Two experienced legislators from Windham are vying to represent District 24 in the Maine House of Representatives.

Democratic incumbent Rep. Mark E. Bryant is being challenged in the Nov. 6 election by Republican businessman Thomas Tyler. The seat covers the eastern and northern parts of Windham.

Bryant, 61, has served six non-consecutive terms in the Maine House of Representatives, including the last four years in the District 24 seat.

Tyler, 70, first served in the House in the 1990s as a Democrat before taking a break from the Legislature. He then became a Republican and was elected again to the House in 2012, serving one term before stepping away again to focus on his business.

Tyler replaced Bryant in 2012 after Bryant was termed out. Bryant returned to the Legislature in the 2014 election when Tyler didn’t run for re-election and his District 110 seat became District 24 as part of statewide redistricting.

Until now, however, the two men have never run against each other.

“I like Mark Bryant, he’s a nice guy – family man, etc.,” Tyler said. “I just feel it’s time for a more conservative voice, that’s all. Fiscally, I’m a very conservative person. I think the state needs to control their monies well. Socially, I’m pretty much a moderate.”

“I’ve always gotten along with my opponent, and we just differ in policy,” Bryant said of Tyler. Bryant said growing up in a large family in a mill town in Oxford County, then working in a mill in Westbrook, “has given me more of a concern for the regular working person.”

Both men have participated in the legislative debates about whether to expand Medicaid during their time in the Legislature. Voters approved expansion of the public health insurance program at the polls in 2017, but Gov. Paul LePage vetoed funding for it and has refused to implement the measure.

Tyler noted that he voted in favor of expansion during his term in the 126th Legislature but did not vote to override Gov. Paul LePage when he vetoed the measure.

“If they find the funds, I could accept the people’s wishes,” Tyler said about the expansion. “But it’s got to be funded. It can’t bankrupt the state.”

Bryant said he supports Medicaid expansion.

“I think the Legislature needs to be cognitive, needs to be responsive, to the will of the people,” he said about Medicaid expansion. “I’ll do my best, and have done my best, to make sure the money is appropriated and the best plan is put forward.”

Both Bryant and Tyler are publicly financed candidates under the Maine Clean Elections Act. Bryant has raised $10,400 and Tyler has raised $9,120, according to the Maine ethics commission website.

Matt Junker can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 123, or at:

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