Committee advances governor's final cabinet nominee

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A legislative committee is backing the Maine governor's pick to lead the state's department that oversees agriculture.

The Legislature's Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry on Thursday unanimously voted to advance Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' nomination of Amanda Beal, who's served as president of the Maine Farmland Trust since 2016.

Beal says she would partner with farmers to steward public lands and "lead in marketing and supporting our commodities." She also pledged to responsibly manage the state's forests. She grew up on a dairy farm in Litchfield.

Beal would be the first woman to head the department. She would take over for Walter Whitcomb.

Maine lawmakers have confirmed 14 of Mills' 15 cabinet nominees so far. The Senate could vote on Beal's confirmation as early as Tuesday.