LePage taps nominees for DIF&W, labor; delays education commissioner announcement

Posted Feb. 09, 2011, at 12:30 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 17, 2011, at 11:53 a.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Paul LePage announced two more nominees to fill cabinet posts on Wednesday morning.

LePage nominated Chandler Woodcock, a former legislator and one-time gubernatorial hopeful, to serve as commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

Cheryl Russell, a consultant whose family is in the forest products business, was nominated to serve as commissioner of the Department of Labor.

Both candidates must be approved by the state Senate.

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Woodcock, of Farmington, served three terms in the Legislature, during which he was a member of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee. He ran for governor in 2006 on the Republican ticket but was defeated by Gov. John Baldacci. He currently serves as executive director of the Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association.

A lifelong sportsman, Woodcock said one of his top priorities, if confirmed as commissioner, will be to focus on wildlife habitat, including the preservation of so-called “deer yards” where whitetailed deer congregate during the winter.

Russell, of Chester, is a Wytopitlock native who spent 17 years working in the family logging business, Hanington Brothers Inc. Russell now runs Competitive Edge Consulting and formerly worked for the Professional Logging Contractors of Maine and the American Loggers Council.

If confirmed as labor commissioner, Russell said she will focus on improving the skills of Maine’s work force as well as working with both employers and employees to improve the state’s business climate.

LePage was expected to announce his nominee for education commissioner on Wednesday. However, the governor said that announcement has been delayed until Thursday in order to give the State Board of Education time to review the candidate, as required under Maine statute.

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