A former spokeswoman for Gov. Paul LePage announced Monday she was returning to the Republican administration to serve in the Maine Department of Labor.
Adrienne Bennett, who left the administration in 2017, posted on Facebook that she was rejoining LePage’s team and had started in her new role as the Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs.
Bennett, a former television news reporter, first joined the LePage administration in 2011 but resigned in July of 2017 to take a job as the marketing and communications director for Kennebec Savings Bank.
In her Facebook post, Bennett said she would focus on workforce development issues.
“With this new opportunity, I am looking forward to helping create more opportunities for Mainers to ensure we continue to have a vibrant economy and future workforce in our great state,” she wrote.
LePage’s administration is heading into its final four months in office, and his successor will select new cabinet-level and other appointments to state government in early 2019.
Bennett’s new role appears to be as a liaison to the Legislature, functioning basically as a lobbyist for the administration at the State House. The Legislature is expected to convene on Thursday for what may be its final working day of 2018 before the next Legislature is elected in November.
In an email message to the Press Herald, Bennett said her new role was more “behind the scenes,” but she also credited LePage for strengthening the state’s economy when asked if she hoped to stay on after LePage leaves office.
“Our economy has strengthened during the past eight years under the LePage Administration and it will be crucial regardless of who the next Governor is that good policy decisions continue to be made,” Bennett said.
Bennett served six years as LePage’s press secretary and was also known for her role as moderator during town hall meetings that he conducted for nearly two years in dozens of locations around the state. In her last full year with LePage, 2016, Bennett was paid just over $94,000. That’s about $20,000 more than Labor Commissioner John Butera was paid in 2017, according to Maine Open Checkbook, the state’s online website for financial disclosure.
Bennett endorsed former Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew in Mayhew’s bid to become the Maine Republican Party candidate for governor in 2018. But she appears to have swung her support to Shawn Moody, who won the Republican primary in June.
In July, Bennett appeared with Moody during the Moxie Days Parade in Lisbon, according to photos she shared on Facebook. “Nothing like a good Moxie Day Parade with our next governor,” Bennett wrote on her Facebook wall with the photos.
Prior to working for the LePage administration, Bennett was the Waterville bureau chief for WABI TV5 from 2007 to 2011. She also held positions at the station as executive producer and videographer, beginning in 2002. Bennett has also volunteered for the Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center in Winthrop since 2005 and is a member of the Maine Domestic Violence and Abuse Commission.