After 16 years in the state Legislature, Stan Gerzofsky is stepping out of the limelight to be replaced by incoming Democratic Sen. Everett “Brownie” Carson.

First elected to the Maine House of Representatives from Brunswick in 2000, Gerzofsky would serve four terms before running for and winning the race for Senate District 24, where he would serve another four terms. In that time, Gerzofsky has become a mainstay of the state Legislature as one of the few go-to sources of institutional knowledge about Augusta’s arcane procedures and intricate workings.

While Gerzofsky would eventually become a fixture in the community, when he first ran for office in Brunswick he was the outsider. Gerzofsky, a furniture maker and political activist with no prior experience in elected office, decided to run for his House district — and won handedly. Gerzofsky, who’s remained undefeated since, credits his initial victory for being an regular working class person and not a typical politician.

“What made me different — my opponent was walking around in a blue blazer and gray flannel pants, and I was walking around with Levis and a T-shirt and sneakers. And some people still remember that first time they saw me,” said Gerzofsky.

“I was just an average guy,” he added. “There was nothing special except I cared an awful lot about people.”


Gerzofsky continued to do things differently after being elected. Setting up in a local coffee shop, he held monthly office hours where he could meet with his constituents. While nominally from 10 a.m. to noon, Gerzofsky would often find himself speaking with Brunswick residents and addressing their issues well into the afternoon.

“I wanted to hear from the people, and I couldn’t think of a better way,” he said. “I can’t continue to go to their doors and ask them … so I made my self available for them, I didn’t make them available for me.”

Over the years, Gerzofsky has become a strong voice for the communities he represents, intervening for residents on a number of issues — from helping local clammers to helping a single constituent find the state resources they need. Perhaps the biggest impact he’s had in the community is on the redevelopment of Brunswick Landing and bringing a Southern Maine Community College campus to Brunswick.

For Gerzofsky, the closing of the naval air station was not just an opportunity for business growth in Brunswick, but an opportunity to create a community college campus to serve the Midcoast area.

“The first tour I took on the base was with the town council,” Gerzofsky said. “They were picking those buildings out for themselves, and I said ‘no no no, that’s a shining campus on a hill.’ Well there ain’t no hill there, and I ain’t no Ronald Reagan, but I figured they’d all get the message.”

While bringing a college campus to the area was never expected to be easy, the timing presented an additional challenge. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, it would seem to be all but impossible to find funding for the project even as other campuses were looking at cuts. With little hope for success, Gerzofsky brought a bond for funding the college to the Appropriations Committee.


“It was the most nerve racking experience anybody should ever have to go through,” said Gerzofsky.

“I (talked to) the senators, and they did some very generous acts that day. I had the senator in charge of the energy bond offer up part of his bond. And I was a little emotional — that’s a nice thing to do for me. And he said ‘Stan, you’ve always been there for us, you’ve never asked for a damn thing. He’s asked us, and if we can’t redevelop this base that’s 5,000 jobs. That’s 5,000 people who are no longer here,’” he said.

Through bits and pieces, the committee was ultimately able to pull together enough funding for Gerzofsky’s bond.

“All those damn senators gave me a little piece of their action,” he said. “And we were able to put the bond together. I got 80 percent of the bond I originally asked for.”

As his fourth term in the state Senate came to a close, Gerzofsky was faced with a dilemma: term limits. According to a referendum passed by Maine voters, no one can serve more than four consecutive terms in the state Senate or House. Several legislators, most notably John Martin of Eagle Lake, have avoided being termed out of office by switching from the House to the Senate every eight years, similarly to when Gerzofsky ran for the state Senate after being termed out of the House in 2008. Gerzofsky, however, faced a hitch in pulling a similar maneuver in 2016 — the House district was currently occupied by Democrat Ralph Tucker who planned to run for re-election.

According to Gerzofsky, he approached Tucker about switching districts — with Gerzofsky running for House District 50 and Tucker running for Senate District 24 — but Tucker wasn’t interested. In order to avoid being termed out of office, Gerzofsky would have had to challenge the sitting Democratic representative in the House in the primaries, but Gerzofsky said he hates when Democrats challenge incumbent Democrats for egotistical reasons.


“I said, you know, it’s not about me. It’s about my constituents. It’s about my district. It’s about Ralph Tucker — he’s doing a good job. Him and I would have identical voting records,” said Gerzofsky.

“Do I think I would have won?” he continued. “I asked Ralph that, he said of course you would. It’s your House District and everybody still talks about you.”

Yet while Gerzofsky is leaving the state Legislature as a lawmaker, he said there have been talks about him returning as legislative staff, where his institutional knowledge and understanding of legislative procedure could be of continued use. Democrats had offered him a position if they won the Senate — which they did not — and even Republican Garrett Mason had suggested keeping Gerzofsky on staff, he said.

Furthermore, term limits only requires that Gerzofsky leave the Senate for two years, and he expressed interest in running for the House or Senate again if a seat opened up. So while Gerzofsky may have left the capital willingly for now, his return seems all but assured.

“I don’t think my work is done,” he said. “I think I still have something to offer. So if a seat opened up, I would seriously consider it, because term limits only say I should stay out for two years.”

In the meantime, Gerzofsky is working with current lawmakers to pass legislation and plans to keep an eye on an investigation into the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority he initiated while on the Government Oversight Committee. And whether on staff or not, Gerzofsky said that he will continue to offer his knowledge to Democratic lawmakers in Augusta.

“If they need help in any way, I’m a loyal public servant,” said Gerzofsky.

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