Maine Senator is 1st Black legislator to serve in both chambers

Maine Sen. Craig Hickman. (Photo from Hickman’s Facebook)

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) | The Maine Legislature is getting down to business after making some history: Sen. Craig Hickman was sworn in March 10 as the first Black man to serve in both chambers of the Legislature and first openly gay Black man to serve in the House.

Hickman, who served four terms in the House, easily won a special election March 9 for the Senate District 14 seat left empty when Democrat Shenna Bellows became secretary of state.

“I am over the moon,” Hickman tweeted.

The next morning, at the Blaine House, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills delivered the oath of office to the farmer from Winthrop, allowing Hickman to begin full participation in the day’s session.

Both chambers were gathering at the Augusta Civic Center for the first time since December to take their first votes. The session was being held at the civic center to accommodate social distancing during the pandemic.

Hickman represented Maine in a videotaped virtual roll call during the Democratic National Convention.

Also making history during this legislative session in addition to Hickman and Bellows, who’s the first woman to serve as secretary of state, are the state’s first openly gay House speaker, Ryan Fecteau, and the first Black woman in a party leadership position, Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross.

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