MILO, Maine — With two seasoned lawmakers already having filed their paperwork to seek the Republican nomination for Senate District 4, voters now have a third choice.
Joseph Legere of Milo, a long-distance truck driver, will also run in next year’s Republican primary to try and unseat incumbent Doug Thomas of Ripley.
Thomas represents District 27, which will become District 4 in 2014 after legislators redrew legislative district maps this spring.
Thomas is running for reelection and State Rep. Paul Davis of Sangerville has also filed his intentions to run in the sprawling district from the Aroostook County border to Detroit in Somerset County and from LaGrange to Athens.
So far, no Democratic candidate has announced their intentions to seek the office.
Legere, 32, is making his first run for public office and said that he will seek funding under the Maine Clean Elections Act.
“I’ve never been rich. In fact, I’ve never been well-off,” said Legere. “But I think it’s ridiculous for people to spend $50,000 to run for an office that pays $13,000 for a two-year term.”
The Milo Republican said that one reason he’s running is because many of the current lawmakers “seem to forget who they work for. We’ve got people in Washington, D.C. who promise you everything and leave you in debt. Then we’ve got people in Augusta who think the best way to solve problems is to raise taxes. I want to help change that philosophy.”
Legere is a member of the Milo Budget Committee and said that he’s looking for ways the municipality can save money.
“I know what it’s like in our own household to stretch a dollar,” he said. “Thankfully, my wife [Star] is a genius at budgeting. That’s why she’s my campaign treasurer.” The couple have three children.
Although he supports many of Gov. Paul LePage’s programs, Legere said that if the governor “was a little more articulate and less abrasive, I think people would be more receptive to his ideas. But you have to remember how he started. He was literally living on the streets when he was a kid.”
Legere stressed that although he’s running as a Republican, he wouldn’t necessarily vote the party line.
“You need to put those letters [of party affiliation] next to your name aside and start working for the good of the people you represent,” he said.
The economy will probably be the major campaign issue in 2014, Legere said, but added that “government does not create jobs. They can only create the environment for good jobs. We have to give businesses good reasons to locate here.”
He also said that people’s attitude toward government is souring.
“One gentleman in town told me last week that you have to lie to be a good politician,” Legere noted. “That’s pretty sad. I raise my children not to lie. So we certainly should make politicians as accountable as our own kids.”
Legere and his family have lived in Milo for seven years. He’s an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting and fishing, and is also a firefighter with the Sebec Volunteer Fire Department.
More information about his campaign is on the Joseph Legere for Senate Facebook page.
An earlier version of this story requires clarification. Although Doug Thomas currently represents Senate District 27, that will become District 4 in 2014 after legislators redrew legislative district maps this spring.