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Politics

Panel Endorses LePage Pick For Public Utilities Commission

AUGUSTA, Maine - A legislative committee has endorsed Republican Gov. Paul LePage's nominee to the Maine Public Utilities Commission.

The Energy, Utilities and Technology Committee voted 11-2 in favor of Bruce Williamson's nomination on Thursday.

Williamson is a senior economist at the Institute for Nuclear Security at the University of Tennessee's Howard Baker Center for Public Policy. He told the committee during a public hearing last week that his expertise in economics would benefit the panel, which regulates utilities in the state.

Legislative panels typically vote on a nominee immediately following a public hearing. But Democrats on the panel said they needed more time to decide amid what they've called a "crisis of confidence'' at the PUC. Democrats question whether LePage is improperly influencing the commission, but LePage has dismissed that idea.