BIDDEFORD — Craig Pendleton resigned as executive director of the Biddeford+Saco Chamber of Commerce+Industry and has expressed a desire to serve in a cabinet-level position for the next governor.

“During his tenure, the chamber made excellent progress in membership and community participation, and our organization, today, is viewed as a foundational partner in the business and governmental affairs of the cities of Biddeford and Saco. We wish him well,” Steve St. Cyr, chairman of the chamber’s board of directors, said in announcing Pendleton’s resignation in a written statement Friday.

Pendleton, 58, who resigned July 5, served as the executive director of the chamber for 8½ years. He received the Professional of the Year award from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce last fall. The state chamber credited Pendleton with elevating the chamber’s role and position in the communities it serves, growing its membership by more than 125 members, extending into the town of Waterboro and opening a welcome center for visitors, tourism and promoting members.

Pendleton said in a written statement that he and his wife have spent many hours discussing their future and what path they should follow leading to retirement. He said he had recently expressed an interest in running for political office on the state level, but he and the board agreed it was not a manageable situation to take on the responsibilities of being an elected official while carrying out his duties at the chamber.

“That being said, I would like to be free to express my interest to candidates for governor that I be considered a candidate in serving at a cabinet level position,” Pendleton sad. He feels this would give him an opportunity for personal growth and to achieve his goal of working on public policy while bringing the excitement and energy of the Biddeford and Saco region to state government.

“And so, I have made a decision to offer my resignation now while the economy is strumming along and new blood could further stimulate our chamber,” Pendleton said. “I will take some time to decompress, catch my breath and gather my thoughts.”

As for the chamber, its board is “committed to overseeing a smooth, positive transition to the next management level,” St. Cyr said.

“In any organization, the loss of the executive director presents certain opportunities,” he said. “Our possibilities are synonymous with the chamber’s mission and vision: new and renewed pathways of business connections and economic vitality. As chairman of the chamber board of directors, I am confident that the board, staff, volunteers, and members will be able to continue to meet our challenges and opportunities with enthusiasm, professionalism, and savvy optimism.”

He said the chamber today is in a good place.

“We remain an active catalyst in our workings with the two cities and the town of Waterboro. We strongly advocate for regional economic development, and we continue to support local businesses, while encouraging individuals and members to ‘choose a member first,’ whenever considering a sale or a service,” St. Cyr said.

Pendleton recognized the commitment of the businesses that supported and believed in him and the chamber.

“Local support is what drives us forward to achieve our goals. To all of you I send my sincere appreciation and thanks,” he said.

Liz Gotthelf can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 325 or at:

[email protected]

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