AUGUSTA – The Maine Senate voted nearly unanimously Thursday to confirm the first nine commissioners in Gov. Janet Mills’ Cabinet.

The votes installed Maj. Gen. Douglas Farnham in the Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Services; Judith Camuso in Inland Fisheries and Wildlife; Laura Fortman in the Department of Labor; Bruce Van Note in the Department of Transportation; Patrick Keliher in the Department of Marine Resources; Heather Johnson in the Department of Community and Economic Development; Kirsten Figueroa in the Department of Administrative and Financial Services and Gerry Reid in the Department of Environmental Protection. The Senate also confirmed John Rohde as executive director of the Maine Worker’s Compensation Board.

Only Reid, whose nomination was opposed by the Penobscot Nation and other tribal members in Maine, received any opposition votes. Sen. Ben Chipman, D-Portland, opposed Reid’s nomination but did not explain his vote on the floor.

“I am pleased the Senate has confirmed these highly qualified, respected, and experienced individuals so they can begin their work immediately on behalf of the people of Maine,” Mills said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to working with the Legislature to confirm the rest of my cabinet so we can continue charting a new, and better path forward for our state.”

Three more Cabinet nominees received unanimous recommendations of support from legislative committees Thursday afternoon during confirmation hearings. Endorsed were Jeanne Lambrew, Anne Head and Pender Makin, the nominees for commissioners of the departments of Health and Human Services; Professional and Financial Regulation and Education, respectively.

Hearings for two more nominees – Randall Liberty for the Department of Corrections, and Mike Sauschuck for the Department of Public Safety will be held Friday.

Mills’ office also announced the confirmation hearing for Amanda Beal, nominee for the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. That session is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 14 before the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee.

Scott Thistle can be contacted at 791-6330 or at:

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