PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Director of Communications Nicole Clegg announced Wednesday morning she will leave her City Hall position this month to take a job with Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
Clegg has served in the high visibility role of city spokeswoman for six years. She told the Bangor Daily News on Wednesday the city is working on a transition plan to prepare for her departure.
In an email to Portland area reporters, Clegg wrote that making the job change “was not an easy decision,” but said the new position “makes the most sense for me and my family” and “also presents me with an opportunity to work on policies and issues that are very close to my heart.”
Planned Parenthood’s Portland office has been the focus of weekly protests by anti-abortion demonstrators for months, a situation that has caused city officials to consider implementing a so-called ‘patient safety zone’ to create a buffer between the organization’s clients and the protesters on Congress Street.
The nonprofit Planned Parenthood has been a target of anti-abortion activists nationwide because of the organization’s advocacy for reproductive rights. Some congressional conservatives have similarly fought to eliminate federal funding for the organization over the years because of it provides information about — and in some cases, performs — abortions.
Clegg wrote to reporters on Wednesday that during her time in City Hall, she has “been impressed by the commitment and passion my co-workers bring to their jobs and I have learned a great deal from them.”
“It has also been an amazing opportunity to work with members of Maine’s press corps, who have challenged and kept me on my toes on more than one occasion,” she continued. “Working for the city has been a source of great pride for me and I will miss being in City Hall. This may be a bit corny, but throughout my tenure, I tried to keep in mind that government is at its best when its constituents feel welcome, engaged and encouraged to participate.”