Holly Kopp of Topsham has announced she is running as a Republican candidate for the Maine Senate District 23 seat in November. Contributed photo

TOPSHAM — Topsham resident Holly Kopp has announced she is running as a Republican for the Maine Senate District 23 seat in November.

The seat now belongs to Democrat Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic, who plans to run for reelection. The senate district encompasses all of Sagadahoc County, as well as Arrowsic.

Kopp has served as a professional volunteer in the community for the past 15 years and as an elected official for nearly a decade.

“There are so many important issues facing our state, including the question of how to provide our young people with an education and opportunities that encourage them to stay here in Maine to live, work and raise a family,” she said in a statement. “I’ve dedicated my life to working in education and with young people, and I look forward to helping address this issue in Augusta should I be elected as a state senator.”

After nearly 10 years serving on the Maine School Administrative District 75 school board, Kopp said she is concerned about funding cuts to career and technical education. The district sends students to Region 10 Technical High School in Brunswick along with the Brunswick School Department and Regional School Unit 5.

“I don’t understand how that possibly is a good strategy in our state when we’re in a labor shortage, when we clearly have talented young people who could benefit from those types of opportunities in our state that would allow them to live and work here and raise their family and make a good income,” she said.

Kopp, who just started a fourth term on the school board in November, said education is the subject she is best versed in but there are many complex issues facing the state, whether it is energy or immigration policy or helping small businesses.

“I am committed to talking to the experts in those fields and the people in my district to understand what’s important to them and what are some of the solutions we can come to as a collaborative state,” she said.

The first step is to gather signatures so she can get her name on the ballot so she’ll start knocking on doors soon.

“How can I best serve them is the real question,” she said.

“Holly has an outstanding background in public service that demonstrates her commitment to working on behalf of her community,” Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow wrote in a news release. “Her knowledge of and experience in education will be an incredibly valuable addition to the Maine Senate, and I look forward to working with her in 2020.”

Kopp said she originally planned not to seek another term on the school board, but after no one ran for the three-year seat, decided to run again to ensure Topsham had a representative on the board. The MSAD 75 school district also serves Bowdoin, Bowdoinham and Harpswell.

“I would not vacate that if elected as a senator,” she said Tuesday.

Kopp holds an master’s degree in school psychology and has worked supporting students with special needs in a public school setting. Prior to starting a family, she also served as the associate director for the Center for Educational Policy, Applied Research and Evaluation at the University of Southern Maine.

Kopp will run against incumbent Vitelli, who won her first Maine senate seat in then-Senate District 19 in a 2013 special election.

In the regular election the following November, however, Vitelli was defeated by Republican Linda Baker in a three-way race. She returned to the Senate in 2016 after defeating Republican candidate Guy Lebida.

 

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