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Shenna Bellows Becomes First Woman Elected As Maine Secretary Of State

Michael C. York
Associated Press
Shenna Bellows speaks at the Maine Democratic Convention in Bangor, Maine, Saturday, May 31, 2014.

Lawmakers on Wednesday elected Democratic state Sen. Shenna Bellows as secretary of state for the next two years — the first woman ever to hold that post in Maine.

Bellows says she plans to pursue many of her predecessor’s goals. She says the controversies in other states over this year’s presidential election were part of the reason that she decided to give up her seat in the Legislature and seek the job being vacated by Matt Dunlap.

“Recognizing the critical importance of the integrity of our elections and the role of secretaries of state everywhere to strengthen our democracy, I felt called to step up and serve in this way,” she says. “We’ve done very well here in our state, but it is critically important that we build upon that work to continue to strengthen our democracy to expand voter participation.”

Bellows says Dunlap, who is also a Democrat, set the standard for conducting elections and that she will continue his efforts. She also pledged to make other programs overseen by the secretary’s office — such as motor vehicles and corporations — more internet accessible.

“Today, especially in this time when Mainers are struggling with so much that we do everything in our power to make government work for them. People want efficiency and capability and cost savings and excellent customer service,” she says.

Bellows takes office in January.

Journalist Mal Leary spearheads Maine Public's news coverage of politics and government and is based at the State House.