My values were built by a Franco-American family of three sisters, one brother, a stay at home Mom and a Dad who served our city as a career firefighter. My parents taught us that hard work, loyalty and personal responsibility were the foundations to a successful life.
I was the first in my family to attend college. I went to the University of Maine Portland-Gorham and received a degree in Criminology. Following graduation, I was appointed to the Portland Police Department. As a police officer, I was a constant witness to the struggles and victories that are woven into the everyday fabric of people’s lives. I retired as Deputy Chief of Police after twenty-one years of public service to the citizens of our city.
Over the span of my police career, I was honored for my work in advancing the cause of civil rights by the NAACP, the Maine Gay and Lesbian Political Alliance, the Jewish Federation of Southern Maine, and the Maine Holocaust and Human Rights Center. I received a commendation from President William Jefferson Clinton for my leadership in community policing or as Senator George Mitchell characterized the work as “community peace-keeping”. The International Association of Chiefs of Police and Parade Magazine took notice and gave my team national recognition for our work in diversity advocacy and education.
I went on to be elected to three terms as Sheriff of Cumberland County. In those twelve years, I did all I could to improve access to medical services for those afflicted with mental illness and drug addiction. In 1999, I broke ranks with Maine’s law enforcement profession by calling for the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes.
The voters sent me to the Maine Legislature in 2010. I have served as Chair of the Criminal Justice and the Energy, Utilities and Technology Committees. I am currently the lead Democratic Senator on the Energy Committee. During my time as a legislator, I have sponsored numerous bills involving background checks for gun purchases, limiting access to firearms by the mentally ill, reforming penalties involving opioid possession, preserving digital telecommunication privacy from automatic inspection by law enforcement, expanding solar generation and creating a pathway for natural gas deployment to Maine’s industrial base.
I have also contributed my efforts to developing the next generation of police service professionals serving for ten years as an adjunct faculty member for criminal justice studies at both Southern Maine Community College and Husson University.
My commitment to life-long education is also a personal one. In 1994, I earned a Master’s degree in human services administration from Antioch College. I was awarded a Brooks Fellowship in 1997 to attend the Senior Executives Program in State and Local Government at Harvard’s John F Kennedy School of Government. I then attended the University of Maine’s School of Law and was admitted to the Bar in 2006.
As a lawyer, my practice has focused on criminal defense and family matters. I’m still helping the same people that I did as a police officer ensuring that their voice is heard and understood in the courtrooms of our state.
My wife Cheryl and I live in Portland and have been married for 38 years. She is a home health nurse. We were lucky to be blessed with two wonderful daughters. Brittany is a speech pathologist in Phoenix and Ashley owns a design firm in Oceanside, California. The last, and certainly not the least member of our family, is Jax, a terrier we rescued from Tennessee.