Two Democrats who have worked in the public sector but who have never before held elected office are vying for the Democratic nomination for the open Senate District 15 seat.

John Glowa Sr., 64, of China said Maine state government is broken, and before any of the state’s other problems can be solved, that must be fixed.

Kellie Julia, 49, of South China, whose background is in education, said she’s running because the state needs more everyday people in the Legislature.

Senate District 15 encompasses Augusta, China, Oakland, Sidney and Vassalboro. The seat is currently held by Augusta attorney Roger Katz, a Republican who is term-limited.

Glowa, who earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Maine while he worked at the state Department of Environmental Protection, said that master’s degree taught him how government is supposed to work.

“In my opinion, not enough people in state government understand how it should work,” he said. “I understand the problems and how to fix them.”

During his 30 years with the state, Glowa said he knows how it works and how it doesn’t work.

“I have drafted numerous pieces of legislation and testified before the Legislature,” he said. “I have worked hard from the outside to reform state government, and I want to be in the Legislature to work to reform state government.”

Julia, a small-business owner who has worked with elementary school-age children in different capacities for nearly 15 years, said she has seen firsthand how teachers, who she said are paid the least of all the professions, struggle in the classroom, spending their own money on supplies. She worked for Child Development Services in Augusta, working in behavioral modification with small groups or individual children who are on the autism spectrum or have behavior disorders. She also worked on literacy with kindergartners at the China Primary School, and five years in the Chelsea Elementary School program ABLE, working with children with severe behavior disorders.

Currently, Julia works with her husband, Dawson, at their business East Coast CBDs, in Unity as medical marijuana caregivers. It’s the third small business they have owned.

“Owning a small business and keeping it running is hard,” she said.

Julia said if she’s elected, she would work on incentives and tax breaks to keep them going.

“I believe in the minimum wage increase,” she said. “It’s hard to live on what people are making. And it’s hard to keep kids here, too. The median age in the state is 48. We’re not keeping our kids here and we’re not getting young families. I have a 17-year-old daughter, and I would like her to stay here.”

Both candidates say they support Medicaid expansion – a move that Maine voters endorsed in a statewide referendum in November 2017, but the implementation of it has stalled in a stalemate between Gov. Paul LePage and the state Democrats.

They also have measured stands on gun ownership.

Glowa said Maine needs reasonable gun legislation that protects lives and complies with the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Julia said she understands the challenges of balancing rights granted under the Second Amendment with common sense.

A little more than a year ago, she said her son Corey took his own life. On her campaign Facebook page, she said a gun was involved.

Both candidates say they support expanded mental health services for state residents.

Glowa, who ran an unsuccessful campaign in 2016 for the House District 79 seat, said that campaign gave him a great deal of knowledge and experience and is another step in his process of learning and growing.

“I am not a recruited candidate,” Glowa said. “I am running because I want to run. I am highly motivated and I want to work hard and continue my public service. I have the qualifications and experience to serve.”

“I’m running because we need more normal, everyday people who can realize the challenges that everyone faces,” Julia said. “We need some fresh ideas.”

Julia said she became a teen mom during her senior year in high school, and went on to complete a cosmetology course before going to college for a degree in education.

“I have a lot of life experience, and I have understanding and compassion for people’s situations,” she said. “I am a good listener, and I can relate to just about anyone. That’s a great quality for a candidate.”

Jessica Lowell can be contacted at 621-5632 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: JLowellKJ