Two men are competing for the Republican nomination to represent Hallowell, Manchester, and West Gardiner in the Maine House of Representatives beginning next year.

One of the candidates, Earle McCormick, 75, of West Gardiner, is partly retired after careers in teaching and the U.S. Air Force. He has previously served 12 years in the state Legislature.

The other candidate, Jeremy Pare, 40, of Manchester, works as a professor in the political science and business management programs at Thomas College in Waterville. He also does business consulting and has been active with a number of local groups, including serving as chairman of the Manchester Board of Selectmen.

McCormick and Pare will both appear on the June 12 primary ballots in Hallowell, Manchester and West Gardiner.

Those three communities comprise House District 84, which is currently represented by Rep. Charlotte Warren, a Hallowell Democrat who will be running for re-election next fall and doesn’t have a primary challenger.

McCormick said that his ability to work with other lawmakers has helped Gov. Paul LePage, also a Republican, to accomplish a number of goals, including lowering taxes, repaying the state’s hospital debt, and building up the state’s rainy day fund.

McCormick also said he’s demonstrated an ability to work across the aisle and noted that the taxation committee, during one of his terms leading it, had one of its highest rates of sending bills out with unanimous approval.

“That’s not bad,” he said. “Taxation committees can be very partisan. … I feel I have a reputation of being able to work with anyone.”

Pare, who has a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University, has spent almost 20 years helping businesses find efficiencies in the fields of health care, boat building and food manufacturing. He said that he’s running for the Legislature partly because he thinks the state can do more to retain or attract young workers.

“There are a lot of businesses in our area,” he said. “But many smaller ones, and even larger ones like Mulligans (the Manchester and Hallowell convenience store) don’t employ a ton of people. What can we do to create jobs that our students want to be in?”

During his decade as a selectman in Manchester, Pare said that he helped develop a tax increment financing district which helped a health care facility continue to operate in the town. The proceeds from that district have allowed the town to create a scholarship program for local children, and he said the state should support such opportunities.

Pare did express concern about $45 million in tax breaks that the Legislature extended to Bath Iron Works earlier this year. While large manufacturers should be supported, he said those funds would go a long way to supporting smaller businesses.

Both McCormick and Pare said that the next Legislature must focus on improving the education system.

While the state needs to control its overall spending, Pare said lawmakers should provide tax relief to some towns and cities by funding schools at 55 percent of the costs of education, a level that was mandated by Maine voters in 2004 but never approved by the Maine legislature.

McCormick, who now serves on the board of the Gardiner-area school district, Maine School Administrative District 11, said that the 55 percent provision was less clear-cut some people realized, given that some school districts are wealthy enough that they don’t need additional state funding. But McCormick said it might be worthwhile for lawmakers to discuss the state’s school funding formula.

More generally, McCormick said that it’s been difficult for Maine citizens to stay apprised of changes in the public school system and that lawmakers must look at how well the system has been educating students. He suggested vocational training as one program that may need to be expanded.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @ceichacker

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