SKOWHEGAN — State Rep. Jeff McCabe, D-Skowhegan, launched his campaign Monday for the state Senate seat currently held by Rodney Whittemore, a Republican from Skowhegan.

McCabe, the term-limited House majority leader, also is leaving his job as executive director of Lake George Regional Park to become a community outreach coordinator in Maine for the nonprofit Northern Forest Canoe Trail of Waitsfield, Vermont.

McCabe was elected to a fourth term in the House in 2014, defeating political newcomer Timothy Amadon, a Republican from Skowhegan.

The seat in House District 107 covers Skowhegan and the Somerset County Jail in East Madison. The term is for two years.

Whittemore, 69, is in his sixth year in the state Senate, serving the second half of his third term in office in Senate District 3. He said he welcomes the challenge of McCabe’s candidacy.

“I think it’s great,” Whittemore said Monday. “Jeff’s a fine guy. We just come from two different ideologies. It will be a real interesting race and I look forward to it.”

Party primaries are in June with the general election in November.

McCabe, a registered Maine Guide, is a 2000 graduate of Unity College, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental education. Lake George is a 320-acre park in Skowhegan and Canaan.

As outreach coordinator for the trail group, McCabe will coordinate local events, trips and volunteers, while working with businesses, municipalities and partners that support recreational tourism. He will participate in state-based activities promoting outdoor recreation in the Northern Forest Region. The Maine-based coordinator position is a 20-hour per week position, starting at $41,000-45,000 full-time equivalent, depending on experience.

McCabe was in Augusta Monday and could not be reached for comment.

McCabe’s professional career has focused on conservation, the environment and Maine’s natural resources-based economy. McCabe is also the former executive director of the Somerset County Soil and Water Conservation District. His community involvement has included serving on the Western Mountains Alliance, the Kennebec Valley Tourism Council and the Somerset Woods Trustees. He has been endorsed by the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, the National Rifle Association and Maine Conservation Voters.

“As the longest water trail in the nation, these new positions will help us run existing events and programs in our bookend states, as well as identify new opportunities to engage paddlers,” Karrie Thomas, executive director for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, said on the group’s website.

The Northern Forest Canoe Trail links waterways in New York, Vermont, Québec, New Hampshire and Maine.

The organization offers maps, books and Web-based tools to help participants connect to the 740-mile paddling route that traces history from early Native Americans through European settlers.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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