The state’s assistant Senate majority leader is facing a challenge in the upcoming election from a Hampden town councilor in Senate District 10.

State Sen. Andre Cushing, R-Newport, is running for a third term as a state senator in the Nov. 8 election and is being challenged by Dennis Marble, I-Hampden, the former executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter and a first-term Hampden town councilor.

Cushing, 57, served two terms in the Maine House before being elected to the Senate in 2012. The district includes Carmel, Corinna, Corinth, Dixmont, Etna, Exeter, Glenburn, Hampden, Hudson, Kenduskeag, Levant, Newburgh, Newport, Plymouth and Stetson.

Marble, 67, said a life-long interest in politics prompted him to seek election to the Hampden town council in 2014. His platform — a message of “I think I can help calm things down” — is one he said would also resonate with voters in the current election cycle. He is also a Maine Clean Elections Act candidate.

During his four terms in the Maine legislature, Cushing was successful in sponsoring a bill to exempt aircraft and aircraft parts from Maine’s sales tax, a move that he said helped grow business and add jobs. He also introduced reforms to the state’s workers compensation benefits, though they were met with opposition from the Maine AFL-CIO.

Recently, he sponsored L.D.1572, also known as Harvey’s Law, which was prompted by the case of Rockland resident Harvey Lembo to ensure the right of residents in public housing to possess firearms.

Marble, meanwhile, said he has collaborated with local hospitals, police, social services and communities to address homelessness and related issues while serving as the executive director of the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter for 20 years.

When it comes to Maine’s referendum questions, Cushing said he is opposed to the first five questions, including proposals to legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage and institute universal background checks for gun owners. He supports the sixth question for a transportation bond.

Marble, in contrast, said he opposes legalizing marijuana but supports raising the minimum wage and instituting universal background checks, though he expressed reservations about the latter two.

“I’m really struggling with Question 3. I have friends who are sportsmen, I have friends in law enforcement and friends who run domestic violence programs, and most of them are all over the map,” said Marble, who said that ultimately the endorsement by the Maine Chiefs of Police Association of Question 3 pushed him to also support it.

Cushing said he opposes marijuana legalization without regulatory standards in place first and said a minimum wage increase would reduce the opportunity for unskilled workers and young people to start out in the workforce.

He has also been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump in the presidential race, while Marble said he isn’t sure who he will vote for.

“Most of us live in the middle,” Marble said. “I think we need things to settle down and we need to focus on policies. There used to be a lot more respect in politics, and we need to get back to that.”

When it comes to other issues facing Senate District 10, Marble said he supports a comprehensive strategy to address the state’s opioid crisis and a collaborative focus on economic development.

“We need a longer term economic development plan for the state,” Marble said. “We need to look ahead, to connect education and training with Department of Labor initiatives and workforce development along with recruitment of businesses to the state.”

Cushing said his focus on the economy would include a focus on rural agriculture in the wake of the decline of manufacturing. “I don’t believe government can create jobs in the private sector. Government removes impediments so that private sector companies can come and create the jobs,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368

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Twitter: @rachel_ohm