AUGUSTA — Maine’s political parties and voters in the 22-town Senate District 20 are waiting to hear whether there will be a special election to replace Republican Sen. David Trahan of Waldoboro.

Trahan will announce Wednesday whether he will resign his Senate seat to become executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, according to a news release from the Senate Republican office. He did not return a call to his home Monday.

Trahan met with the Sportsman’s Alliance board Monday to discuss compensation for the position, which he accepted in principle last month.

Trahan said at the time that he would probably resign in September. The Secretary of State’s Office must receive his official resignation before scheduling a special election.

A logger by trade, Trahan, 48, has served three years in the Senate after eight years in the House. His term ends in December 2012.

Jonathan Wayne, executive director of Maine’s ethics commission, said Monday that Trahan has spoken with him about whether he should resign his Senate seat when he starts his new job, step down in January or finish his term.

The Legislature will reconvene in September to address congressional redistricting. Trahan also has expressed a desire to work more on tax reform.

Trahan apparently has tried to find a way to hold both positions.

Wayne said Trahan has suggested that the Sportsman’s Alliance could hire someone else to lobby the Legislature – which traditionally has been part of the executive director’s job — and he could give up his seat on the Legislature’s Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee and seek to avoid influencing bills that interest the Sportsman’s Alliance.

Wayne has strongly recommended against Trahan completing his term, and noted that the Legislature has advised members to avoid even the appearance of conflicts of interest — which could arise if Trahan serves until January or later.

If Trahan remains in the Senate and abstains from working on bills related to hunting, fishing and other sportsmen’s activities, it would leave his district without a voice in the legislative process.

“The commission staff wonders whether such a potentially large number of recusals would be consistent with fulfilling your constitutional responsibilities as a state senator,” Wayne wrote to Trahan.

Legislators occasionally seek informal counsel about whether their private employment causes a conflict of interest, Wayne said.

The last formal advisory the ethics commission issued, in March 2010, dealt with Rep. Jon Hinck, D-Portland, and his wife’s work as an attorney representing wind power businesses. The commission did not find a conflict.

Maine Democratic Party Chairman Ben Grant said the party looks forward to contesting Trahan’s seat, whether it’s this year or next.

Grant said the party’s “Get Real Maine” listening tour will likely visit the district.

Grant said Trahan should step down once he joins the Sportsman’s Alliance.

“There’s no doubt that he should resign when he assumes that role,” Grant said. “SAM is a well-known and important presence in the State House, and there’s no way to do that job without it conflicting with the responsibilities of the legislator.”

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charlie Webster did not immediately return calls Monday.

 

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Susan McMillan can be contacted at 621-5645 or at: [email protected]