AUGUSTA — Democratic and Republican lawmakers on Tuesday selected their nominees for Maine's constitutional offices.
Democrats nominated a slate of familiar faces: former District Attorney Janet Mills of Farmington for attorney general, former state Sen. Neria Douglass of Auburn for treasurer and former state Rep. Matt Dunlap of Old Town for secretary of state.
Mills and Dunlap have held those respective offices in the past.
Tuesday's caucus vote will be followed by an official vote of the incoming 126th Legislature after members are sworn into office Wednesday.
Douglass, the current state auditor, was selected over Jeremy Fischer of Portland.
Dunlap, who served as secretary of state from 2004 to 2010, was selected over state Rep. Brian Bolduc of Auburn. Mills, who served as attorney general from 2008 to 2010 was selected over Timothy Shannon of Brunswick.
Democrats regained majorities in the both House and Senate in November.
Mills, who has served in the Legislature, told her former colleagues she knew what they were up against as they headed into what will likely be a difficult budget debate with Republican Gov. Paul LePage.
Mills said she was prepared and had the experience to lead what is essentially the state's largest law firm and to serve as the state's top legal official.
She said she would back up the Democratic majority on health care, energy issues, protecting workers' rights and saving public schools, among other things.
"In the end, you will have me at your side," she said. "You know I will always be here and have your back because I've walked in your shoes."
Mills said her vision for the Attorney General's Office was based on the state's fundamental document, the Maine Constitution.
"Right here is my vision, right here in the Maine Constitution," Mills said, quoting from the document's Declaration of Rights. "This is my vision, too; this will be my solemn oath. With your help, we will move the state forward once again and make it a place where all people, young and old, are treated equally, treated fairly and treated with respect."
During her speech, Douglass also pumped up her fellow Democrats, telling them she knew they would bring a brighter future to the state. She promised to treat the office of treasurer as a nonpartisan post.
"Thanks to all of you, Democrats, who ran for office and committed time and energy needed to turn the tide away from the negative politics of the last two years," Douglass said. "I want to work with you for causes you believe in."
Dunlap said he took some of his inspiration from the past but also with an eye toward the future. He said Democrats would be tasked with solving a host of important problems in the near future.
"Those answers may not be perfect, but they will be thoughtful and bold and people will embrace them because they will remember what it was like when Democrats put people first, and they will want that again," Dunlap said.
Democrats also selected Pola Buckley to be their nominee for the state auditor's post to be vacated by Douglass.
Buckley, of Hallowell, is a principal auditor at the state's Department of Audit.
While Democrats hold the majority and their nominees are likely to win the final votes of the full Legislature, Republicans also made selections, ensuring both parties' political philosophies will be on display in one of the first actions of the new Legislature.
Republicans voted to return State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin and Attorney General William Schneider to their respective posts and selected outgoing state Sen. Debra Plowman, R-Hampden, to be their nominee for secretary of state.
Republicans also nominated Sen. Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon Falls, for the post of Senate president.
Mason will compete against the Democratic nominee, Sen. Justin Alfond, D-Portland. Alfond, as the Democratic caucus leader, presided over his party's votes for the constitutional offices Tuesday.