AUGUSTA, Maine — Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall followed through on his pledge to resign from the Legislature on Tuesday evening amid accolades from his colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
Goodall, a Democrat from Richmond who is in his fifth year in the Senate, accepted a presidentially appointed position last month as New England regional director for the Small Business Administration. He tendered his resignation late Tuesday night, effective immediately, as the Legislature was wrapping up its work for the session.
“We have a great responsibility when we reach the top of that staircase on the third floor [of the State House],” said Goodall to the Senate. “We must always work together. I can’t say that enough.”
Members of Republican leadership lauded Goodall for doing just that.
“I respect Senator Goodall,” said Senate Minority Leader Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport. “He has put his heart and soul into serving the people of Sagadahoc County and I’m sure he will excel in this new position.”
Assistant Senate Minority Leader Roger Katz, R-Augusta, agreed.
“Thank you for being an example, not just to your caucus, but to all of us,” said Katz. “You have bridged the difficult line between being a vigorous partisan while at the same time being an honest negotiator.”
Goodall’s Senate District 19 seat will be filled by a special election. Gov. Paul LePage is responsible for setting the date of the election following Goodall’s resignation. Four people have announced their candidacy for the seat so far, three of them Democrats: Will Neilson, a restaurant owner from Arrowsic; Eloise Vitelli, a workforce development expert from Arrowsic; and David Sinclair, an attorney and Bath city councilor. Paula Benoit, a Republican who held the Senate seat from 2006 to 2008 before losing it to Goodall, announced in June that she is also seeking the seat. District 19 includes all of Sagadahoc County and the town of Dresden in Lincoln County.
Assistant Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, who has served alongside Goodall in Senate leadership for the past six months, said Goodall taught him how to keep policy debates from becoming personal.
“He is always willing to listen to a different opinion,” said Jackson. “While I’m a number of years older than the senator, I have learned a lot from him. It’s certainly a big loss we’re going to have tomorrow.”