FRANKLIN — Lifelong Franklin resident Doug Bunker has announced that he is a candidate for the Maine House of Representatives in District 137, which includes parts of Hancock, Penobscot and Washington counties. Bunker is a Democrat seeking to represent Amherst, Aurora, Beddington, Bradford, Bradley, Deblois, Eastbrook, Edinburg, Franklin, Great Pond, Greenbush, Lagrange, Northfield, Passadumkeag and Wesley, plus the unorganized territories of East Hancock (part), North Washington (part), Northwest Hancock and Grand Falls, Greenfield and Summit townships.
Bunker has deep roots in the community. He graduated from Sumner Memorial High School and attended the University of Maine. He and his wife, Gail, have raised two children in this community and have four grandchildren nearby.
“Like many people in this area, my work experience started as a child raking blueberries to earn money for school clothes and dragging Christmas trees and piling pulp wood for my father on weekends,” Bunker said of his background. “My first real job was in the local blueberry plant, and I spent most of my young adulthood as a self-employed clam digger. It was hard work but not without its rewards.
“In 1987, I began working in the pulp mill at what was then the Champion Paper Company mill in Bucksport. I retired in 2012 when one of the four paper machines was shut down permanently.”
While employed at the Bucksport mill, Bunker served on the National Steering Committee for the Pulp and Paper Workers Resource Council, a nonprofit advocacy group that worked at both the state and federal levels on issues that affected the jobs of the millworkers. Bunker says this experience fostered his commitment to a collaborative approach to effective dialogue.
“Whether meeting with United States senators in Washington, D.C., or talking to Maine’s governor in Augusta, the lesson learned was one where respectful interaction is the best way to produce lasting, positive outcomes,” Bunker said. “As the employment landscape in Maine changes, we must be proactive in our efforts to lessen the damage being done to our displaced families and friends. We must also acknowledge the reality that things will never again be ‘as they were before.’ In the Maine House of Representatives, I want to focus on the creation of a more diverse job market.”
“We need to foster research and development to take advantage of our natural resources in the markets of tomorrow,” Bunker continued. “We must prepare our young people for an increasingly technological culture. A renewed emphasis on science education and technical skills is essential.
“I share other concerns with my neighbors across our rural communities. Education, preserving the quality of our environment, cost and access to health care, road maintenance, education, taxes and retirement security are all vital concerns that I want to work on.”