Success Story March 17, 2021 at 09:30 am

Maine’s first openly gay Black Representative from Winthrop makes history once more

Ama Nunoo March 17, 2021 at 09:30 am

March 17, 2021 at 09:30 am | Success Story

Craig Hickman is the first Black Maine legislator to serve in both houses. Photo: AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

Senator Craig Hickman has made history as the first Black man to serve in both chambers of the Maine legislature. He is also the first openly gay Black man to serve in the House of Representatives completing all four terms.

“Growing up Black and gay and blue-collar in America, nobody ever said it was going to be easy. But my experiences have taught me the importance of protecting our communities and standing up for those in need,” said Hickman, who won a special election Tuesday for the Senate District 14 seat. That seat became empty when Democrat Shenna Bellows was appointed secretary of state.

Hickman got 5,248 votes making 62.5% of total votes in the Maine Senate District 14 special election, winning all but two towns against Republican William Guerrette, 61, who got 3,136 nods making 7.45% of the votes.

Of his appointment, Hickman said he was excited to start serving his constituents. He added that although he was expecting the contest to be closer, it only goes to show that voters just want the work done.

“When I first was elected I remember saying that the voters pretty much have proven that it doesn’t matter what you look (like) or who you love, or how you walk or talk,” he said. “It only matters what you do. I just live that all day, every day.”

The Winthrop, Maine native is a farmer whose father was a former Tuskegee Airman. He grew up watching his parents actively fighting for causes they believed in as they were very active in the civil rights movement. It is not surprising that Hickman eventually got into politics.

He was the Maine representative videotaped in a virtual roll call for the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

At the Blaine House last Wednesday, the first order of business for Democratic Governor Janet Mills was the swearing-in of Hickman that morning so that he could dive into full work mode just a day after his victory.

Both chambers which had not met in three months had their first meeting at the Augusta Civic Center where all COVID-19 protocols were observed. The coronavirus had prevented the Maine legislature from meeting. There were several bills pending that lawmakers had to get on with right away including the approval of a supplemental budget which got the nod from two-thirds of the house after it was amended to help veterans.

There were outside groups that also convened at the center to demonstrate against pandemic restrictions and to throw their weight behind medical marijuana.

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