Measure to begin planning Maine’s bicentennial celebration earns unanimous committee approval

May 10, 2017

AUGUSTA – A resolve to authorize planning for Maine’s bicentennial celebration has been unanimously approved by the Legislature’s Education and Cultural Affairs Committee.

“We want all Maine communities to join in the celebration of Maine’s statehood. The diverse membership of the commission will explore themes in Maine history and heritage with an eye to the future of what Maine can be,” said Rep. Jim Handy, D-Lewiston, the sponsor of the resolve.

Maine was separated from Massachusetts to become the nation’s 23rd state in 1820 as part of the Missouri Compromise, a controversial agreement that allowed slavery to expand to Missouri in exchange for Maine’s entry to the Union as a free state.

Today, Maine acknowledges and contemplates its complicated history on race and has embraced shared, core values of acceptance, ingenuity, hard work and exploration.

“The bicentennial offers us not just the opportunity to celebrate everything that is Maine and makes us proud to live here, but it affords us an opportunity to look at our history with fresh eyes, and to ponder a change in our worldview where we can cease simply letting history happen to us, and instead come together around this time to chart our future course and give shape to our own vision of destiny,” said Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, in his public testimony in support of Handy’s resolve.

LD 1143 calls for the creation of a 22-member commission that will hold its first meeting on Oct. 16, 2017. The commission will bring together educational, cultural and business interests to plan for the 200th anniversary of Maine becoming a state.

The bill will now go to the full House of Representatives for a vote.


Lindsay Crete [Handy], c. 231-1442