Four candidates are running for the vacant House District 23 seat, which represents part of Standish and opened last summer when Rep. Mike Shaw resigned.

Shaw, a Democrat who had held the seat since 2008, stepped down after announcing he was moving out of the district to Freeport.

Democrat Lynn Olson, Republican Lester Ordway, independent Philip Pomerleau and Green Party candidate Michael Wakefield, all of Standish, are running for the one-year term.

Olson is chairwoman of the Standish Town Council and a small business owner. She operates a consulting firm – Olson Associates. She also served for 13 years as the chief financial officer of the Maine Community College System.

“As the only candidate with significant experience in the Legislature, I am ready to hit the ground running for the second year of this term,” Olson said in an email.

Her top priorities are helping small businesses, promoting education for children and displaced workers and helping senior citizens remain in their communities.

Ordway, a Republican, also serves on the Standish Town Council. He is employed as an automotive instructor at Central Maine Community College.

“I’ll be a voice of reason in Augusta,” Ordway said in a press release issued by the Maine Republican Party. “I am deeply committed to the same principles that founded our great state: freedom, liberty, personal responsibility and opportunity for all Mainers.”

His legislative priorities are bringing “vocational education to the forefront. We have a very large skills gap. Plumbers, electricians, mechanics, nurses and welders are great, high paying, in-demand jobs.”

Pomerleau, a former Standish town councilor who owns Maine-ly Heating Oil Co. in Standish, is a former Republican who is running as an independent. He served 15 years on the council.

Pomerleau said in an email that he is running “because common sense makes good government. Now, more than ever, the state needs to restore faith in their state government. The my-way-or-the-highway attitude in Augusta isn’t working anymore. The state Legislature has to work together and move beyond the political bickering.”

Pomerleau said he will fight to increase the state’s minimum wage and work to develop a new economy. Paper mills and mill towns are a thing of the past, he said, and the state needs to focus on fostering new technologies.

Wakefield is a sales representative for Legacy Publishing and ran for the Legislature in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, according to the Lakes Region Weekly.


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