State Representative for House District 102
Democrat Running to Represent Freeport
Melanie is serving in the 130th Legislature as your State Representative. She is a member of both the Tax Committee and the Energy, Utilities, and Technology Committee. She also was appointed to the Maine Climate Council's Working Group on Buildings, Housing and Infrastructure. She has been a strong advocate for tax relief programs, taking on the utility companies, and expanding broadband options. She sponsored bills to expand health and mental health care, protect the environment, and support our teachers.
Melanie's landmark bill, An Act to Establish the Maine Redevelopment Land Bank Authority, won the Project of the Year from the Maine Association of Planners for its collaborative, bipartisan approach and positive impact for Maine's future development.
Melanie brings more than two decades of experience as a skilled executive in the private and nonprofit business sectors, and as an active volunteer in local schools, youth and arts organizations. As a strong, effective, compassionate leader, Melanie served six years on the Freeport Town Council, and was elected to leadership as Chair (twice) and Vice-Chair during her tenure.
Melanie is committed to keeping money out of politics, and is proud to be a Maine Clean Elections candidate.
Melanie grew up New Sharon in Maine, graduating from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. She completed her B.A. in Political Science, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, Cum Laude from Bates College- the first one in her family to do so. She interned for Senator George Mitchell in 1991. She received her Master’s in Science and Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio, and has been a licensed clinical social worker for more than 25 years with a focus on health and mental health care, and working with the most vulnerable members of our community.
Melanie has been deeply involved in the classrooms and programs of our schools, volunteering and coaching students from every town in the district. She has been committed to directly working with many community organizations, including the Freeport Rotary, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Freeport, Freeport Players, and Freeport Family Performing Arts. In the summer of 2019, she chaired the Freeport Working Group to Welcome New Mainers. She was honored by the Greater Freeport Chamber of Commerce in 2016 with the Ed Bonney Community Contribution Award, and was recognized as one of Maine’s 20 Outstanding Women in 2017.
As part of the Tax Committee, I worked to keep more money in your pocket. Here are highlights from that work:
• Raised critical municipal revenue sharing to 5% to stabilize property taxes, by shifting the cost of essential services off of property taxpayers
• Expanded the property tax fairness credit and the earned income tax credit, to help more Mainers stay in their homes
• Supported pension increases for retired teachers and state employees
• Held big box stores accountable to their assessed tax value, to protect property taxpayers from shouldering the cost
• No new tax increases were passed this session
I want people to able to afford to live and work right here in our community. I supported investments in salary supplements for childcare workers; bolstered Maine’s heritage industries by investing in farms, food processors, the forest products industry, and the seafood industry; and supported targeted programs for veterans, farmers, and apprenticeships. We also made huge investments in affordable housing - dedicating $50 million to the construction of new units, and also allow Maine State Housing to refinance Part E housing bonds, providing $32 million more in affordable housing funds. Our economy works best when it provides opportunity for growth for everyone.
As a member of the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee, I worked to lower costs, expand service, and improve reliability for all Mainers. I was chosen as one of 40 bipartisan legislators across the US and Canada to attend an upcoming legislative energy seminar to dig deep into the issue. Below is just some of the key legislation that passed this session that I was deeply involved in. Sound energy policy is critical to Maine’s future, and our work has only just begun.
• Required the PUC to establish new accountability standards for utility reliability and customer service, setting mandatory financial penalties for utilities and doubling the fines that the PUC can impose, with forced sale as the ultimate penalty for a failing utility, and strengthening utility whistleblower protections
• Created the Electric Ratepayer Advisory Council to review utility rates and come up with a plan to ensure that Mainers will be able to afford their energy bills
• Expanded reliable, high-speed internet to more underserved Maine communities by making more resources available to consumer-owned public utilities
• Made changes to the net energy billing program to protect Maine ratepayers while continuing to encourage solar renewable energy development
• Protected public safety facilities from sudden utility service disconnection for nonpayment of rates, fees, or charges.
