AUGUSTA – A former U.S. representative from Maine has joined Gov. Paul LePage’s administration to help shape the future of state government.

David Emery of Tenants Harbor, a Republican who served four terms in Congress from 1975 to 1983, has been named a deputy commissioner in the Department of Administrative and Financial Services. While the department’s commissioner, Sawin Millett, focuses on the state budget, Emery will focus on management of the department.

Emery, 62, will work to transform the State Planning Office into an office of program or policy management.

“The idea (is) to give the executive its own think tank for planning ways to reform the structure of government and reorganize government, find ways to stimulate economic growth,” he said during an interview in his cubicle in the Cross State Office Building.

After LePage was elected in November, Emery let the transition team know that he was available to help. He didn’t apply for a specific position, but at one point it came down to taking over the troubled Maine Turnpike Authority or working in state government administration.

“This one seemed to be, of the two, the one that would engage me most in state policy and some of the reform issues I’ve always been interested in,” he said. “It was an opportunity I was anxious to jump on.”

While representing Maine’s 1st Congressional District, Emery served on the Armed Services Committee. In 1980, he went to Afghanistan with several other members of Congress to investigate reports that the Soviets were using chemical weapons there. Emery also went to Pakistan, near the area where U.S. troops killed Osama bin Laden on Sunday.

Emery ran for the U.S. Senate in 1982, losing to Democrat George Mitchell. President Reagan then appointed Emery deputy director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. That job led to extensive international travel as he promoted U.S. and NATO arms control strategies.

In 1989, Emery and his wife, Carol, a probate judge in Knox County, moved back to Maine. After a time as interim president of Thomas College in Waterville, he founded Scientific Marketing & Analysis, a polling and public opinion firm that has worked with many Republican candidates.

In 2006, Emery was the first Republican to announce a run against Democratic Gov. John Baldacci. Emery finished third in the GOP primary. He said it’s unlikely he will run for office again.

Part of his job in the LePage administration will be to put LePage’s campaign promises into action. He said many politicians campaign on big-picture ideas. Now, his job is to dig into the details of reforming government.

“One of the things the governor wants to do is to get a handle on the growth of government,” he said. “You have to understand it. You have to dig into it. That’s one of the things we’ll be doing. It’s one of the things the new office of policy and management will do when it’s finally created.”

After a few weeks on the job, Emery said he has noticed that people are overworked.

“One of the things that really has impressed me is how incredibly hard-working these employees are that deal with the budget and management issue,” he said. “It’s really a busy and vibrant place.”

Emery said he’s embracing his latest career challenge.

“Anyone who has served in an executive position or in any position of responsibility in government sees things and understands things in much greater detail than you ever could as a candidate on the outside,” he said. “It’s a tremendous educational experience.”

 

MaineToday Media State House Writer Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

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