Thom Harnett
State Representative for House District 83

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About Thom

At the local level, I served as a Gardiner City Councilor and six years as Gardiner’s Mayor. I am now happy to represent the residents of Farmingdale and Gardiner as the State Representative for House District 83. It is my belief that giving back to my community is important. I look forward to working with and for you again in the next session of the Maine Legislature.


By trade, I am a lawyer who retired as an Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Attorney General in 2017. I began working there in 1989 representing the Department of Marine Resources and other state agencies, as well as doing some civil rights work. From 2001 through 2010, I served as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Education and Enforcement. Part of that job included directing the Civil Rights Team Project that established Civil Rights Teams in more than 200 schools located throughout Maine. It was also my job to direct the enforcement of the Maine Civil Rights Act. When I retired, I was working in the Natural Resources Division protecting Maine’s environment.

During my time doing civil rights work, I prosecuted numerous civil rights or "hate crime" cases. I also conducted student and faculty trainings and spoke about the Attorney General's Civil Rights Team Project at regional conferences, guidance counselor gatherings, legal education seminars, statewide events and at national conferences sponsored by the United States Department of Justice and the Education Law & Policy Consortium, Inc. It was rewarding to address over 100,000 students in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout Maine and conduct trainings for the Judicial Branch of the State of Maine. In 2008 I was honored to be recognized by Maine Initiatives as a Social Landscape Artist for my efforts in building Civil Rights Teams in schools throughout Maine.

Prior to moving to Maine in 1989, I worked as a lawyer for migrant, seasonal, and year-round farm workers throughout New York State for nine years. In that position, I saw firsthand the struggles of families trying to live on a deflated minimum wage in the most difficult of circumstances.

As past president of the Maine Bar Foundation, I was responsible for funding entities that provide legal services to people of low income and other vulnerable populations throughout the State of Maine and for promoting the provision of pro bono legal services to persons who would otherwise be unable to afford legal services. I have also served on the Executive Committee of Maine’s Justice Action Group; whose purpose is to ensure that all people in Maine have equal access to justice.

My wife, Lisa, and I moved to Gardiner thirty years ago. We raised two children here, Eloise who is a Tufts graduate now working in New York City and Joe, who graduated from Hamilton College and is also living in New York City while working in New Jersey. Both were educated in Gardiner public schools.


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