Bruce Poliquin, 59, of Oakland graduated from Harvard University with a degree in economics. After college, Poliquin worked in the investment management industry, helping to build Avatar Investors Associates Corporation, a major fund management company. At Avatar, Poliquin helped manage nearly $5 billion in worker pension funds for clients such as Bath Iron Works and International Paper. Following the tragic death of his young wife, Poliquin left investment management and returned to Maine to raise his son.
Poliquin entered Maine’s political scene in 2009 with a run for governor. He lost the competitive seven-man Republican primary, but was tapped by Gov. Paul LePage and the GOP Legislature to bring his financial experience to the office of State Treasurer. From the helm of the Treasurer’s Office, Poliquin helped the Republican-controlled 125th Legislature reform Maine’s public pension system, eliminating almost half of the state’s unfunded liability. He also shone a spotlight on the Maine State Housing Authority, a quasi-governmental entity that was rife with corruption and fraud.
In March of 2012, Poliquin announced that he would seek the Republican nomination in a bid to replace out-going Sen. Olympia Snowe. Although he won 6 of 11 counties in the 2nd CD, he finished second in the GOP primary behind then-Secretary of State Charlie Summers, who eventually lost to Sen. Angus King. After early speculation this summer that he might become the chairman of the Maine Republican Party, Poliquin decided instead to run for Congress. Despite having never won a GOP nomination, he has remained active in conservative circles, and with plenty of his own money to spend, plus strong ties to Republican donors, the Poliquin for Congress campaign will be a force to be reckoned with.
I sat down with Poliquin recently to talk about his campaign for Congress:
If elected, what would your priorities be in the U.S. Congress?
“It’s hard to trust Washington these days. Career politicians often live by different rules than those they make for the rest of us. My priority would be to represent the honest, hard-working people of the 2nd district with strong, clear leadership to address the nation’s serious economic and fiscal problems that are preventing job creation for our fellow Mainers and Americans. Our young workers and families continue to leave Maine because there aren’t enough good full-time jobs, or any jobs at all. Both Washington and Maine can build a better business climate to foster economic growth that will result in more and better jobs by limiting the size and intrusiveness of government; reducing wasteful out-of-control government spending; adopting a credible plan to start paying-off debt; lowering taxes; eliminating unnecessary and costly regulations; fully developing our domestic energy resources to drive down the price of electricity, gas, and heating oil; and replacing Obamacare with a real world market-based solution to the costly health insurance crisis.”
What do you bring to the table that the other GOP candidates do not?
“I’m the only candidate in the race, both Republican and Democrat, with proven government and real world business experience. As Maine State Treasurer, I advanced fiscal discipline across state government, helping to eliminate $1.7 billion of public pension debt and rooting out wasteful government spending at the Maine State Housing Authority and elsewhere. During my 35 years in the real world economy, I’ve started and managed a number of successful businesses that have employed hundreds of workers. I understand how our economy and the financial markets work. My real world experience best prepares me to address head-on the government overspending, crushing debt, and lack of jobs that is hurting the hard-working families of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and eroding their economic and personal liberties.”
What do you think are the most serious challenges facing Maine and the United States?
“The lack of good jobs is the most serious challenge facing Maine and America. This can be corrected by electing experienced individuals to represent us in Washington, Augusta, and city hall who will create incentives for entrepreneurs to invest their capital, start new businesses or grow their existing companies, and hire more workers. This will rebuild an America where hard work, risk-taking, and personal responsibility are rewarded – where jobs are plentiful and welfare is the exception. By growing our real world economy and creating more jobs, tax revenues will increase. This will enable government to best care for those truly in need. Government works best with a thriving real world economy. Our elected officials can help put us on this path of more prosperity, more freedom, and better lives.
Why do you want to be a congressman?
“I want to help change the direction that career politicians in Washington are leading our country. The current direction is wrong and is hurting Maine families. Mainers need more jobs. Washington’s continuous overspending and surging $17 trillion mountain of debt are driving up taxes and smothering economic growth. The cost and uncertainty of Obamacare, piles of complex regulations, and high energy prices are also discouraging businesses from hiring more workers. An intrusive IRS and expanding government dependency make the situation worse. My business and government experience have prepared me to help address these serious problems. My personal values reflect those of the honest and hard-working people of Maine’s 2nd Congressional District.”
What makes you the best person to take on a Democrat in the general election?
“For forty years, Augusta Democrats led Maine down Washington’s path of ever-expanding government with high taxes and mountains of debt to pay for it. In 2010, we Republicans began reversing that unhealthy direction and laying the cornerstones for economic growth, more jobs, and more freedom. During my term as Maine State Treasurer, I was a strong, principled voice of fiscal discipline and common sense solutions for our serious challenges. That’s the same voice and hard work I’ll bring to Washington on behalf of the deserving people of central, western, northern and downeast Maine.
“We cannot afford the send another liberal, big-spending career politician to Washington. Someone who tells us what he or she thinks we want to hear to get elected, or re-elected, instead of making the tough decisions and doing what is right. My proven government and real world experience gives me the best opportunity to return Maine’s 2nd District Congressional seat to Republican hands. It’s time for a principled Maine Republican to help straighten out the mess in Washington, not become part of it.”
Maine Wire Reporter