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State Senator and UMFK professor John Martin travels to Lebanon

November 18, 2005

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UMFK Professor and Maine State Senator John L. Martin

University of Maine at Fort Kent assistant professor of political science, Maine State Senator John L. Martin, recently returned from the Middle East, where he spent time mentoring Lebanese elected government officials and their staffs.

Martin was in Beirut, Lebanon leading sessions covering topics pertaining to government relations and other issues that impact lawmakers and bureaucrats.

The training and technical assistance outreach to Lebanon was sponsored by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), with the support of the U.S. Department of State's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI).

Martin's visit to the Lebanese capital is part of NCSL's legislative exchange program with parliaments of North Africa and the Middle East that is designed to promote democratic development, institutional capacity building and improved mutual understanding through the provision of technical training for both staff and members of parliaments.

The program which also included the countries of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia, allowed lawmakers in the participating nations to benefit from extremely successful programs already undertaken by NCSL across Francophone Africa; to create links with legislators and their staffs from the United States; and then expand upon those relationships to generate legislator-level linkages between all of the countries involved.

In addition to his impressive legislative and political resume, Martin was identified as a key participant because of his ability to speak French.

Martin, who in addition to his teaching role at UMFK, serves as the executive assistant to the president, is a well-known political figure throughout the state.

He received his bachelor of arts degree in history and government from the University of Maine at Orono in 1963 and completed advanced graduate study in Political Science at the University of Maine at Orono.

The Democrat, who was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives in 1964, served an unprecedented ten terms as speaker of the house.

He was elected minority floor leader in 1971 and served in that position until becoming speaker in 1975. He served as the chair of the Legislative Council in 1989-1990.

Martin is a member of the New England Political Science Association and the American Academy of Political Science. He also served as president of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) from 1990-1991. He was chairman of the State-Federal Assembly of NCSL in 1985-1986, vice chair of NCSL's Budget, Fiscal & Rules Committee in 1986-87, and chair of the Task Force on Reapportionment in 1987-1988.

In addition, he was a member of the board of the Foundation for State Legislatures and was vice chair of the Regional Executive Committee of the Democratic State Legislative Leaders Association.

In 1990, he was elected chair of the State Democratic Leaders Association and served on both the Democratic National Committee and the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee. He was president of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation from 1979 to 1982 and Chairman of the New England Caucus of State Legislatures in 1982 and 1983.

He is currently serving his third term in the State Senate.