We were saddened last week to hear of the death of David Flanagan, a man whose work in government, business and education has affected the lives of generations of Mainers.

His most recent role was executive chairman of Central Maine Power Co., providing a familiar and reassuring face to a company mired in bad news.

Flanagan delivered CMP’s response to a series of crises, including a catastrophic rollout of a new billing system, organized opposition to a proposed power line between Quebec and western Maine and a legislative attempt to take over the company and replace it with a consumer owned utility.

He did that job as he did most things; with dignity and authority. You didn’t have to agree with him – and we didn’t always agree with him – to recognize that he believed in what he was doing and that it was for the good of the state of Maine, which he so obviously loved.

Flanagan left Maine to attend college at Harvard and law school at Boston College, but he came back here to make his career. He built the kind of resumé that could have taken him to Washington or New York, where he would likely have found his skills in demand in the government or the corporate world.

But the Bangor native chose to stay here, working for Govs. Ken Curtis and Joe Brennan, a first go-around as president of CMP in the 1990s, and as chairman of the University of Maine System Board of Trustees, for whom he authored the system’s reorganization plan.

And he served as the interim president of the University of Southern Maine, doing the difficult work of righting a financially unstable institution, making unpopular decisions on personnel and budget that paved the way for the successful administration of President Glenn Cummings.

In a candid interview just two months ago, when he knew he was dying, Flanagan told reporter Tux Turkel he was reflecting on his career and felt he could look back with no regrets.

“I’ve spent my whole life working on behalf of Maine people, companies and government,” Flanagan said. “I feel good about it … I wish I had a little more time. But I feel I’ve done the best I could.”

It was a remarkable career in public life, and Mainers can be grateful that he chose to pursue it here.


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