Democrats on the Legislature's labor committee have voted to block Gov. Paul LePage's nominee to lead the Maine State Housing Authority.
All seven Democrats voted to reject the appointment of George Gervais to an agency that provides low interest loans to first-time homebuyers and administers heating assistance programs.
Gervais currently serves as the governor's economic development chief and his past interactions with the labor committee – or in some instances, lack of them – appeared to play a role in Democrats' decision to oppose his nomination. Some also raised questions about tax liens against Gervais for unsuccessful business ventures.
Several groups and individuals testified in support of Gervais, including the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and former Democratic Gov. John Baldacci.
His supporters argued that he was constrained from being more forthcoming with the committee in the past by the governor – who has put other cabinet members on a tight leash when interacting with the Legislature.
Gervais’ nomination now goes to the Senate, where it will take a two-thirds vote to overturn the committee’s decision.