|Laura A. Fortman|
Fortman at U.S. Department of Labor signing ceremony in 2014
1954 (age 61–62)|
Brooklyn, New York
B.A. history, University of New Hampshire|
M.A. leadership, Northeastern University
|Occupation||Deputy administrator, Wage and Hour Division, United States Department of Labor|
Executive director, Maine Women's Lobby, 1993–2003|
Commissioner, Maine Department of Labor, 2003–2011
|Awards||Maine Women's Hall of Fame, 2007|
Laura A. Fortman (born 1954) is an American government employee, non-profit executive, and women's rights activist. Since 2013 she has served as deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the United States Department of Labor in Washington, D.C. Previously she was commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor, and executive director of the Frances Perkins Center, the Maine Women's Lobby, and the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center of Augusta. She was inducted into the Maine Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.
Early life and education
Fortman was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1954. In 1980, while living in Charleston, South Carolina, Fortman was attacked in her home by a rapist. This experience motivated her to adopt the cause of women's rights.
Fortman earned her bachelor's degree in history at the University of New Hampshire. She completed a certification course in Senior Executives in State and Local Government at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She earned her master's degree in leadership at Northeastern University.
From 1982 to 1985 Fortman served as program coordinator for the Women’s Resource Center in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. In the mid-1980s she relocated to Maine and in September 1987 assumed the executive directorship of the Sexual Assault Crisis and Support Center in Augusta, where she advocated on behalf of women and child victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. She remained in this post until December 1992.
From 1993 to 2003 she was the executive director and chief legislative lobbyist for the Maine Women's Lobby and its sister organization, the Maine Women's Policy Center, where she lobbied for bills concerning "health care, reproductive rights, economic security, discrimination, and education" for women. She successfully lobbied for the passage of the Maine Reproductive Privacy Act, the Employment Leave for Victims of Violence Act, and the implementation of the Maine Equal Pay Law. She was also a member of statewide committees such as the Commission to Study the Unemployment Compensation System, the Commission to Study the Costs and Benefits of Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Maine Health Care Performance Council.
Governor John Baldacci nominated Fortman to be the next commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor in April 2003. Fortman assumed responsibility for 490 department employees and also chaired the Governor's Workforce Cabinet. During her tenure until the end of 2010, the gender pay gap was decreased and the state created more and nontraditional employment services for women. Afterward she served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maine at Augusta.
From October 2011 to May 2013 Fortman was the executive director of the Frances Perkins Center in Damariscotta. In June 2013 she was named deputy administrator of the Wage and Hour Division at the United States Department of Labor.
Awards and honors
In 2001 Fortman was the recipient of the Maryann Hartman Award from the University of Maine. In 2010 she received the Frances Perkins award from the Lincoln County Democrats. In 2012 she received the Friend of USM Women & Gender Studies Award from the University of Southern Maine. She has also received awards from the Maine Women's Fund, the Maine Lesbian and Gay Political Alliance, and the Maine People's Alliance, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Maine at Augusta.
She was inducted into the Maine Women's Hall of Fame in 2007.
Fortman and her husband reside in Nobleboro.
- Higgins, A.J. (23 October 2001). "Winning Women: Laura Fortman". Bangor Daily News. pp. C1–C2.
- "Meet Maine's Laura Fortman" (PDF). Prevailing Times. National Alliance for Fair Contracting: 14. Fall 2009.
- Bayly, Julia (12 October 2011). "Frances Perkins Center names new executive director". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Maine Women's Hall of Fame – Honorees: Laura Fortman". University of Maine at Augusta. 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Maine Women's Hall of Fame Celebration Honors Longtime Lobby Leader, Laura Fortman" (PDF). The Maine Women's Advocate. Maine Women's Lobby: 4. Winter 2007. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- Adams, Glenn (17 April 2003). "Women's lobbyist tapped to head Labor". Bangor Daily News. p. B1.
- "Adjunct Faculty". University of Maine at Augusta. 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division – Laura A. Fortman". United States Department of Labor. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- Miller, Kevin (24 April 2010). "Lincoln County Democrats honor labor commissioner". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Laura Fortman Receives USM Women & Gender Studies Award (press release)". University of Southern Maine. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 7 July 2016.
- "Laura Fortman interview" (video) Maine Women’s Channel
- "Responding to the Immediate Needs of Maine Workers, Businesses and Communities Adversely Impacted by Base Closings, 2005" Action Plan for Governor John E. Baldacci presented by Laura A. Fortman, Commissioner, Maine Department of Labor
- "Testimony of Laura A. Fortman Commissioner, Maine Department of Labor before the Senate Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety April 17, 2007 Hearing "Too Much, Too Long?: Domestic Violence in the Workplace"