Two Republicans are seeking their party’s nomination for the House District 40 seat, representing the towns of Bucksport and Orrington.
Former state legislator Richard Campbell of Orrington is challenging incumbent Kimberly Rosen of Bucksport.
Rosen, 51, is completing her third term in the House. A native of Aroostook County, she is a graduate of D’Lor Beauty School in Brewer and also attended the University of Maine in business management. She managed the beauty salon at J.C. Penney before opening her own salon in Bucksport. With her husband, Richard, she also owns and operates the family department store in Bucksport.
Rosen also serves as vice chairwoman of Women in Government, a nonprofit, bipartisan organization of all women state legislators from across the country, which provides educational resources, expert forums, networking and leadership opportunities.
Jobs and transportation will be key issues for the next Legislature, according to Rosen. She said the state will need to attract investments to create new jobs and will need to make access to job training easier for workers who want to improve their skills while still working.
Rosen also wants to work to make retirement and health care benefits portable from job to job, both in the private and public sectors, in order to give workers more flexibility.
Rosen has served on the Legislature’s Transportation Committee for four years and said she hopes to continue her focus on ways to improve the efficiency of the department and to find ways to stretch and save tax dollars for transportation needs.
“It’s all coming together,” she said. “And I think we’ll be able to get the funding to do the key pieces we need to do.”
She pointed to the $8 million project that will complete road improvements on Route 15, the main artery from Bangor and Brewer to Orrington and Bucksport.
Campbell, 60, served in the Legislature from 1992 to 2000, including two terms as assistant minority leader and on the Legislative Council. He ran for Congress in 2000 against then-U.S. Rep. John Baldacci. He owns and operates a statewide energy-efficient, “green design-build” construction company with his son Chad.
Jobs, high energy costs and affordable health care are issues that will face legislators during the next session, Campbell said. But he said transportation issues are key for the district. Development of the transportation infrastructure, he said, could be an economic tool for the two towns and for the region.
Bucksport has potential as a deep-water port to replace Sears Island, which, he said, will not be developed as a port due to the efforts of environmentalists to protect the island. But Bucksport needs the highway infrastructure to connect it with the rest of Maine. He noted that projects to improve Route 15, the link to Bangor, and Route 46, the link to the planned extension of Interstate 395 and to an east-west highway, have been postponed. Those projects need to be completed in order to help realize that potential, he said.
Completing improvements to Route 15 also will provide better highway access to the former chemical plant in Orrington, which, when it is cleaned up, also has economic development potential, Campbell said.
“The river, the road, the rails and shipping are central to creating an economic development plan for these two towns,” he said. “It’s a huge opportunity and a huge challenge.”
The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Mark LeBlanc of Orrington in the November election.