BIddeford's Donna Dion is campaigning for the Democratic nomination for Maine governor. She's a former three-term mayor of the city and recently retired from a long career in finance. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIddeford’s Donna Dion is campaigning for the Democratic nomination for Maine governor. She’s a former three-term mayor of the city and recently retired from a long career in finance. ED PIERCE/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — Former three-term Biddeford mayor Donna Dion is once again a candidate for governor and believes her experience in finance and willingness to listen and work with people representing all political viewpoints is the foundation for a successful campaign.   

Dion, a Democrat, ran originally to become Maine governor in 2010, but she was late in entering the race, and is hoping that this time it will be a different outcome. 

“I think my background provides diversity and success and that I can provide a fresh new start and a new perspective, Dion said during an interview Monday. “My approach is different and includes prioritizing and collaboration from everyone that is involved in an issue.”

Dion has been married to her husband. Michael, for 40 years and retired from a position in finance in January. A mother and a grandmother, she lives in Biddeford and was the city’s second female mayor, elected to the position in 1997, 1999  and 2001.

She said she chose to run for public office in the first place to help others and to give back to the community. 

“You have people with strong opinions in elected office,” she said. “I’ve always tried to listen to all sides, but to keep my finger on the pulse for prioritizing and developing a strategic plan for the city. I did not hestitate to pass the gavel to the council chairperson for clarification when needed.”

Her strengths that she would bring to the governor’s office, if elected, are organization, consistency and looking at the big picture, she said.

“I do my homework,” Dion said. “I have no problem saying I’m not ready if I’m not. I have never had a problem saying I was wrong, let’s re-evaluate this.”

She said her temperment and personality are key to her success in politics.

“I can see where my past experience and personality could be an asset to the state of Maine.” Dion said. “My background allows volatile individuals to eliminate anger or pointing fingers as to what we can do. I’ve been successful in business and as mayor by doing this. I want to put unity back in state government and collaborating together as communities.”

According to Dion, a multi-facted approach is needed to eliminate the scourge of opiate and opioid addiction sweeping the state.

“There are two angles I would push for and one is to eliminate illegal drugs and masking the elements of addiction,” she said. “We also need to do a better job in the preventive realm and provide more education about pain management.”

She also stressed she believes having a structured location for experts to work with other organizations fosters collaboration among diverse groups dealing with opiate addiction and could expand a resource base to help residents find treatment.

Regarding attracting new businesses to the state to help reduce taxes, Dion said, that requires more than salesmanship.

“I recently spent time on the phone talking to the president of the University of Southern Maine and that conversation was about having education match business needs,” she said. “We discussed how to best develop internships and partnerships so that we do not shortchange ourselves by not educating the community in the direction we want to go.”

As far as making improvements to the state’s roads, bridges and infrastucture, Dion said she advocates making a comprehensive plan and then prioritizing a list before evaluating what is needed for bond issues to pay for the work.

Dion is campaigning as a Clean Elections Candidate, but she said even if she doesn’t collect enough signatures to qualify to receive state campaign funds, she said she’ll adhere to the principles and intent of the Maine Clean Election Act.

She says she’d take the same approach if elected as the first female governor of Maine as she took in Biddeford, which led to the city’s economic development and expansion across the Maine Turnpike on Route 111. 

Like most of America, Maine is currently polarized politically, but Dion said she can overcome that to be a governor all state residents can admire.

“I believe in respecting residents and the regions they live in,” she said. “I’d like to extend ourselves into communities and show to them that their opinons are valuable. We should be talking about the state as a whole. People need to be connected. We need to listen to them and give them the time to hear their concerns. I’m a consensus maker and believe in common sense solutions.” 

— Executive Editor Ed Pierce can be reached at 282-1535 ext. 326 or by email at [email protected]    

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