Meet Senator Justin Chenette
Justin Chenette is serving his 4th term in the Maine legislature with two terms in the Senate and two terms in the House of Representatives. He represents Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington, and part of Buxton in the Senate. He is currently the Chair of the bipartisan Government Oversight Committee, Chair of the Marijuana Advisory Commission, Co-Chair of the Democracy Reform Caucus, and is a member of the Environment & Natural Resources Committee, Senate Ethics Committee, and the Maine Climate Council's Coastal & Marine Working Group. Justin also serves as a Citizen Trade Policy Commissioner.
In 2012, Justin made history by becoming the nation’s youngest openly gay legislator and Maine's youngest lawmaker at age 21. He was sworn into office just a week before graduating from college. Justin has been recognized nationally by The Advocate magazine, listing him on their list of the 40 Under 40 most accomplished leaders throughout the country. He has served on various policy committees including Criminal Justice & Public Safety, Taxation, State & Local Government, and was co-chair of the youth caucus.
Justin’s political career began at 17 when Governor John Baldacci appointed him to serve on the Maine State Board of Education, making history as its first student board member. He spent the following summers interning at Saco City Hall improving communications. He re-established the statewide organization, Maine Young Democrats, serving as its president for two years. While in college, he was chosen to be a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention and was a congressional intern for Republican U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe.
Justin founded a non-profit organization to advance arts education, connect Veterans to job training, help students afford college, and increase volunteerism, investing nearly $10,000 into the community. He continues this work through his nonprofit scholarship fund. Justin is the past president and current vice president of his community’s downtown revitalization organization, Saco Main Street, is an avid volunteer through the Saco Bay Rotary, Vice President of the Friends of the OOB Ballpark, and as a member of the Old Orchard Beach Chamber of Commerce and Buxton-Hollis Historical Society.
Two sitting U.S. Presidents have honored his community work as the recipient of the gold level Volunteer Service Award; in 2008, by President Bush, and in 2016, by President Obama.
Prior to legislative service, Justin got his start in journalism having been a TV anchor, producer, reporter, and columnist for various media outlets including WPXT, WPME, FOX 23, KATV, CTN, Biddeford Access, Caledonian-Record, Journal Tribune, 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 statewide public affairs show while 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 graduated from Northern Vermont University-Lyndon with a B.S. in Broadcast News. Justin also completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University’s Kennedy School after receiving a full ride fellowship.
He currently works as Saco Sport & Fitness's Marketing Coordinator, in real estate at the Bean Group, and as a small business owner, running his own marketing & public relations firm, Chenette Media LLC.
Justin lives in Saco with his husband Eduard, who works as an environmental engineer, an Adjunct Professor of Physics for the University of New England, and serves as Co-Chair of the Saco Conservation Commission.