Moose Ridge Associates
Known by the company we keep.
Betsy is the founder and Principal of Moose Ridge Associates, one of Maine's leading progressive lobbying firms since 1990, specializing in governmental affairs, lobbying and grassroots advocacy. A legislative advocate at the State House for thirty years, Sweet has developed and implemented strategy and legislation for many non-profit social service and environmental clients. She can list hundreds of pieces of successful legislation to her credit. She is also known around the statehouse as one of the most effective advocates and experts on the state budget and funding services for Maine people who need them. Additional benchmarks include founder of the Dirigo Alliance, founding member of the Maine Council on Economic Priorities, founder of the Women's Legislative Agenda Coalition, and "Maine Can Do Better". She was the former Director of the Maine Women's Lobby and the Maine Commission for Women. Betsy managed a successful Congressional campaign in 1990 and has assisted in numerous legislative races and electoral campaigns. She worked as a lobbyist in Washington for national women's organization from 1978 through 1983. Off session, Sweet serves as a hate crime and sexual harassment prevention trainer, facilitator and organizational development consultant. Recently, she got her Master's Degree in Spiritual Psychology and Energy Healing at the University of Santa Monica and has a healing practice and consulting business. She is the mother of 3 spectacular teenage daughters whom she lives with in Hallowell, Maine.
Ben has 20 years experience in and around Maine politics and state government. He is a former state legislator, and served as Chairman and CEO of the Maine Democratic Party in 2006 and 2007. Most recently, he directed Engage Maine, a permanent coalition of public policy and civic engagement organizations. Elected four times as a state representative from Portland, Ben served on the Insurance and Financial Services (1999-2002), Health and Human Services (2001-2002), and Appropriations and Financial Affairs (2003-2006) Committees. He wrote laws as diverse as requiring health insurers to cover mental health services and Maine’s domestic partner registry. He was a leader in passing Maine’s Dirigo Health Program and Maine’s state and local government spending limit law (LD1). At Engage Maine, Ben coordinated activities of three dozen organizations whose policy interests ranged from health care to women’s equality, social services, civil rights, organized labor, and the environment. He served on the executive committee of the successful 2009 ballot campaign to defeat the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) and he co-chaired the successful 2011 ballot campaign to restore Election Day voter registration. Starting in 2008, he also publicly led coalition efforts to restore state budget cuts most damaging to Maine’s vulnerable populations under the banner of Maine Can Do Better, a coalition of 150 community organizations. Since 2009, Ben has been active in the effort to establish marriage equality in Maine, most recently as a member of the executive committee of Mainers United for Marriage, the ballot campaign that successfully passed the new law requiring the state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples while protecting religious freedom.
Laura H. Harper joined Moose Ridge Associates as Senior Associate in January of 2013. Previously she served over six years as Director of Public Policy with the Maine Women's Lobby and the Maine Women's Policy Center. There she directed legislative campaigns to pass paid sick days for Maine workers, marriage for same-sex couples, comprehensive chemical policy reform, expansions to family medical leave, and reproductive privacy protections. Laura previously worked in the Maine Senate Democratic Office as a legislative aide and in the Office of the Secretary of the Senate. This work experience gives her a deep understanding of parliamentary procedure and the legislative process.
Outside of her work at the Maine Legislature, Laura served on the executive committee of the 2012 campaign to win marriage for same-sex couples, and the steering committee for the successful 2005 Maine Won’t Discriminate campaign to confirm protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation. She has also managed successful state senate campaigns and served as Grassroots Organizer for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
In Hallowell, where she lives with her partner, Lauren Mier, Laura is an active community member. She has served as a school board director and member of Hallowell's recycling committee. She is a recipient of the Timson Community Service Award, and can be seen every year in the Old Hallowell Day parade with her neighbors from NoHa.
Laura is a 2002 graduate of Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's Studies.