Hannah Pingree
Hannah Pingree
Governor Janet Mills has appointed former Maine House Speaker Hannah Pingree of North Haven to lead the state Office of Policy Management (OPM) and develop the framework for transforming it into the new Office of Innovation and the Future (OIF). Pingree will develop the framework for OIF and propose it to the Legislature for its consideration.

“This office will lead the charge in charting our state’s path forward on critical issues like health care, workforce development and climate change,” said Mills in a statement. “Hannah is extraordinarily well-qualified to lead this transition, and the state is in need of it. I look forward to working with her to accomplish this goal and to put Maine back on track to more strategically and comprehensively thinking about its future.”

Mills says Pingree will also be responsible for advancing Mills’ policy priorities and coordinating them across departments, as well as strategic planning, coordination with federal and private funding and engaging with the Legislature on climate and energy policies, early childhood education, workforce development, broadband, rural economic development, and health and opioid policies.

Pingree served as Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives from 2008 to 2010 and as House Majority Leader and co-chair of the Health and Human Services Committee. She has also managed Nebo Lodge and serves on the local school board on North Haven.

“I am honored to lead Governor Mills’ efforts to restore forward-looking strategic planning to state government,” said Pingree. “From the cost of health care to climate change to our workforce shortage, Maine faces a set of serious challenges. But inherent in those challenges are also opportunities to marshal the collective power of state government to address them and begin charting a course for a better future.”

Former Gov. Paul LePage formed OPM in 2012 to replace the State Planning Office, which the GOP-controlled Legislature eliminated. During LePage’s tenure, OPM housed the state economist as well as other employees charged with conducting research to support the governor’s tax and welfare policies and other objectives. Last year, the governor dissolved OPM into other departments after its director Jonathan LaBonte quietly resigned in April. Shortly after, LaBonte deleted both his Facebook and Twitter accounts and has kept a low profile ever since. In August, the LePage administration decided to demolish the building that housed OPM after spending $271,000 to buy and rennovate it.