AUGUSTA, Maine — Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, has been appointed Senate chairwoman of the Legislature’s Joint Select Committee on Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future, a position that was vacated with the resignation of Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond.

Democrats created the temporary committee in January with the intent of focusing on workforce training, supporting small business owners and revitalizing the state’s downtowns. The committee spent the early part of the session traveling throughout Maine to meet with workforce experts, employers, education officials and workers. The committee’s work resulted in the passage an omnibus bill, “An Act to Strengthen Maine’s Workforce and Economic Future,” which was rolled into the biennial budget bill.

The bill created new degree programs in high-demand fields and expanded existing education programs. It also created a scholarship fund for postsecondary degree programs, enacted a more seamless credit transfer system and restores funding for the Maine Apprenticeship Program.

“Tasked with strengthening Maine’s workforce and economic future, the committee was a shining example of what can happen when lawmakers from both sides of the aisle work together,” said Valentino in a prepared statement.

Valentino, who is in her fifth term as a legislator, has served on the Legislature’s Taxation and Appropriations committees. She previously served as the commissioner of the Maine Liquor and Lottery Commission.

Goodall resigned last month to take a presidentially appointed position as regional director of the Small Business Administration.

Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.