MACHIAS, Maine — Dr. F. James Whalen, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who has practiced medicine in Machias for more than 30 years, says he will run for the District 29 Maine State Senate seat this year as an independent candidate.
Senate District 29 includes most of Washington County, northern areas of Hancock County and a small area of Penobscot County.
Kevin Raye, a Republican from Perry who now holds the District 29 Senate seat, will step down this year due to term limits. Whalen ran unsuccessfully for Raye’s Senate seat in 2010 as a registered Democrat.
Raised in the Chicago suburb of Waukegan, Whalen, 71, came to Machias at age 36 from New Jersey in 1979. He and his wife Catherine have four adult children, and only one lives in Maine. “If you want your kids to stay in Maine, have them drop out of school,” he said. “If they wind up getting an advanced degree in an area like engineering, they won’t find work here.”
Whalen says he has spent the last 33 years “understanding what’s going on.”
“I’m tired of this whole county being underwater as far as the people of southern Maine are concerned,” he said.
Whalen now practices medicine from an office at 52 Center St. in Machias. His professional training has included surgical and orthopedic residencies in the U.S. and a fellowship at the Institute De La Main in Paris, where he studied hand surgery.