Michael Pardue, known to many as Kennebunk’s town manager, has announced he will seek the Republican nod for Senate District 34 in the June primary.  Sen. Robert Foley announced Dec. 11 that he will not seek re-election, and has endorsed Pardue. Courtesy Photo

KENNEBUNK — Michael Pardue has announced his candidacy for Maine Senate District 34 in the upcoming June primary.

Pardue, a Republican, is Kennebunk town manager, and said he will continue in that role.

Republican Sen. Robert Foley, who is serving his first term in the Senate after two terms in the Maine House of Representatives, has announced that he won’t run for office in the 2020 election and endorsed Pardue.

Pardue registered with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices on Dec,. 12.

The district is diverse, and includes the coastal towns of Kennebunk and Wells, along with the smaller inland communities of Acton, Lebanon, North Berwick and part of Berwick.

“There are about 36,000 residents in the district, representing many interests. It is my intent to hear as many of those voices as I can,” Pardue said in a telephone interview on the day he registered to run. “Their needs and desires will be somewhat diverse, and I want to hear them.”

Pardue, 63, said he is “very enthused, excited and energized,” about the race, his first for political office.

“I will draw from 40 years of municipal experience and leadership,” said Pardue. As well as being a longtime municipal manager, he has served as a police chief, fire chief, public safety director, public services manager and a human resources director in various communities, including stints in Ogunquit and Westbrook, among others. He founded the Tideview Group, a firm specializing in providing public and private sector management consulting services throughout New England.

District 34 and York County as a whole are facing workforce-related challenges, health care concerns, environmental concerns like rising tides and more severe storms, and workforce housing, among other issues, said Pardue.

As the current workforce ages, it is important to educate students and retain them and the expertise they bring, said Pardue. He said the state has to look at ways to make health care more affordable, and he wants to make sure students are afforded the opportunity to go into the trades. He said the lack of workforce housing is an issue that needs attention.

“Across the span of communities, I think I’ll hear common themes and some diverse thoughts,” said Pardue. “My pledge is to work extremely hard to gain the people’s confidence and listen intently to their concerns.”

Pardue said he is staying on as town manager in Kennebunk and consulted with the Select Board before he made his decision to run for the Senate seat. He said he has the board’s support.

He and his wife Karen live in Kennebunk. They have three grown children and four grandchildren.

Foley, in a posting on his Facebook page, thanked his supporters.

“Having served 15 years on the Wells Board of Selectmen, three years on the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, four years in the Maine House and two years in the Maine Senate, all while working a full-time job, I have decided that it is time for me to spend some much-needed time with my family,” Foley wrote.

Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow and Assistant Leader Jeff Timberlake issued a joint statement in response to Pardue’s announcement.

“We thank Senator Foley for his service in the Legislature. His departure will leave a big hole in the Senate, but we are certain that Michael Pardue is more than up to the task of serving the people of District 34 as well as Senator Foley has. Pardue is a proven leader, and his deep knowledge of his community, as well as his lengthy involvement in local government will make him an excellent State Senator. We look forward to having him join us in the Senate in 2020.”

As of Dec. 13, no other candidates have registered their intent to run for the Senate 34 seat.

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