Gov. Paul LePage on Friday nominated lifelong Democrat Barry Hobbins to serve as the state’s next public advocate, a role leading a team of attorneys to represent utility ratepayers in state regulatory hearings.

Hobbins’ political experience extends back decades, but on the other side of the aisle from LePage. As a member of the House, he voted for the law to create the Office of the Public Advocate. More recently, he was a co-sponsor of a massive bipartisan energy bill called the Omnibus Energy Act, in 2013.

In an interview Friday, Hobbins said that, based on his resume, “you would think that would foreclose any opportunity for someone like me to be appointed by a Republican. [LePage] looked beyond all that, and quite frankly, I’m glad that he did.”

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.