ELLSWORTH — District Attorney Matthew Foster announced Monday that he will seek a second term as district attorney for District 7, representing Hancock and Washington counties.
Foster is running as a Republican. He was elected in November 2014, succeeding Democrat Carletta Bassano, who chose not to seek a second term. Foster took office Jan. 1, 2015.
“I am seeking re-election because I simply love my job,” Foster said. “I am honored to serve the people of Hancock and Washington counties. I am privileged to help see that justice is done. I enjoy the people I work with and I am proud of the accomplishments my team has made.”
Foster and his team have had a brisk three-plus years.
“We worked through a massive backlog of over 200 cases that were left in limbo when I took office and we have cut review time to a matter of days or weeks for most cases,” Foster said.
The prosecutor’s office supports Adult Drug Treatment Court in both counties. Foster said he is the only district attorney serving on a steering committee to draft consistent procedures and policies for all the adult drug courts in Maine.
Foster said he has been advocating for the Office of the Maine Attorney General to handle drug trafficking cases in Washington County, as the attorney general’s office does in Hancock County and other parts of the state.
“In order that drug trafficking prosecutions get the priority and attention they deserve in Washington County, I personally handle all the Maine Drug Enforcement cases in Machias and Calais,” Foster said.
Another point of pride for the district attorney is his office’s prosecution rate, which Foster said has steadily improved since 2015.
That year, the office had a conviction rate of 60 percent of cases that went to trial. In 2016, the conviction rate improved to 67 percent.
“In 2017, we again improved to a 71 percent conviction rate at trial,” Foster said. Those numbers are for Hancock County.
“There have been very few trials in Washington County based on a very limited supply of judge time, so I have not run numbers for Washington County,” Foster said.
Foster successfully wrote a grant to hire a special prosecutor to handle all the impaired driving cases in his district. He said he hasn’t been able to hire that prosecutor because of a “standoff between the attorney general and the Governor.”
Foster attended several advanced trainings, including the National Computer Forensics Institute on a full scholarship in Hoover, Ala.
The prosecutor said he has built a “good rapport” with police officers across District 7.
“Although we sometimes don’t see eye to eye on every issue, there is a growing mutual respect and willingness on both sides to learn new things and entertain new ideas so that we can work together effectively to see that justice is done,” Foster said. “It is a 24/7 job and many nights I have been on the road at the scene of a crash or on the phone with an officer reviewing a warrant into the wee hours but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I am very grateful for the chance to serve my community, to help my wife and daughter and my neighbors safe and to dedicate my time to helping protect the little corner of the great state of Maine I call home.”
“I would very much like to continue to serve,” Foster said.