Emerge Maine honors lawmakers Hill and Rotundo as women of the year

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PORTLAND — An organization dedicated to electing Democratic female candidates to public office has named state Rep. Peggy Rotundo, D-Lewiston, one of two Women of the Year for 2014.

Emerge Maine named Rotundo, House chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee and the committee’s Senate chairwoman, Sen. Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick, its Women of the Year on Aug. 31.

Previous women of the year include Clerk of the House Millie MacFarland, former State Senate President Libby Mitchell, Maine’s 1st District U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree and Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.

In a news release announcing the awards, Emerge said Rotundo and Hill were recognized for their repeated success in producing unanimous bipartisan budgets and for their ability to forge the legislative support needed to overcome vetoes by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

“Sen. Hill and Rep. Rotundo exemplify what it means to engage in civil discourse in politics,” Jill Barkley, executive director of Emerge Maine said in a prepared statement. “These two incredible women have worked together to create and maintain our state’s budget while fielding more than one funding crisis. They remain calm and committed to the best outcome for our state. We are thankful for their leadership.”

Rotundo was first elected to the Legislature in 2000. She has served four terms in the state Senate and is seeking her fourth term in the House. She faces Republican challenger James Sorcek in race for Lewiston’s House District 59 seat.

Rotundo previously served as chairwoman of the Lewiston School Committee.

Rotundo is also known for helping to found the Center for Service-Learning at Bates College in Lewiston in 1995. The center is a nationally recognized program that connects Bates students to the community through service.

Rotundo serves as director of strategic and policy initiatives for the college’s Harward Center for Community Partnerships.

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by Emerge Maine, which has done so much to encourage and support women interested in public service,” Rotundo said in a prepared statement. “We all stand on the shoulders of courageous women leaders who have gone before us. We honor their lives and service by encouraging and mentoring the next generation of great women leaders.”

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