HAMPDEN, Maine — Jason Levesque, the Auburn entrepreneur who hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud in November, has been given a nickname: Levesque 39.
“I don’t know if that’s gonna work,” Levesque said of the nickname he was given by his wife, Tracey. “But that’s the magic number,” the candidate for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District said Monday evening during a fundraiser and reception at the home of Bob and Tammy Brown.
“That’s the number of seats we need to turn over in the U.S. House so we can take the gavel from [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi and give it to another speaker of the House that’s going to respect our civil liberties and individual freedoms,” Levesque said. “Folks, I would be honored to be No. 39.”
Monday’s gathering drew at least 50 movers and shakers from Maine’s Republican political circles, among them U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, who brought a $2,000 check for Levesque’s campaign war chest, her second contribution so far.
As it stands, figures filed with the Federal Election Commission show that from the beginning of this campaign cycle through June 30, four-term incumbent Michaud reported $775,000 raised to Levesque’s $217,000.
“It has become a cliche to say that this election is the most important of our lifetimes, but I’ll tell you, it’s true in this case,” Collins said. “The stakes are so high, both in Augusta and in Washington, and we’re so fortunate to have a candidate like Jason Levesque who is willing to step forward.
“The issues are huge,” she said. “Did you know that the president’s budget would result in a doubling of the national debt in just five years? In a tripling of the national debt in 10 years?
“The spending is unsustainable and we’re going to need to have people like [Levesque] who are willing to work together to tackle these issues and to be a brake on the excesses of this administration,” Collins said.
During Monday’s event, Levesque said since he began his campaign, he has been hearing a consistent message from Mainers:
“People in Maine are tired of not being listened to by their representatives in the U.S. House. They want to be heard — and I agree with this — they believe they have a lot of potential solutions to our economic problems,” he said.
“Since they are the ones on the ground making economic activity happen, they should be part of the decision-making process,” he said.
When he has asked what solutions they have, the answers have been consistent:
“People I talk with — from Fryeburg to Madawaska, from Rumford to Eastport — they say they can take care of their communities, they can take care of their families, they can create their own businesses and they can do it if government gets out of their way and out of their wallets,” he said.
In a brief speech during the reception, Levesque laid out what he wants to do. “When I go to Washington, I’m going to apply for regulatory and legislative consistency so our businesses know they can invest with confidence; so they know that in five years, the laws aren’t going to change on them; so they know in five years that the tax cuts aren’t going to expire because we have great senators in office that are gonna fight to maintain low taxes. I’m going to make sure that dream becomes a reality for them,” he said.