A fisherman with no political experience and the former head of Maine’s biggest environmental lobby are competing for an open Maine Senate seat in the Brunswick area.

Democratic Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, who represents District 24, is term-limited. Republican Tristam Coffin, 26, and Democrat Everett Brownie Carson, 68, are running to replace him. District 24 covers Brunswick, Freeport, Harpswell, North Yarmouth and Pownal.

The two candidates have opposing viewpoints about renewable energy, the minimum wage, and legalizing recreational marijuana.

Carson, of Harpswell, is a Bowdoin College graduate and Vietnam War veteran. Although Carson has never held elected office, he was involved in Maine politics for decades from the high-profile position of executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine.

In an interview, Carson said he chose to run for the Maine Senate to address major issues facing the state.

“There is a whole lot of work to do, and I am ready to do it,” Carson said.

Carson volunteered to help pass a bill to expand solar energy that was vetoed by Gov. Paul LePage, and said he would support the same bill again.

“Pretty much everyone except for the governor was on board” the proposal, he said.

Medicaid expansion in Maine is a major policy goal, Carson said. He also believes the state should encourage preventative care and better nutrition, and require immunization unless there is a medical reason not to. Stemming the opioid addiction crisis will require more programs like the Addiction Resource Center in Brunswick that get uninsured people rapid treatment, Carson said.

On education issues, Carson said he would like to expand pre-K programs and make sure Maine college graduates aren’t saddled with debt.

“To come out of college as close to debt-free as possible is a huge priority,” Carson said.

He is against eliminating the state income tax. He also opposes legalizing recreational marijuana because it will be more available to young people and not enough is known about its health effects. Carson is for expanded background checks for gun purchases and raising the minimum wage to $12 by 2020.

Carson and Coffin are publicly funded candidates under Maine’s Clean Election Act, which limits private contributions and provides supplemental public funding to legislative candidates.

Carson raised a total of $45,000 through Oct. 25, according to his most recent disclosure report. Coffin raised $21,315 through Oct. 25, his filing shows.

Coffin, of Brunswick, works on his father’s lobster boat, and runs pyrotechnic shows. He is pursuing a business degree from Southern Maine Community College and served in Afghanistan with the Maine National Guard.

Coffin said that Maine is caught in the past, and he thinks as a young person he can help bring it into the future. He doesn’t have a specific policy plan, but wants to simplify regulations and make it easier for small businesses. “I don’t want to go to Augusta and propose a bunch of legislation,” Coffin said.

The state also needs to massively cut down on administrative costs before it can eliminate the income tax and replace it with a sales tax, Coffin said.

Solar power is an opportunity for Maine, but not if other electricity ratepayers are footing the bill, Coffin said. There are other renewable energy sources, like wind, the state should examine. To prepare students, Maine should expand high school vocational and technical programs, Coffin said.

“We can’t just stick every child in a classroom and expect them to (succeed),” he said.

Maine is on the right track in confronting opiate addiction, but needs to do more outreach and education, Coffin said. He is opposed to a referendum to require background checks for private gun sales because he said it would criminalize things like borrowing a friend’s gun and turn thousands of Mainers into criminals. The market is doing a good job determining wages so a new minimum wage isn’t needed, he said. Coffin does approve of legalizing recreational marijuana because it would raise tax revenue and take the drug off the black market.

“I am a liberty candidate; personal responsibility is the cornerstone of my campaign. I would definitely like to see the question passed,” Coffin said.