Former Chief Justice Endorsed by Entire Transportation Committee Tuesday

June 7, 2011

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 07, 2011 Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – The Honorable Daniel Wathen was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Joint Standing Committee on Transportation to serve as a member of the Maine Turnpike Authority (MTA.

“I thank Governor LePage for offering me this important opportunity,” Hon. Wathen told Committee members during his appointment review. Judge Wathen addressed issues currently facing the MTA including the need to redress the balance between the independence and accountability of the Authority in its dealings and interactions with the Legislature and the people of Maine.

“Working together with trust and cooperation, I am sure that we will forge a new era of openness and accountability while protecting the sources of financing that are so important to the future of our State,” said Judge Wathen.

In March, Governor Paul LePage appointed Peter Mills as Executive Director to the Authority to help restore trust and confidence to the agency. The Governor appointed Judge Wathen earlier this month confident he will complement the efforts of Director Mills.

“I appreciate the endorsement from our elected leaders of Judge Wathen,” Governor LePage said. “He is a man that brings impeccable credentials to an Authority whose reputation is recovering from revelations of fiscal improprieties. It is time to redirect focus at the Authority and these two appointments are considerable steps for its successful future.”

Judge Wathen, of Augusta, served for 20 years on the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, ten of which as the Chief Justice. He has served as a Justice of the Maine Superior Court. In private practice, Judge Wathen practiced both trial and transactional law and, more recently, as arbitrator, mediator, and court assigned special master. He is a graduate of Ricker College and the University of Maine School of Law where he served as editor-in-chief of the Maine Law Review.

The appointment will now go before the full Senate. If confirmed, Judge Wathen is likely to be appointed as Chairman of the Board.