Of the 151 members of the House of the 119th Maine Legislature, 79 are Democrats, 71 are Republicans, and one is an Independent.
There are 35 women in the House; 21 are Democrats, 13 are Republicans, and one is an Independent.
Representative Albert P. Gamache of Lewiston, 81, has the distinction of being the senior member of the House, while Representative Tarren R. Bragdon of Bangor, 23, is the youngest.
Representative John L. Martin of Eagle Lake is the member with the longest service in the House, having been first elected in 1964 and re-elected in 1998. Today he begins his 17th term. He is also the Representative who served in the earliest Legislature, having been elected to the 102nd Legislature in 1964. Representative Eleanor M. Murphy of Berwick is the woman with the longest service, having been first elected in 1982 and re-elected in 1998. Today she begins her 8th term.
Three members have prior service in the State Senate. Representative Ronald E. Usher of Westbrook 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. Representative Zachary E. Matthews of Winslow served in the Senate from Kennebec County in the 112th through the 115th Legislatures.
Of the 45 new members of the House, four have prior service in the House. As mentioned above, Representative Martin was a member of the House in the 102nd through the 117th Legislatures. Representative Matthews was a member of the House in the 111th Legislature. Representative Eleanor Murphy was a member of the House in the 111th through the 117th Legislatures. Representative Richard H. C. Tracy of Rome was a member of the House in the 113th through the 116th Legislatures.
110 members of the House have had previous legislative experience. As indicated, Representative Martin begins his 17th term. Representative Eleanor Murphy begins her 8th term. Representative Tuttle and Representative Thomas W. Murphy, Jr., of Kennebunk begin their 6th term. Representative Tracy and Representative James G. Skoglund of St. George begin their 5th term. Seventeen members begin their 4th term today; all 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 2000. Forty-one members begin their 3rd term, 46 members begin their 2nd term, and there are 41 members beginning their first term, 15 Democrats and 26 Republicans. The combined experience of returning members of the House is 438 years. The average age of the members of the House is 50.2 (49.5 for men and 52.7 for women).
By way of occupation, the 119th House is composed of 18 educators (11 active and seven retired) while another three are in education administration (two active and one retired). There are nine attorneys in the House, one farmer, two social workers, eight people who work in the field of health care, and one retired physician. Seven legislators are involved in the pulp and paper industry while another five are involved in forestry. Fifteen members are businesspeople, two are homemakers, and five are self-employed. Overall there are 26 retirees in the House, many of those members having come from the ranks of business and local, state and federal government.
Three legislators formerly served as legislative staff. Representatives Douglas J. Ahearne of Madawaska and Joseph E. Clark of Millinocket served on the House 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, 105 were born in Maine, 43 of them in the communities they currently represent. Thirteen members were born in Massachusetts, 12 members were born in New York, one member was born in New Brunswick, Canada, and the rest were born in 13 other states. All have been elected to serve two-year terms.