Friday, January 7, 2022

Plummer to seek return to Maine State Senate

By Ed Pierce

A familiar face has thrown his hat in the ring to succeed Bill Diamond in representing Windham in the Maine State Senate.

Republican Gary Plummer has announced his intention to campaign for Windham’s District 26 Senate seat this fall to replace incumbent Democrat Sen. Bill Diamond, who is term limited. Plummer has extensive experience serving in the Maine Legislature, including as a state representative and a state senator.

Former State Rep. and State Sen. Gary Plummer, a Republican,
will seek Windham's District 26 State Senate seat this fall, in
an election to replace Sen. Bill Diamond, who is term limited.
“A year ago, I didn’t want to run, I’m retired,” Plummer said. “My wife told me I needed to run for Maine Senate. I can bring something there, which is experience. I know the system and I know the people. Deciding to run has been a slow process for me, but I can do it and I’m in it to win.”

A 1964 graduate of Windham High School, Plummer says he first became interested in politics while attending Dirigo Boys State as a high school junior in 1963. After graduation, he went on to earn a degree in education from Gorham State Teachers College and spent 13 years teaching in Standish before joining Manchester School as an elementary school teacher in 1982.

Plummer was asked by his former biology teacher at Windham High, Bob Hunt, to help serve on a committee examining if Windham should establish its own police force in the mid-1970s and it gave him insight into the workings of town government.

That knowledge expanded further when a referendum converting Windham government to the Council-Town Manager system was passed by voters. Hunt suggested to Plummer that he should run for town council, and he was elected to a council seat in November 1974.

“I loved being a town councilor,” Plummer said. “I liked building and creating the town government we know today. I cast the deciding vote breaking a 3-3 tie to create the Windham Police Department. But after serving eight years on the council things became more routine and the excitement of doing something new started to go away.”

He then ran for Cumberland County Commission and was elected for several four-year terms as a county commissioner.

“It was an enjoyable experience, and I learned a great deal about public safety,” Plummer said. “During my time as a commissioner, we helped transition the position of corrections officer to a career rather than just be a stepping stone to other law enforcement positions.”

His friend, State Rep. David Tobin of Windham, informed Plummer that he would not be running for re-election and Plummer, who had retired as a teacher by then, campaigned and won election as State Representative for Windham in 2004, serving eight years in that role before running and serving one term as Windham’s state senator from 2012 to 2014.

“It was an honor I never took lightly,” Plummer said. “It was a steep learning curve at first. Going from dealing with issues in town government to the politics in Augusta was challenging. My first term was an eye-opening experience. I didn’t expect everything to be so political. But I learned to work with people to get things done.”

Plummer says his willingness to work with others to accomplish legislation that benefits the residents of Windham and everyone in Maine is needed in Augusta and having someone with experience is critical right now.

“I can work with just about everyone,” Plummer said.

District 26 has been redrawn by the Maine Legislature and now encompasses Casco, Frye Island, Windham, Raymond, and now a portion of Westbrook. Currently no other challengers have stepped forward to run for the Republican nomination for the state senate seat, but if there is, a primary election will be conducted in June.

He lives in Windham with his wife Betty in a home his grandparents built on land they bought in 1910. His first wife died and between them, he and Betty have four children, five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

His interests include antique automobiles and Plummer is the proud owner of 1965 Ford Mustang and a 1949 Ford F-150 pickup truck, close to the one he learned to drive on as a teen in his father’s hayfield.

“I like just about anything regarding history,” he said. “I volunteer with the Windham Historical Society and helped to establish the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Program.”

Plummer said that he has spoken with Diamond about continuing to champion child welfare issues in the state and if elected, he would also focus on resolving domestic violence issues in Maine.

“A lot needs to be done,” he said. “I am also looking to help address the drug issues in our state and making sure the right individuals are chosen to serve as school resource officers.” <  

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