonen, both of Portland; outgoing Rep.Craig Hickman of Winthrop and former Representative Tom Bull of Freeport.

The online forum will be moderated by Anna Kellar, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Maine, and Alison Beyea, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. Audience members will be able to participate and ask questions of the secretary of state candidates, a news release from the 14 host organizations states.

The current secretary of state, Matt Dunlap, has reached the limit of four consecutive terms in the office, which is responsible for the Maine State Archives, the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

In an interview with the Courier a week ago, Chenette said the public typically does not know much about candidates for secretary of state and Maine’s other constitutional offices — attorney general and treasurer — until a day or so before they are elected by the Legislature,  which also elects a state auditor. The constitutional officers are elected on swearing-in day for the Legislature, the first Wednesday in December.

“The public should be part of the process to learn who the candidates are,” said Chenette, who advocated candidates for constitutional offices declare their intent with the Maine Ethics Commission, and suggested a neutral organization host public forum with those seeking the offices.

Hosting the forum are Maine Conservation Voters, RepresentUs, ACLU of Maine, League of Women Voters of Maine, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Maine Women’s Lobby, Natural Resources Council of Maine, Maine Equal Justice, Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, Gateway Community Services, Maine Education Association, Sierra Club Maine, Southern Maine Conservation Collaborative, Maine People’s Alliance, and Maine AFL-CIO.

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