arlier this month, Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, announced the Senate committee assignments for the next session. For me, these assignments matter quite a bit, as they determine what kinds of issues I’ll be focused on in the coming two years. This time was particularly big for me, because I will be the Senate chair of not one, but two joint standing committees: The Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (ACF) committee, and the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) committee.

These two committees handle two slightly different, but equally important areas of public policy in Maine. IF&W deals with hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation issues, while ACF handles issues related to farms, forests and land conservation.

I couldn’t be more thrilled with these assignments, because chairing these committees gives me the opportunity to advocate for many of the things that make Penobscot County great.

For example, our forest products industry is a central part of the economy here. We’re all connected in one way or another to the men and women who make their living in and off the woods, and we are all proud of the work that they do. We need to make sure we look out for them and have their backs, because when they succeed, we all succeed. Members of Maine’s forest products industry know they have an advocate in me, and my door is always open to them.

We also have some world-class research facilities at the University of Maine, which are on the cutting edge of the next generation of forest products. I will continue supporting their work in the coming session, as well as supporting the educators who are training the next generation of farmers, loggers, environmental scientists, and other professionals who make their living off the land.

In my new roles, I’ll also be in a unique position to advocate for our rich outdoor heritage and traditions. As long as people have lived on the Penobscot River, they’ve hunted and fished here. It is our duty to put in place sound, evidence-based wildlife conservation and education practices to keep that tradition going. I’m looking forward to working with Maine’s outdoor community to make sure that happens.

Our conservation lands also make Penobscot County great. From the new Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument to Sunkhaze Meadow and everywhere in between, folks from all over Maine, the country and the world know that the north woods are the place to come for hiking, snowmobiling, paddling, and all other types of outdoor recreation. I want to build on that reputation, and make sure that the interests of land conservation are balanced and in line with traditional uses.

We’ve got a lot going for us in Penobscot County. I’m proud to say I’m from here, and I’m proud to represent you all in the Maine Senate.

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me via email at [email protected], or to call my office at (207) 287-1515 or my personal phone at (207) 827-3498. My line is always open.

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