This month the York County Commission voted to designate Oct. 28 as First Responders’ Day.
It’s so important that we take the time to appreciate the service of those who are on the front lines. Those who are first to the scene of a fire, first to get to your home to take you to the hospital, first to put themselves into harm’s way to protect you. It takes a special kind of person to step up and put the needs of the community first. These are the unsung heroes that never ask for recognition or want to be in the spotlight, but absolutely deserve it. We owe them so much more than our gratitude.
One of my many goals as your county commissioner is to not only bring some added awareness of what is taking place at the county level, but also help the public understand more about what this position entails.
In many states, the role of a county commissioner is a very important one. Outside of New England, county government tends to play a larger role in everyday life than the municipal level.
In some places, county government is responsible for things like maintaining roads and bridges, caring for our physical and mental health, administering our elections, ensuring public safety, strengthening environmental stewardship, and much more. At the other end of the spectrum, Rhode Island and Connecticut do not have county governments at all.
One of the big items that the county commission does is hold tax abatement denial appeal hearings with parties from both the town and taxpayer coming before us to make their case. It’s my role to weigh the facts and determine an outcome that is in line with our obligations set forth by the state. In this case, pushing back on town officials to protect taxpayers through no fault of their own.
Kicked off the Hollis Community Day (& Pirate Festival) leading off the parade with Hollis Senator Henry Ingwersen, enjoyed meeting constituents of all ages at our event booth, and capped the day emceeing the raffle winners. 11-hour day is worth it when it all benefits the Hollis Parks & Rec program. I’ll dress up like a pirate any day for the kiddos!
This year I’m pleased to award four area high school students with a total of $2,000 in college scholarships. Each student was recognized with one of our Leadership Scholarships from the Chenette Scholarship Fund, a nonprofit I founded to empower the next generation of community leaders.
I am constantly in awe and so very proud of our scholars. This group isn’t waiting around to make their mark. These young leaders have demonstrated a clear commitment to giving back and will continue inspiring others as they chart new ways of taking up the mantle of leadership.
This year’s recipients are Elise MacNair, Cole Cochrane, Ben Moore, and Luke Plummer.
Making history as the first and only openly LGBTQ+ member of the York County Commission means Pride Month is personal. I find it incredibly important to ensure that representation doesn’t go to waste. I’ve always believed that when you have diverse voices at the table, policy decisions and outcomes are directly impacted through the demonstration of varying lived experiences.
The York County Commission voted to declare June 2023 Pride Month. It’s the first time in our long history of county existence since 1636 that we passed a pride proclamation. Following similar action by the White House, State of Maine, and various municipalities, it was high time for the county to play a role. I introduced this measure because every level of government has a responsibility to do all we can to protect our constituents, no matter who they are or who they love.
Interviewed by Scripps News, which is distributed nationally to various stations, regarding the new FDA rules that are meant to lift some of the restrictions that have historically prevented gay and bisexual men from donating blood. I talked about some of the challenges with the use of individual risk-based assessment questionnaires.
ALFRED - The York County Commission has declared June 2023 Pride Month, after passing its first ever pride proclamation this week.
County Commissioner Justin Chenette, who represents Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, and Buxton, introduced the measure. Chenette is the first and only openly LGBTQ+ member of the commission and also serves as Vice Chair.
“We are at an inflection point in this country. Personal and legislative attacks against members of my community are more and more frequent,” says Commissioner Chenette. “It’s critical that those of us who are on the side of human decency and freedom from discrimination are heard over the voices of hate that are currently being amplified. This proclamation demonstrates York County’s commitment to treating everyone with respect and our commitment to standing with the LGBTQ+ community.”
The proclamation passed 3 to 2, with Commissioners Chenette, Dutremble, and Clark in support, while Commissioners Andrews and Ring voted against the measure.
Details of the proclamation include using Pride Month to ‘engage in dialogue to strengthen alliances, build acceptance, and advance equal rights’.
This follows similar action by the White House, State of Maine, and various municipalities also recognizing Pride Month.
The York County Budget Committee will be holding a Public Hearing this Monday, June 12th at 4 P.M. This is your opportunity to weigh in on any item within the budget and any changes the Budget Committee is recommending. The hearing will be held at the York County Government Building at 149 Jordan Springs Road in Alfred.
You can review budget details, video of presentations, & the full process here: