WATERVILLE — Maine Senate Majority Leader Jon Courtney said he’s running for the 1st Congressional District seat because of advice his father Terry Courtney gave him years ago.
Courtney said his father, pastor at Mount Zion Chapel in Wells, told him to look beyond immediate circumstances and have vision.
At Post Office Square on Thursday, Courtney, a Republican from Springvale, said while there’s never a good time or never enough money to run for election, he recognizes it’s time he stepped forward.
The last two years in Augusta, Courtney said, Democrats and Republicans have worked together to pass beneficial bipartisan legislation.
Building relationships is necessary to “solve problems that are bigger than any single one us,” he said.
“If we’re going to change something, we have to get the buy-in from more than 51 percent of the people,” Courtney said.
He said he’ll take his willingness and ability to work across the aisle to Washington, D.C.
Courtney, who represents District 3, said he visited Waterville as part of a five-stop tour to welcome the city to the 1st District and remind people that they have a choice and don’t have to have Chellie Pingree as their congresswoman.
Patrick Calder of Portland, first engineer on cruise ship Pride of America, also is running in the June 12 Republican primary.
Pingree is married to S. Donald Sussman, a financier and frequent Democratic donor who is a majority share owner of MaineToday Media, which owns the Morning Sentinel, the Kennebec Journal in Augusta, the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram and other media outlets in Maine.
Courtney, who owns Courtney Cleaners, said he knows the challenges of running a small business, paying for health care, and filling the gas tank.
He also said he knows that real solutions to problems come from Main Street and not Washington.
The last two years, Courtney said, politicians in Augusta have achieved a number of successes for Mainers, including welfare reform and cleaning up misuse of funds at the Maine Turnpike Authority.
Maine is on the way to recovery, Courtney said.
In Washington, though, Courtney said “there is no hope and the change has been for the worse.”
He cited the nation’s $15 trillion debt which represents a $5,000 bill for every man, woman and child in the country.
“I will not pass that on to my grandchildren,” he said.
State Sen. Tom Martin, R-Benton, Rep. Susan Morissette, R-Winslow, and a several other supporters flanked Courtney during his brief address.
Lauren LePage, daughter of Gov. Paul LePage and assistant to the governor’s chief of staff, introduced Courtney.
She said she met Courtney when her father was campaigning for governor.
“He’s a dedicated servant to the Maine people,” said Lauren LePage, adding that he’ll work “to restore the American dream.”
As a young person, LePage said she cares about jobs, the economy and the national debt, and that Courtney is the right person to work on those matters.
Courtney has a wife, Nancy, and is father to three grown children and three grown stepchildren.
Beth Staples — 861-9252
NUGGET: District 1 candidates
Chellie Pingree, D-North Haven, 1st District congresswoman
Patrick Calder, R-Portland, first engineer on cruise ship Pride of America
Jon Courtney, R-Springvale, state Senate majority leader, owner of Courtney Cleaners
Waterville and Winslow have switched from the 2nd Congressional District to the 1st District under a plan approved last year to balance the population of Maine’s two congressional districts.
In addition, 11 communities in central Maine have switched from the 1st Congressional District to the 2nd District: Albion, Belgrade, Gardiner, Monmouth, Mount Vernon, Randolph, Rome, Sidney, Unity Township, Vienna and West Gardiner.
Affected communities will see the district changes at the upcoming primary and general election ballot votes, and then will be represented by their new members of Congress in January.