SKOWHEGAN — An incumbent state senator is facing a challenge for the Senate District 3 seat from the outgoing House majority leader.

State Sen. Rodney Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, is challenged in the Nov. 8 election by state Rep. Jeffrey McCabe, D-Skowhegan.

Whittemore, 69, is in his sixth year in the state Senate, while McCabe is finishing his eighth year in the Maine House of Representatives, where he is also majority leader. Both candidates have high-profile name recognition in the senate district that includes Anson, Bingham, Canaan, Embden, Madison, Mercer, Norridgewock, Pittsfield and Skowhegan as well as 19 other communities.

Whittemore, the owner of Whittemore and Sons outdoor power equipment store in Skowhegan, said job creation and the state and local economy top his list of concerns as Mainers head to the polls next month.

“When the economy is good, life is good,” Whittemore said. “Being a small business man, a family man and a taxpayer, I, as most of us, see the big issue with the economy is making our state more attractive to businesses.”

McCabe, a registered Maine Guide and 2000 graduate of Unity College, is the former executive director of Lake George Regional Park and now a community outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

He said he helped lead the effort to protect jobs at the New Balance shoe factory by working to oppose the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement and restarted the Pulp and Paper Caucus addressing the challenges faced by Maine’s forest products industry.

“I think for the Legislature as a whole the biggest things for us right now are jobs, the economy and property taxes,” McCabe said. “I’ve worked on budgets over the last four years, and I am someone who has pushed for property tax relief, and I’m always willing to state where I am on an issue very publicly.”

Whittemore said manufacturing, the service industry and tourism are important parts of the economy that need support in Augusta. The cost of doing business — energy, electricity and heat — is a major factor in making Maine more attractive. Maine is above the national average in that respect, he said.

Whittemore said overregulation of businesses and duplication of regulations in the state have been harmful to business, small businesses, especially.

“It needs to be reformed, and we’re doing that. It’s gotten much better,” he said.

He said the state needs to examine the continuing drug epidemic at pharmacies, doctors’ offices and on the street.

As a state senator McCabe said he would work to establish rural broadband internet services to all parts of Somerset County. He said inadequate internet service increasingly affects people who are now working out of their homes and businesses in agriculture or manufacturing and need fast access to the World Wide Web.

For McCabe, important issues also include help for veterans getting benefits and housing along with safe and modern living arrangements and being able to stay in their homes, easy access to health care and addressing food insecurity problems.

McCabe said he wants to continue working in Augusta because he has a proven leadership record.

“I’ve had eight successful years in the House,” he said. “I’ve been a strong voice for a rural county. Working across the aisle is the only way we’re going to get things done.”

Whittemore said he made a promise to the Maine Republican Party to stay active in government for eight years, so he has two years left.

“It was perceived that I have a lot to offer because I was a business man,” he said. “Now that I’ve been in the Legislature for six years, I’ve gained some institutional knowledge. Rodney Whittemore is not a career politician. Rodney Whittemore is a patriot.”

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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