Per my campaign pledge, I pushed for fulfilling the state’s commitment to Maine schools, municipalities, and teachers by funding 55 percent of K-12 public education costs. For the first time ever, we did. I also worked closely with the staff here in RSU 5 to pass legislation to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from negatively impacting teachers’ retirement and sick leave benefits. In the Tax Committee, we overhauled and simplified the Opportunity Maine Tax Credit to provide $2,500 of student debt relief per year over 10 years ($25K total) regardless of degree type and where someone went to school (a HUGE step forward for keeping young graduates here in Maine.)
Here are some other excellent bills I supported to invest in Maine students:
• Funded free breakfast and lunch programs for all K-12 students
• Funded two years of free community college for the Maine high school graduating classes of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023
• Expanded access to childcare and preschool by creating grant programs for child care providers and Pre-K programs throughout the state
• Invested in career exploration programs, career and technical education, apprenticeships, workforce training programs and higher education
• Invested in the School Revolving Renovation Fund, enabling schools to make critical health, safety and capital upgrades
• Supported sexual assault survivors on college campuses by establishing necessary resources and supports for survivors.
Every Mainer deserves access to quality, affordable health care. Comprehensive care should not be limited by age, gender, race, pre-existing condition, or income.
Comprehensive care means just that: comprehensive. That includes abortion care and other reproductive health care, mental health and dental care, as well as basic health care needs.
• My own bills expanding school-based health centers for kids (we are now up from 16 to 21!) and helping mental health workers receive accreditation, both received unanimous bipartisan support. As promised, I also co-sponsored a bill (which passed for the first time!) to enable Maine to establish the Maine Health Care Plan, a universal health care program, contingent on the federal government creating a state-based universal health care program.
• I voted against SIX anti-abortion bills, and voted to expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover an additional 40,000 Maine kids.
• I supported legislation to extend dental care coverage to an estimated 217,000 Mainers, with resources to rebuild Maine’s school-based oral health program.
• I supported bills to address the shortages of health care workers and essential support workers in nursing homes and direct care, to alleviate disparities in public health outcomes, to improve access to substance use disorder services, and to support child welfare and children’s mental health systems.
Maine’s natural resources are among our greatest assets. I have been an active champion of legislation to combat climate change and keep these vital resources healthy for generations to come. I held a Freeport community forum with experts on PFAS earlier this year, as so many of you reached out to me about this emerging issue. I co-sponsored legislation to establish the creation of the Maine Clean Energy Sustainability Accelerator, known as a “green bank,” to help finance emission reduction projects, and another bill to improve soil carbon sequestration. Below are just some of the bills I worked for or helped pass to address climate change, including measures to ramp up land conservation efforts, support climate resilience and emission reduction projects, provide weatherization funding, encourage the use of electric vehicles, divest from fossil fuel companies, reform our recycling system, and much more.
• Increased PFAS testing and mitigation in Maine’s groundwater and soil, and improve wastewater infrastructure to prevent further pollution in our water supplies and our environment.
• Invested $60 million to clean up toxic PFAS contamination of our land, especially farmland and banning the spread of fertilizer infused with PFAS
• Prohibited the sale and distribution of pesticides containing intentionally added PFAS beginning in 2030
• Provided funding for Mainers to make weatherization and efficiency upgrades on their homes, which will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve Maine’s housing stock and lower energy costs
• Invested in Maine’s state parks to maintain the outdoor economy and continue land conservation efforts
• Supported municipal partnership programs to improve climate resilience and emission reductions at the local level
• Encouraged the use of electric vehicles by establishing a rebate program and direct the PUC to evaluate rate structures to support electric vehicle charging stations
• Limited the use of hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas that contributes significantly to climate change
• Divested state funds from fossil fuel companies
• Directed the Board of Pesticides Control to prohibit the use of certain neonicotinoids for outdoor residential use, protecting pollinators that are critical in maintaining biodiversity and agriculture
• Provided $40 million for the Land for Maine’s Future program to ramp up land conservation efforts
• Closed a loophole in Maine law that has allowed the Juniper Ridge Landfill to become a dumping ground for waste from surrounding states
• Advanced carbon sequestration and mitigate the impacts of climate change by funding forest carbon mapping
Proud to earn the endorsement of this amazing leader!