AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage announced Thursday that he has appointed former Republican lawmaker Richard Rosen as acting finance commissioner effective on Sunday, one day after the retirement of longtime state government veteran Sawin Millett Jr.
Rosen, who represented portions of Hancock and Penobscot counties in the Maine House and Senate between 1998 and 2012 before being forced out of office by term limits, has a strong background in state finance, including serving as the chairman of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee for two years. In that position, he was known in the State House as a staunch fiscal conservative, but one who was often willing to work with Democrats to find compromise on budget bills.
Earlier this year, Rosen was named deputy commissioner of finance at the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, where he worked briefly for Millett before being named acting commissioner.
“Richard has served the people of Maine well in every position he has held,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a written statement. “While there are big shoes to fill with the retirement of Sawin Millett, I am confident DAFS is in very capable hands.”
Prior to joining DAFS, Rosen served as director of LePage’s Office of Policy and Management, which among other things developed a document known by lawmakers as the “ Rosen Report” late last year that suggested $34 million in cuts and initiatives to balance the state budget. Most of those suggestions were not enacted by the Democrat-controlled Legislature.
For many years, Rosen and his wife, Kimberley — who is also a former Republican member of the House of Representatives — owned Rosen’s Department Store in Bucksport, which closed for good last year after more than 100 years in operation by the Rosen family.
Rosen, a University of Maine graduate, also serves on the boards of the Retail Association of Maine, Bucksport Regional Health Care, Acadia Hospital and Northeast historic film.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Gov. LePage and the talented team at DAFS. Commissioner Millett has put together a remarkable team of individuals that will ensure a smooth transition,” Rosen said in a prepared statement. “DAFS will continue to be a proactive and innovative service organization that provides leadership and accountability to executive branch departments.”
Millett, a Bates College and University of Maine graduate who started his career as a teacher, served in government positions at the state and local level for 55 years. In addition to six terms in the House of Representatives, Millett has served five different Maine governors, including a stint as education commissioner and two previous tenures as the state’s finance chief. He was also associate commissioner of the Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services in the late 1990s.
To become full commissioner, Rosen would need to be formally nominated by LePage and confirmed by the Senate.
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