A look back at 16 years in the Maine Legislature

Senator Kimberley Rosen delivers this week’s Republican Radio Address

By Sen. Kimberley Rosen

When we wrapped up our Second Regular Session on May 9th, it was a bittersweet day for me. After eight years in the Maine Senate, which followed another eight I spent in the House of Representatives, that day was likely to be my last chamber session. It would be my last chance to see the great people I served side by side with for the past two years in the 130th Legislature.

Hello, I am Senator Kimberley Rosen of Hancock County, and it’s my pleasure to join you for what may also be my last radio address.

Sen. Kimberley Rosen – Hancock

When I began my service in the House in December 2004, John Baldacci was governor back then and George W. Bush was president. Shrek 2 was the highest grossing movie that year, and the Boston Red Sox had won the World Series for the first time since 1918. And, yes, I was a lot younger.

By the time I was elected, I already had a little elected office practice because my husband, Richard, preceded me in representing Bucksport and Orrington in the House. He served for six years before winning his election to the Maine Senate. Because I had taken Richard’s phone calls for years before that, I felt it was going to be a pretty easy transition to my own role as representative.

But it was much different. After I was elected, it was exciting to be the one representing Maine citizens but that soon led to a much greater sense of responsibility when I arrived in Augusta. When both Richard and I won our races that year, I also wondered what people would think about both of us serving in the Legislature. I soon found that the people of Bucksport and Orrington loved it. If they had an issue, it was like one-stop shopping, so to speak.

My Senate experience was much different. There are only 35 of us and fewer than that in my Caucus versus 151 representatives. The challenge for me was that I would be representing so many more people across 16 towns plus the City of Brewer. From Lincoln to Castine, travel was more extensive and appearances, activities and even church suppers were more numerous. That was so different than just the two towns in my House district. But I loved it!

When it came to the constituent work, I went into my legislative service determined to help people affected by domestic violence. That’s why the Criminal Justice Committee, of which I served on for six years with four of them as its chair, was a great fit for me. Yet I learned more about our state through my 10 years of service on the Transportation Committee, and two-year turns on the Natural Resources, Marine Resources and State and Local Government committees.

And every two-year Legislature was different. Different people, solving different problems, with different leadership each term. In fact, it’s hard to believe that we’ve had three different governors during my entire time in the Legislature. Most importantly, you make different lifelong friends along the way.

Yet COVID-19 was a game changer for all of us. From virtual online committees to our sessions held at the Augusta Civic Center last year, what I missed the most was being in our beautiful State House, seeing the school groups, and doing the work we were sent here to do in person. It was so much harder, and I didn’t even meet fellow legislators or committee members who were elected last year until we held a luncheon toward the end of the session.

In closing, let me return to that final day of session in May. Although I felt that yes, I’m ready to leave, it was bittersweet for another, more moving reason for me.

During my first year in the Senate, I lost my Dad. I remember that Mike Thibodeau, who was our Senate president at the time, was such a supportive leader as I struggled through that.

This year, my final year, I lost my mother. I couldn’t help but think that the bookends of my time in the Senate were marked by the loss of my parents. It was a somber reminder of how I began and am now ending my public service.

But as I close out my legislative career, I also hope I did them proud. I hope I did my family and friends proud. Service to others, making a positive impact and leaving it a better place than when you got there is what public service is all about.

Again, I’m Kimberley Rosen from Senate District 8. I thank you for allowing me to serve you in the Legislature, and it has been my greatest honor to represent the people of Maine. I hope you have a great weekend.

Senator Kimberley Rosen is in her fourth term representing the Hancock and Penobscot County communities of District 8. She is the Senate Republican Lead for the Marine Resources and State and Local Government committees.

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