Steve Ward Elected New Chair of MECEP’s Board of Directors

S. P. “Chip” Newell and Beth McPherson also join MECEP Board
Augusta, Maine (Monday, January 24, 2011)—The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) today announced that its Board of Directors has elected former Maine Public Advocate Steve Ward as its new chair.  Ward replaces civil liberties advocate Joan Sturmthal who will remain a member of the MECEP board.  The Board elected Annee Tara, Vice-chair; Bonnie Lounsbury, Secretary; and Douglas Woodbury, Treasurer. 

“Steve Ward is an exciting and dynamic choice to lead MECEP in the year ahead,” said MECEP Executive Director Christopher St. John.  “As Public Advocate, Steve effectively protected the rights of Maine consumers through a period of significant regulatory reform.  His skills and experience are tremendous assets as MECEP moves forward.  I know I speak for the MECEP board and staff in expressing our deep appreciation to Joan Sturmthal for her leadership as chair over the past four years.”

Ward served as Maine’s Public Advocate from 1986 to 2007 under four successive Governors, representing the interests of utility customers at the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Federal Communications Commission, the Maine Legislature and Congress. Ward was President of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates from 2000 to 2002. 

The Board also elected two new members.  S. P. “Chip” Newell is a Principal and Managing Member of the New Height Group, a real estate development, marketing and consulting firm located in West Boothbay harbor.  Beth McPherson is an active community volunteer, serving as co-founder and current secretary-treasurer of the ElderCare Network of Lincoln County and as treasurer of the Midcoast Green Collaborative.  She was also the founding executive director of the statewide Genesis Community Loan Fund, 1993-2007.
As Maine’s leading non-profit research and policy development organization, MECEP provides expert analysis and advocates for fair, equitable state revenue and spending priorities that support working families, encourage economic growth and assure their opportunities for success.