House Profile: William Walcott
Rep. Walcott is currently serving his second term as a Democrat representing House District 72 in Lewiston. He received a B.A. in Political Science from UMaine and is the special projects coordinator for Support Solutions, a private non-profit agency that provides support to those with developmental and mental health challenges.
Walcott has been in the news recently as a result of his announcement on the floor of the house during discussion on the anti-discrimination bill that he was gay, something he says he did in order to put a human face on the legislation.
From his hometown paper:
After talking about the fear he experienced as a gay man in college, in the work place and in the Legislature, fellow members stood and applauded. And they passed notes to Walcott that praised and congratulated him. [...]
"Some think it's always someone they don't know" who is gay. It might be tougher to oppose the bill "when you know someone," he said. "It's not just those people who came up here and testified. It's people who sit here and work with you every day, lobbyists, constituents or other legislators."
Despite speaking in support for the gay rights bill, Walcott's focus as a legislator has never been on gay or civil rights issues and he is not a co-sponsor of the anti-discrimination bill. Walcott sits on the Health and Human Services Committee and the vast majority of bills he has proposed deal with health care or education. This year, among the many pieces of legislation he has submitted is a universal health care bill.
Walcott won his last election easily, earning twice as many votes as Republican Meesa Jones, a student at Central Maine Community College. This result is directly in line with Senator Kerry's 2-1 margin over President Bush in Walcott's district during the same election.
From an editorial in today's Sun Journal:
Walcott made a difficult and public choice to discuss his sexuality. It was courageous. He has weakened the foundation of hate by speaking out. It's hard to predict the consequences Walcott will face for making his private life public. The ramifications could extend beyond his political career and open him to the very discrimination that he was trying to defeat.
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