TRENTON—County Commissioner Dennis Damon would like to be your
The 2002 election may seem a long way away, but Hancock
County’s political parties are already lining up their candidates.
The coming election will be more important than most, because
half of the county’s 10 state legislators are serving their last
terms under Maine’s term limit law. They include District 5
Senator Jill Goldthwait.
Goldthwait, a popular independent representing most of coastal
Hancock County, has had a virtual lock on her district for four
With her departure, the seat is open and speculation about
contenders is rampant. Damon is the first to formally declare his
"I’ve given it a lot of thought," he said, "I think I have a
perspective of a more encompassing commitment to Hancock County
than is just afforded a commissioner."
Damon is in his third term as a county commissioner. In that
role, he also has served on a number of other boards that affect
the county, including the Maine State Ferry Service Advisory
Board, the Brewer-Calais Rail Service Study Commission, the Maine
Jobs Council and the state Intergovernmental Task Force, which
looked at the interaction between different levels of government
in the state.
That interaction is one of the issues that moved him to run for
the Senate. The way the state does business generates more
friction than necessary among state, county and local governments,
"The state requires that the county do certain things," Damon
said, "yet doesn’t pay the bill, and the only way we can get that
bill paid is by reaching into the municipal coffers.... Will it
ever go away? No. But to have a perspective of what those actions
mean in Augusta as they sift down to the county level and again to
the municipal level, that’s something I understand."
Education is another issue that is important to Damon, who has
a degree in education from the University of Maine in Orono.
Education is important in its own right, Damon said, but also for
its contribution to economic development, which depends on an
educated work force. He said he supported Governor Angus King’s
proposal to provide laptops to students and was disappointed when
the Legislature used some of the money for other purposes.
Damon also follows fishing issues closely. He said more
safeguards are necessary to be sure stocks are not overfished.
Regulators often do not pay enough attention to fishermen’s
viewpoints, he said, and stock depletion is often caused by
natural causes such as increased predation.
"I’ve come from a family of fishermen," he said. "My father was
a fisherman, my brothers were fishermen—it was only because of my
father’s urging that I broke the mold."
Damon taught for about 15 years, then founded two businesses,
Mount Desert Spring Water and Norumbega Moving and Storage. He now
has a property management business.
He lives in Trenton with his wife, Bonnie, and three children.
He was raised in Northeast Harbor and has lived in this area all
A Democrat, Damon may face a challenge in the primary.
Representative Ed Povich, D-Ellsworth, who is term-limited in the
House, also is considering a run for the Senate seat.
"It’s on my mind," Povich said. He said he would talk the
matter over with his family and make a decision early next year.
"I think the answer will be yes."
No Republican has yet come forward.