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Ex-Maine Democrat party chair tapped for utility commission

May 28, 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A former state lawmaker and past chairman of the Maine Democratic Party was tapped Tuesday to lead the state Public Utilities Commission.

Gov. Janet Mills announced the nomination of Phil Bartlett, a former senate majority leader who stepped down as chairman of the party in January. If confirmed by the Maine Senate, Bartlett would succeed former PUC Chairman Mark Vannoy.

In the Legislature, Bartlett served as chairman of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee and helped to forge support for several landmark energy initiatives, including Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative legislation. He served in the Maine Senate 2004 to 2012.

Mills, a Democrat, said Bartlett is the right choice to lead the regulatory panel because of his history with guiding energy initiatives into law in Maine.

“I am honored that Governor Mills has nominated me to serve the people of Maine, and I look forward to working to protect the rights of consumers and ratepayers statewide,” Bartlett said.

Clean energy advocates were encouraged by Bartlett’s nomination.

“Phil’s years of experience working to advance a transition to a clean energy economy gives him a great understanding of what Mainers need and what Maine needs to do to become more energy independent,” said Dylan Voorhees of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

Maine’s Public Advocate, Barry Hobbins, who had served with him on the energy committee and for eight years in the Senate, also endorsed the appointment.

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