Of the 151 members of the House of the 118th Maine Legislature, 81 are Democrats, 69 are Republicans, and one is an Independent.
There are 35 women in the House; 23 are Democrats, 11 are Republicans, and one is an Independent.
Representative Albert P. Gamache of Lewiston, 79, has the distinction of being the senior member of the House, while Representative Tarren R. Bragdon of Bangor, 21, is the youngest. At 21 years and 12 days, Representative Bragdon has the additional honor of being the youngest member ever elected to the Maine House of Representatives.
Upon her election as Speaker of the House, Representative Elizabeth H. Mitchell of Vassalboro will become the first woman chosen to preside in either chamber of the Maine Legislature. Representative Mitchell served as Majority Leader of the House in the 110th and 111th Legislatures and as Assistant Majority Leader of the House in the 109th and 117th Legislatures.
Representative Edward L. Dexter of Kingfield is the member with the longest service in the House, having been first elected in 1976 and re-elected in 1992. Today he begins his 10th term. Representative Elizabeth H. Mitchell is the woman with the longest service, having been first elected in 1974 and re-elected in 1990. Today she begins her 9th term. She is also one of two Representatives to have served in the earliest Legislature, having been elected to the 107th Legislature in 1974 along with Representative Ronald E. Usher of Westbrook.
Representative Usher is one of two members with prior service in the State Senate. He served in the Senate from Cumberland County in the 108th through the 113th Legislatures. Representative John L. Tuttle, Jr., of Sanford served in the Senate from York County in the 112th and 113th Legislatures.
Of the 60 new members of the House, five have prior service in the House. Representative Joseph Bruno of Raymond was a member of the House in the 116th Legislature. Representative Lucien A. Dutremble of Biddeford was a member of the House in the 108th, 109th, and 113th through 116th Legislatures. Representative Thomas W. Murphy, Jr., of Kennebunk was a member of the House in the 110th through 113th Legislatures. Representative James G. Skoglund of St. George was a member of the House in the 114th through 116th Legislatures. Representative Usher was a member of the House in the 107th Legislature.
Ninety-six members of the House have had previous legislative experience. As indicated, Representative Dexter begins his 10th term. Representative Elizabeth H. Mitchell begins her 9th term. Representative Dutremble begins his 7th term. Representative Norman R. Paul of Sanford begins his 6th term. Representatives Murphy and Tuttle begin their 5th term in the House. Twelve members begin their 4th term today, 21 members begin their 3rd term, 57 members begin their 2nd term, and there are 55 members beginning their first term, 36 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Eleven members are beginning their 4th consecutive term and by the provisions of Maine's term limit laws will be prohibited from running for the House in 1998. The combined experience of returning members of the House is 340 years. The average age of the members of the House is 50.1 (50.0 for men and 50.3 for women).
By way of occupation, the 118th House is composed of 20 educators (14 active and six retired) while another three are in education administration (two active and one retired). There are seven attorneys in the House, four farmers, three social workers, two lobstermen, and five people who work in the field of health care. Five legislators are involved in the pulp and paper industry while another three are involved in forestry. Sixteen members are businesspeople, three are homemakers, and seven are self-employed. Overall there are 32 retirees in the House, many of those members having come from the ranks of business and local, state and federal government.
Four legislators formerly served as legislative staff. Representatives Douglas J. Ahearne of Madawaska and Joseph E. Clark of Millinocket served on the House Chamber staff, Representative Jeffery G. Joyner of Hollis served on the Senate Chamber staff, and Representative Glenys P. Lovett of Scarborough served as Chief Committee Clerk and also served as committee clerk to the Committee on Business Legislation.
Of the 151 members of the House, 88 were born in Maine, 31 of them in the communities they currently represent. Sixteen members were born in Massachusetts, 12 members were born in New York, two members were born in New Brunswick, Canada, and the rest were born in 17 other states. All have been elected to serve two-year terms.