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    Heather Parent, 37
    Policy Director
    Maine Department of Environmental Protection

    As policy director of the state Department of Environmental Protection, Heather Parent “sets and implements the environmental policies of the entire state,” writes her award nominator, Jennifer Eastman.

    “She is using her 12 years of experience in environmental law, and her love of her native state of Maine, to set policies on the diverse areas of environmental protection for the state.”

    Parent explains that she knew while in high school, at Mountain Valley in Rumford, that she wanted to be a lawyer. “And at the same time, I knew that the environment is very special, that it deserves to be protected, and that we also need to make sure that Maine people have a way to make a living.

    “Now, my favorite programs are those that help boost the economy, and preserve Maine’s beauty and natural resources, because both those factors are keys to improving the way people live.”

    One program Parent particularly favors is Brownfields, a redevelopment program that cleans up contaminated sites for re-use. She offers Brewer’s former Eastern Fine Paper mill, now home to a Cianbro Corp. plant employing hundreds, as a good example of how Brownfields works.

    Parent, who has a Juris Doctor and master’s in environmental law from Vermont Law, spent her early childhood in Winn, north of Lincoln, after which the family moved to Peru (the Oxford County version). She now lives in Brewer and spends as much time enjoying Maine’s outdoors as a desk job allows.

    Parent notes that as a member of Bangor Trails, she’s been hiking within the city and developed a keen appreciation of “the last parts of Bangor that are really untouched by humanity.”

    For the future, she’d like “Maine to continue to improve the economy and the environment, by finding new ways to have them both work together.”

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