Skip to main content

Staff Snapshots | Michelle Dunphy

November 22, 2023
  • Hometown: Old Town, Maine
  • Role: Assistant clerk of the Maine House of Representatives
  • Years of legislative service: Nine

“Serving in the Legislature checked a lot of boxes for me, and when the opportunity came up to run for assistant clerk and be on staff, I couldn’t resist.”

Michelle Dunphy Maine

Why did you choose to work at the Legislature?

While active in our local political caucus, there was a need for a legislative candidate. This was never on my radar. I had a full-time job that provided benefits for my family, an 11-year-old daughter, my husband traveled extensively for his job, and about 10 other reasons to say no, so, of course, I said yes—“but only for one term.” Suffice it to say, I served four terms and fell in love with government and procedure. Serving in the Legislature checked a lot of boxes for me, and when the opportunity came up to run for assistant clerk and be on staff, I couldn’t resist. With all of this, I think it is safe to say in many ways the legislative world found me more than I found it, and I couldn’t be happier.

What skill or talent are you most proud of?

I believe everyone has a “superpower” or talent, and I think my superpowers are listening and capturing detail. I love the nuances in communication, and I am naturally curious and interested; listening lends itself well to this.

What’s the best advice you were ever given?

Best advice ever came from a neighbor who babysat my daughter as an infant. Feeling overwhelmed as a new mother and working full time, I asked her how she, as a mother of eight, managed everything so well. Her reply was to tackle things “now,” immediately as they came up, and to always be organized. I follow this advice every day even now with whatever it is I’m doing.

Who or what inspires you?

What inspires me is coming to work every day and seeing the dome of the Capitol as I drive into Augusta and feeling an enormous sense of pride that I have a role in this process. Serving in the Legislature and being assistant clerk of the House are two of the things I am most proud of doing in my life.

What’s one thing you love about your state?

The people of Maine in that they are resilient, strong and incredibly kind. And I’d add there is nothing that I love more than the beauty of Maine in the summer. I love the ocean and the forest and the absolute abundance of beauty.

What are you currently reading/listening to/watching?

I am currently watching “Lessons in Chemistry” about a fictional female scientist, Elizabeth Zott. After being fired from her job as a lab tech, she uses her new job hosting a 1960s TV cooking show titled “Supper at Six” to educate housewives on scientific topics.

I am currently reading “Larry McMurtry: A Life.” I loved “Lonesome Dove” and couldn’t resist finding out more about the author. It’s really interesting!

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Use the email icon above to suggest a legislative staffer for the “Staff Snapshots” series.

  • Contact NCSL

  • For more information on this topic, use this form to reach NCSL staff.