DRESDEN — Dresden Republican and former legislator Jeffrey Pierce, whose controversial criminal history earned him a governor’s pardon, said Tuesday he will run again to represent House District 53 in the Maine House of Representatives.

Jeffrey Pierce

Pierce lost his re-election bid in November 2018 to Democrat Allison Hepler of Woolwich after the Maine Democratic Party released documents outlining Pierce’s criminal history.

Pierce was convicted on charges he sold cocaine and marijuana to an undercover state trooper in 1983 and had other misdemeanor offenses between 1980 and 2006, including two convictions for driving under the influence, according to state background check records.

He picked up another misdemeanor charge in May 2019 when he failed to disclose his felony charge when applying for a hunting license, but that was ultimately dismissed by Lincoln County District Attorney Natasha Irving.

“I thought it was a nasty thing for the Democratic Party to publish my mistakes, but the point is I moved on,” said Pierce. “I’ve tried to make good life choices, and I’m proud of what I’ve done.”

Pierce was pardoned by former Republican Gov. Paul LePage in late 2018. However, the pardon does not expunge his record.

“Your past does not make you irredeemable,” Pierce said in a written statement. “Above all, every Mainer deserves to be represented thoughtfully, compassionately, and without judgment.”

Seth Nelson, a spokesperson for the Maine Democratic Party, said Pierce’s past should not be overlooked.

“It’s not just that Jeff was convicted of felony drug trafficking, or multiple OUIs and assault, or that he lied on years’ worth of government documents so he could illegally obtain firearms – it’s that he’s been completely unapologetic of his behavior while simultaneously advocating for stronger sentences for those crimes when he served in the House,” Nelson said.

Hepler confirmed Tuesday she will run for re-election.

Pierce grew up in Augusta where he attended Cony High School and eventually settled in Dresden. He began a construction company in 1985 and joined the Dresden Planning Board, where he has held a seat for 22 years.

“People in Dresden seem to like my ideas,” said Pierce. “The community has been kind to me so it’s nice to give back to my community.”

Pierce is also a member of the Dresden School Board and president of the Plant Memorial Home in Bath.

If elected to represent House District 53, Pierce said he will focus on making sure the elderly have a place to live, regardless of if they can pay, and fixing roads statewide.

“There’s no magic wand to solve this,” said Pierce. “It takes everyone communicating and working together to solve problems. You don’t work for a party, you work for people.”

House District 53 includes the towns of Arrowsic, Dresden, Georgetown, Phippsburg, Woolwich and part of Richmond.

Pierce previously served as the House District 53 Representative for two terms – four years in total. During his time as a state representative, Pierce was the leading House Republican on the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee, sat on the Marine Resources Committee and was running for a leadership position in the House. If elected, Pierce said he would like to rejoin those committees.

“We are excited to have Jeff in the race and look forward to serving with him again,” said Rep. Kathleen Dillingham of Oxford, the House Republican leader.

The general election for the Maine House of Representatives will be held on Nov. 3. A primary is scheduled for June 9 and the filing deadline is March 16.

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