Suzanne Salisbury


With her first term at the Statehouse nearly behind her, Rep. Sue Salisbury, D-Westbrook, is now on the other side of the learning curve and ready to more fully address food insecurity statewide, she said.

Salisbury wears a few hats. She co-owns a downtown ice cream and coffee shop with her husband, Joe Salisbury, is chairperson of the Westbrook School Committee and runs the nonprofit Westbrook Families Feeding Families. She was elected as a Westbrook state representative in November 2020.

“My first year was a huge learning curve like most freshmen legislators, learning about the process, how things worked,” Salisbury said in a Tuesday phone interview.

Right after she was sworn in, in December 2020, she found out that bills had to be submitted by the end of that month.

I was a new person trying to figure out what it meant to be in the Legislature then finding out bills needed to filed by December, so there was a pure adrenaline rush,” she said. “Fortunately I had some people that worked with me to help me submit some legislation and work through that; that was really helpful. Being in the Legislature, like they say, is like drinking from a firehose of information. It’s overwhelming, exciting.”

She was a co-signer on “some great bills that were issues close to my work,” she said. 


In particular was a bill to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students, which passed last spring, and was “probably the highlight of my first term,” she said.  

While her experience leading her food donation service helped her in Augusta, what she learned in the state capitol will further her work on the School Committee and for Westbrook Families Feeding Families, she said.

Westbrook School Committee member Beth Schultz said she has already seen that impact.

“The knowledge she brings to our School Committee meetings regarding school funding and legislation has helped us immensely, particularly during the pandemic and the budgeting process,” Schultz said in an email to the American Journal.

At the state level, Salisbury studied issues leading to food insecurity.

The issues that came up were around the housing issues that we hear a lot about, the housing shortage,” she said.


Without stable housing, people don’t have the means to cook or store food, she said.

Salisbury will attend a leadership council for state officials next month in Philadelphia.  She said she hopes to acquire skills and meet other officials that will enhance her work both at the state and city levels.

“I am pretty excited. I was nominated by the speaker of the house to go to this Robert J. Thompson Leadership Academy in Pennsylvania. It’s a great opportunity to be able to meet with state officials, learn about communication skills and policy development. I am really excited,” she said.

If reelected in November, she hopes to continue her work on food insecurity, but the U.S.  Supreme Court decision last month overturning Roe v. Wade has inspired Salisbury to expand her focus.

Salisbury expects there to be more talk in the Statehouse about access to abortion rights, which she aims to defend.

“The first thing we want to do is make sure there isn’t a change from a state perspective. Our goal is to make sure that in November that the Democrats keep their majority; that’s priority No. 1,” she said. “We want to make sure that … our access won’t change. I am concerned that would happen if we lose our majority, and that message is clear nationally.”

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