WATERVILLE — Mayor Nick Isgro announced Monday that he will not run for governor, saying he considered the weight of a campaign and its impact on his roles as husband and father, along with his obligation to the people of Waterville, in making his decision.

A Republican who was re-elected mayor in November, Isgro made the announcement Monday morning in a scheduled event in the lobby of City Hall, where several of his supporters, news media and others turned out for what many expected would be a confirmation that he planned to run for governor.

“Right now, I will not be entering the race for governor at this time,” Isgro, 36, said. “I strongly urge — I implore — the Republican hopefuls for governor of Maine to listen to the grassroots coalition made up of rural Mainers who share our goals and our dreams. We are watching. For those candidates who choose to step forward and demonstrate both the willingness to listen and the bold leadership required to restore Maine’s future, you will find support from the mayor of Waterville.”

Isgro said later that he was speaking about all candidates, not just Republicans, and his point to the GOP was to urge them to listen to the grassroots and not their consultants.

Isgro’s comments followed a lengthy speech in which he said he surveyed the field of gubernatorial candidates from all the political parties, calling them a field of career lobbyists and insiders — “custodians of decline.”

He said they are “all working an angle, happy to profit from our decline for both themselves and special interests they serve.”


“The consultants and insiders who are advising them apparently learned nothing from the 2016 election cycle, and they now are positioning their clients to audition for the role of CEO of decline.”

Isgro said the candidates say Maine is getting too old and white, the people do not work hard enough and the population needs to be replaced.

“Does any state on the ascendancy speak this way?” he asked. “They are trying to be hired to manage a future where the federal government continues using taxpayer dollars to subsidize a refugee industry to import new workers from around the world, while many Mainers are out of work and wages stagnate. The social costs of this, like health care and education, are placed onto the local property taxpayers while the nonprofit groups in this industry pocket the tax-free spoils.”

Isgro said that, meanwhile, in rural Maine, bridges, roads and schools are crumbling.

“Too many people do not have access to high-speed broadband, and resources are diverted away from our fellow citizens who have long been forgotten by the elites in Augusta.”

Isgro said he is disappointed the candidates for governor are not speaking frankly about issues facing Maine and offering bolder solutions and that residents’ grievances are being ignored by the system.


The education system has been decimated by the big education lobby, the opioid crisis is huge and the working class is being left behind, according to Isgro.

Isgro touted Maine as having timber, lobster and fishing industries, tourism, shoe making and “incredible engineering feats” at Bath Iron Works. He also cited Waterville as an example of a community that is working hard at revitalization.

“We have the pieces needed for an historic comeback. If we so choose, we can have a future where we all have children here, grow old and pass on with the belief that our children will continue building upon what we and our forefathers have built and maintained.”

Julian Payne, a Democrat who serves on the Waterville Board of Education, said he attended Monday’s event because he reached out to Isgro during Isgro’s campaign for mayor and Isgro was the only person who reached out to Payne when he ran for school board.

Payne, who said he was speaking not as a school board member, but as a resident, said he was glad Isgro is not throwing his hat in the race for governor so that he can see revitalization efforts through and continue his work for the city.

“I’m very happy he’s not running because the community supported him to run for mayor, and I’m very glad he will fill out those three years,” Payne said.


Isgro was elected mayor in 2014, inaugurated in January 2015 and served a three-year term before being re-elected last November.

The assistant vice president and controller of Skowhegan Savings Bank, Isgro in November defeated former Councilor Erik Thomas, a Democrat, and political newcomer John Levesque, an independent. Isgro received 1,737 votes to Thomas’ 1,496 and Levesque’s 258.

Had he chosen to run for governor, he would have followed in the footsteps of Gov. Paul LePage, who was a Republican city councilor and mayor in Waterville before running for governor.

A 2000 graduate of Messalonskee High School in Oakland, Isgro attended the University of Maine at Farmington, where he studied history. He also attended Thomas College in Waterville, where he studied accounting.

He has served as a commissioner for the Maine Commission for Community Service; is a board member and financial adviser at St. Theresa’s Church, in Oakland; and is a past board member and treasurer of the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers.

Amy Calder — 861-9247


Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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