2018-02-23 / Front Page

Babine to seek House District 29 seat

By Michael Kelley Staff Writer

Shawn Babine Shawn Babine For the third time in past two years, a sitting town councilor has declared interest in representing Scarborough in Augusta.

Last week, town councilor Shawn Babine registered with the Maine Ethics Commission to run as a candidate to represent House District 29, which covers much of the section of town between the Eastern Trail and the ocean.

The seat is currently held by Karen Vachon, who is seeking reelection and was first elected to the position in November 2014.

“I am seeking my third term. I’ve served on the health and human services committee. This term I have worked on the opioid task force and labor, commerce, research and economic development committee. I’d like to continue my work and continue to push for access to affordable health care for Mainers,” Vachon said Friday, Feb. 16, shortly after submitting her signatures for authorization in order to mount a reelection campaign.

Babine, a resident of Summerfield Lane, was elected to another term, his fifth, on the council last November. Babine, who is running as a Democrat, has served on the town council from 2002 to 2007 (when he resigned to take a new position with TD Bank) and 2008 to 2010 (when he resigned to work as CEO of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity) and has been a sitting councilor since 2014. He previously served on the board of education from 2000 to 2002.

“I have been fortunate to serve Scarborough for nearly a decade and a half and I want to bring my experience of developing community budgets and forming public policy to the Legislature,” Babine said in a press release announcing his run. “As a town councilor, I have worked for compromise and built bridges between competing sides on important issues. Now, I am excited to hit the campaign trail and hear from everyone in House District 29.”

Babine told the Leader he was hesitant to run for statehouse at first, but political and personal colleagues encouraged him to consider it. Babine said he as also inspired to run after watching Gov. Paul LePage’s State of the State address Tuesday, Feb. 13.

“This is an opportunity to make some difference in some of the challenges Scarborough is facing, whether that be school funding or the tax shift from the state to the local level,” he said.

Babine said he will continue to serve his Scarborough constituents between now and November when the voters will chose who they want to represent them in House District 29.

“This is not a new question at all. I think the voters and your readers should know the determination won’t be made until November, one full year into (my new) term,” Babine said.

Babine previous ran for statehouse in 2006 against John Mc- Donough, who he lost to by 43 votes in a recount.

Babine is hoping to do something he and two of his colleagues on the council, Chris Caiazzo and Jean-Marie Caterina couldn’t: leverage a seat on the council to one in the Legislature.

Caiazzo unsuccessfully ran to unseat Republican Heather Sirocki in House District 28 in 2016, the same year Caterina chose not to run for reelection in an attempt to beat Republican Amy Volk in a race to represent District 30, which covers part of Scarborough, Gorham and Buxton, in the Maine State Senate. Caterina lost that race, but was elected in a six-way race for one of three town council seats in November 2017.

Scarborough Town Clerk Tody Justice said should Babine win, he could, if he choses, continue serving as a town councilor.

“That would be his decision. There is nothing in our charter or state law that would prohibit him from doing both,” she said.

While it would be his decision, he wouldn’t make it alone. He said if that situation came up he would “evaluate that with my colleagues at the time.”

Staff Writer Michael Kelley can be reached at news@scarboroughleader.com.

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