State Sen. Brownie Carson, D-Harpswell. Kennebec Journal photo by Joe Phelan

HARPSWELL — After serving two terms as a state senator, Sen. Everett “Brownie” Carson, D-Harpswell, announced he will not run for re-election at the end of his term next year.

The Harpswell resident and climate advocate announced his decision in a column published in The Times Record.

Carson was on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment. In his column, he said he believes there are many community leaders ready to take his place.

“Our state is in capable hands, and I have every confidence that voters will find the right person to represent this district,” said Carson.

The Vietnam War veteran said he decided to run for Senate when the LePage administration took office in January 2011, the same month he retired from the Natural Resources Council of Maine, where he served as executive director for 27 years. He was a longtime critic of LePage’s policies.

During the LePage administration, Carson championed a bill that required the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to hire at least 48 public health nurses. The Bowdoin alum fought for the bill, despite the governor’s veto, and it was passed in 2017.

“Brownie just kept working on it even though LePage vetoed it,” said Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. “He had to convince Republican legislatures to come aboard on it even though LePage was against it.”

Public health nurses do front-line work in communities, such as responding to infectious disease outbreaks, helping at-risk mothers and their newborn babies, and performing a number of illness prevention duties.

When the LePage administration neglected to hire more nurses, Carson filed a lawsuit in 2018.

Carson was later appointed to the Maine Climate Council in August, which is charged with reducing greenhouse gas pollution by 80 percent and achieving 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

Jackson, who has worked with Carson for about 10 years, said he admires Carson for his intelligence, passion, and integrity.

“Brownie is a fierce advocate for things he believes in,” said Jackson. “Sometimes we were on different sides of issues, but he’s always fighting for what he believes is right.”

While Carson didn’t say what his plans for the future are, in his column he said he’s optimistic for Maine’s future because of legislative turnover.

“Instead of going backward, we are moving forward as a state,” said Carson. “While differences in opinion remain and the partisan divide is stoked at times by voices from Washington, D.C., the political debate is largely constructive — that’s something Maine people can be proud of.”

Jackson said he doesn’t know who will take Carson’s place as the District 24 representative but doesn’t think he’ll need to recruit candidates for the position. He added he will miss Carson’s presence at the table.

“He never gives up and that’s extremely impressive to me,” said Jackson. “I hope he knows how much I respect him. I’ll be sorry to see him go.”

In his column, Carson said he plans to spend more time with his family and volunteer in his community after retiring.


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