AUGUSTA, Maine — Col. Douglas Farnham of Brewer’s nomination to be the next leader of the Maine National Guard and commissioner of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management sailed through the Senate with unanimous support Tuesday.
Farnham, who is well-known in the Brewer area, was nominated for the position last month by Gov. Paul LePage. Farnham breezed through the vetting process and was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday with a 34-0 vote.
For the past three years, Farnham has been wing commander of the 101st Air Refueling Wing in Bangor. In addition to Brewer High School, Farnham is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and Chapman University. He has 31 years of military service and is co-owner of Getchell Bros. Inc., a well-known ice-packaging business.
Farnham said last month that he expects funding for national defense projects and organizations to be a major challenge he’ll face in his new position.
“Shrinking national resources are putting intense pressure on future Department of Defense budgets,” he said. “As we’ve seen, the entire relationship between the active-duty force structure and the reserve components is and will continue to be under debate.”
Late last year, LePage nominated Brig. Gen. Gerard F. Bolduc, who served since March 2015 as acting adjutant general, to the permanent post, but Bolduc declined the nomination a day later.
Bolduc took the position on an interim basis when LePage fired adjutant general Brig. Gen. James Campbell and accused him of mischaracterizing a plan to turn Maine’s 133rd Engineer Battalion into an infantry unit. Campbell denied that charge.
Farnham’s 31-year career, which began as a second lieutenant in the Air Force, has included years as a pilot and flight instructor, including active duty as a refueling pilot in Operation Noble Eagle in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Farnham is married to former Sen. Nichi S. Farnham, who represented Bangor and Hermon in the Maine Senate from 2010 to 2012 after serving for 13 years as a Bangor city councilor. Nichi Farnham, who has served on the Maine State Board of Education since 2013, when she was nominated to that post by LePage, lost her Senate seat in 2012 to Democrat Geoffrey Gratwick.
Douglas Farnham will need to be sworn in by LePage, whose office said Tuesday that that event has not yet been scheduled.