BREWER — Self-described outspoken conservative state Rep. Lawrence Lockman (R-Bradley) on Tuesday announced his candidacy for Maine Senate District 8, which includes parts of Penobscot and Hancock counties, in 2020.
Lockman made his announcement at a rally at Penobscot Cleaning Service in Brewer, which featured an appearance and endorsement from former Governor Paul R. LePage as well as several current and former state lawmakers from the area.
“This campaign is about giving a voice to the forgotten Mainers who have been shoved aside and left behind by the political elites at the State House,” Lockman said.
“I am running for the folks who have lived, worked, and paid taxes here all their lives — people who work hard and play by the rules — not just in the Penobscot Valley, but all across Maine.”
Lockman said the best example of how these “forgotten” Mainers have been left behind is the forest products industry.
Twenty-five years ago, he said, there were 8,000 mill jobs between Bucksport and Millinocket, good-paying jobs with excellent benefits. Lockman held one of those jobs for 18 years.
Lockman said those 8,000 mill jobs supported at least three times as many jobs outside the mills: loggers, truckers, diesel mechanics, parts suppliers, equipment dealers and mom-and-pop grocers and restaurants.
The loss of those jobs has devastated families and communities across the region, Lockman said.
“We lost those jobs not because of some unstoppable global economic force, but by the intentional efforts of out-of-touch politicians who signed bad trade deals and foolishly pushed policies that made our electricity bills, taxes and insurance rates skyrocket,” Lockman said.
“For too long, even well-intentioned politicians have gone along to get along. I’m running because somebody in Augusta needs to say what everybody Downeast is thinking.”
Treatment of the state’s elderly residents is another issue of concern for Lockman.
“During the past six months at the State House, I have been appalled by the callous disregard the political elites have shown toward Maine’s most vulnerable elderly and disabled citizens,” he said. “Governor Mills and Democrat majorities blew the doors off state spending with an unsustainable 11 percent increase, but couldn’t find money enough to keep Maine’s nursing homes solvent.
“As a state senator, I will be a voice for all these forgotten Mainers who have been left behind by the political class and the lobbyists at the Statehouse.”