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Politics

Maine Senate Unanimously Confirms Barry Hobbins for Public Advocate

The Maine Senate has unanimously confirmed Gov. Paul LePage’s pick for public advocate.

Barry Hobbins, a longtime Democratic member of the Maine legislature, had sailed through a key committee vote. He is one of a handful of Democrats known to have a working relationship with LePage. He has also served on the Energy and Utilities Committee, the same panel that played a role in confirming him.

Hobbins succeeds Timothy Schneider, whose reappointment had been in doubt after he angered the governor by attempting to broker a deal on a landmark solar bill.

Questions have been raised about Hobbins’ ties to the wireless communications industry, including a stint lobbying for AT&T. Hobbins says such ties have never influenced his legislative work.

A drunken driving arrest in Massachusetts last year also failed to dampen Senators’ support for the incoming Public Advocate. Court officials in Newburyport, Massachusetts, say Hobbins was given probation following an OUI arrest in November.