Senator Susan Deschambault: not afraid to take on challenges

A story by Biddeford Cultural & Heritage Center Voices of Biddeford project from 1920s to current

Voices of Biddeford interview with Susan Deschambault on June 15, 2023

Susan is a lifelong Biddeford resident with strong family roots emanating from the wave of French-Canadian immigrants from Quebec. Her family grew up living with Memere and Pepere Larochelle. She was immersed in their business, White Star Laundry, which also functioned as a large extended family. She was exposed to politics from a young age, spending time with her father and his brother/best friend, Mayor Clement Deschambault. Her unconventional career started out at Stevens School for female juvenile offenders and culminated in 40+ years with the Maine Department of Corrections. She is active in Biddeford City Government and also had law enforcement roles which included serving as Biddeford Police Commissioner. A career highlight was being elected to serve as Maine State Senator from 2016 to 2022. She is the proud mother of one son, Dominic Joel Deschambault, who is following the tradition of making contributions to our community.

Interview highlights include: Impact of World War II and the Leopoldville troopship tragedy on her family; working at her father's store, D&H Sundries; very different chapters in her mother's life; growing up in a multi-generational home; taking care of St. Louis High School football uniforms; evolution of a 101 year old family business; dealing with a family "scandal"; humorous recollections from the 1950s and 60s Catholic school experience; impact one book "Our Rejected Children" had on her life's direction; 1st coed class at St. Francis College; challenging roles with the Maine Dept of Corrections and stories from the incarcerated; sportsman's Alliance of Maine Legislative Service Award for Safe Homes Bill; and Franco-American Hall of Fame recipient.

Recorded on June 15, 2023

View a transcript of this interview, more pictures. and additional information.

For more stories from the Voices for Biddeford project, visit Voices of Biddeford.

Senator Susan Deschambault, Chair Joint Standing Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety

The USS Leopoldville Disaster and loss of her mother's first husband

White Star Laundry, family business since 1912

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