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(01.03.11) AUGUSTA – State Rep. Meredith Strang Burgess has been named House chair of the Health and Human Services Committee in the 125th Legislature, putting her in position to shape legislation on issues ranging from MaineCare to medical marijuana. The panel oversees the largest entity in the state government, the Department of Health and Human Services.

Rep. Strang Burgess (R-Cumberland), now in her third term, brings extensive experience to her new post. She served on the same committee in the last Legislature. A breast cancer survivor, she is a past president of the Maine Cancer Foundation. She also served on the Joint Select Committee on Health Care Reform Opportunities and Implementation, which was formed to integrate the new federal health care law into the Maine health care system. The committee submitted its final report in November.

House Speaker Robert Nutting, who made the appointment, said Rep. Strang Burgess will provide strong leadership for the panel. "Meredith has what it takes to run such a busy and important committee," he said. "She is thorough, well organized and very hard-working. She respects all viewpoints and understands that real lives are affected by what the committee does. She also is a fine communicator who can explain complicated issues in way that folks can understand."

Rep. Strang Burgess said she is honored by the appointment and is looking forward to getting started. "We have some really outstanding legislators on the committee, and I’m confident we will work well together on some tough issues," she said.

The committee has one of the broadest jurisdictional charters in the Legislature. It oversees the Department of Health and Human Services; MaineCare, Medicaid, and Medicare Part D; children’s welfare and mental health services; disease control; prescription drugs; social and rehabilitation services; substance abuse; mental health; disabilities; poverty, homelessness and public assistance.

The committee's purview also extends to home and community-based long-term care; aging, elderly and disability issues; medical use of marijuana; maternal and infant health; and nursing facilities and residential care.


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Rep. Strang Burgess, founder and owner of Burgess Advertising & Marketing in Portland, is a second-term legislator representing House District 108, which includes Chebeague Island, Cumberland, Long Island and part of North Yarmouth.


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