Representative Maeghan Maloney, Emerge Class of 2009, did not expect to be embroiled in a controversy when she applied for a job as the interim District Attorney for Kennebec and Somerset Counties. Maloney, who currently serves in the Maine House of Representatives for District 57 (part of Augusta) was nominated to fill the post by the Kennebec and Somerset County Democratic caucuses. After approval by the Governor, she planned to replace the currently elected D.A. who stepped down after only a year and some months of a four year term.
But, Governor Paul LePage decided to quibble with the interpretation of a Maine statute passed during the administration of Governor Longley. That statute has allowed the party committees to make such nominations through caucus elections for more than 30 years. The current governor, unlike his predecessors, believes he should control the nomination process and apparently prefers Maloney’s conservative rival for the post. LePage has decided not to approve her nomination instead allowing the seat to remain vacant. So Maloney is taking matters into her own hands and running for election for the D.A. job this November.
Maloney’s campaign has caused her to reflect on her Emerge experience. She says the organization has helped her to succeed and to fight on in a couple of ways. “First, Emerge training gives you the confidence to get out there and run. And second, and more unexpectedly to me, is the camaraderie of the group of women, the strong connection between us -- we help each other out,” she observes.
Representative Maloney is a Maine native who grew up in Fryeburg, Lewiston, and Turner. She graduated from Leavitt Area High School in Turner and then received a “full boat” scholarship to Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. After graduating she won a prestigious Watson Fellowship to study government-provided child care programs in New Zealand, France, and Germany. She came to greatly admire the New Zealand system which provided grants and benchmark requirements for providers but did not mandate uniformity in the system.
Maloney went on to receive her law degree from Harvard. She has served as a Deputy District Attorney in Portland, Oregon and then as an Assistant Attorney General in Maine.
Of her accomplishments in the Maine Legislature, Maloney is especially proud of the Veterans Court Bill, which established veterans treatment courts in Maine. These courts recognize the special situation of veterans who have both mental health and drug problems. Sentences for treatment and service are carried out through the V.A., saving the state of Maine these costs while honoring the particular issues facing veterans. Maloney is working on creating a system of volunteer veteran mentors who would support those sentenced in the court.
Maloney is looking to other Emerge alums for help in her current race for District Attorney of Somerset and Kennebec Counties. As she puts it, “ The Emerge Grads in my district support me. But, I would love some help from other alumnae for my campaign! Give me a call at 513-7248.”