Meet Justin Chenette
Justin Chenette is serving as the youngest Senator in the Maine Senate where he represents Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington, and part of Buxton. He is the ranking member of the Taxation Committee and sits on the Senate Committee on Conduct & Ethics. Prior to his tenure in the Senate, Justin served two terms in the Maine House of Representatives representing the City of Saco.
In 2012, Justin made history by becoming the nation’s youngest openly gay legislator and Maine's youngest lawmaker at age 21. The Advocate magazine named him “an architect of the next decade” and listed him among the 40 Under 40 most accomplished leaders throughout the country in 2013. While in the House, Justin was a member of the Criminal Justice & Public Safety Committee, State & Local Government Committee, and was co-chair of the Legislature's bipartisan youth caucus.
Justin founded a 501(c)(3) non-profit service organization, the Saco Bay Center for Civic Engagement, to increase volunteerism. Since 2013, the 'center' has invested close to $10,000 to advance arts education, connect homeless Veterans to job training, help students afford college, and improve the community. He currently continues this work through his nonprofit scholarship fund.
Justin is also the President of Saco's downtown development organization Saco Main Street, Vice President of the Friends of the OOB Ballpark, and is a member of the Saco Bay Rotary Club, Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce, and Buxton-Hollis Historical Society.
Justin has been honored by two U.S. Presidents for his community work. In 2008 by President George W. Bush and most recently in 2016 by President Barack Obama, each time receiving the gold level Volunteer Service Award.
He currently works as the Saco Sport & Fitness's Marketing Coordinator, Ironman's Maine triathlon Volunteer Coordinator, and is also a small business owner, running his own marketing & public relations firm, Chenette Media LLC. He previously worked at the Journal Tribune for several years as their Digital Advertising Executive.
Justin’s political career began at 17 when Governor John Baldacci appointed him to serve on the Maine State Board of Education becoming its first student board member. He spent the following two summers interning at Saco City Hall. He was instrumental in re-establishing the Maine Young Democrats, a state affiliate of the Young Democrats of America, serving as its president for two years. While he was a National Delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, he interned for Republican U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe prior to her retirement.
Justin has been a TV host, producer, reporter, and columnist for various media outlets including WPXT, WPME, FOX 23, KATV, CTN, Biddeford Access, Caledonian-Record, Courier, Portland Daily Sun, and the Vermont Center for Community Journalism. He is best known in Saco for his role managing TATV Channel 3 and hosting his own public affairs show while still in high school. He also served on the Society of Professional Journalists National Diversity Committee.
After attending Saco public schools, he graduated high school from Thornton Academy while taking a full semester of college courses at the University of Southern Maine. Justin earned a B.S. in Broadcast News and minors in both Political Science and Communications from Lyndon State College.
Justin lives in Saco with his husband Eduard, who works as an environmental engineer and is an adjunct faculty member at the University of New England.