Tuesday, May 21, 2013
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Democrat John Martin
"Controversy followed him, but I think he raised the power of the Legislature," Palmer said.
Martin also has been a talent evaluator for the Maine Democratic Party.
He mentored U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud when Michaud was in the Legislature. He helped groom Pat McGowan and Libby Mitchell, both of whom ran for governor in 2010, and more recently he has been a confidant of Sen. Troy Jackson of Allagash.
Above all, Martin knew how to represent his constituents in Aroostook County.
"There were always reports Eagle Lake has the nicest roads around and he's gotten projects approved there that a lot of other lawmakers would like to have in their district," said Doug Hodgkin, a retired Bates College political scientist. "That helps you get re-elected."
Republican Andre Cushing of Hampden, the outgoing assistant House majority leader, who, like Cain, was elected to the Senate on Tuesday, said it was only a matter of time before Martin was defeated.
"That's no disrespect to him; he has always represented his district well," Cushing said. "But I think the Democratic Party of the 1970s and 1980s, when he was speaker, is not the same as the Democratic Party of today. I think some St. John Valley residents might feel like the party has drifted."
Martin said Cushing's political action committee, Respect Maine, spent heavily on negative campaign ads against him. Cushing said the PAC did focus on that race, but not exclusively.
"It will be strange not to see him in Augusta come January," Cushing said. "But he stayed longer than perhaps was wise."
It may be too early to talk about Martin's legacy.
"I suspect we've not seen the last of him," Fredette said.
When asked about his future plans, Martin demurred.
But, he said, "I don't intend to stay home and do nothing."
Staff Writer Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at: