A Bowdoin businessman is seeking the Republication nomination for Maine Senate District 23, which includes Dresden in Lincoln County and all of Sagadahoc County.
Guy Lebida is not a politician, he said, but he decided to challenge the incumbent candidate, Sen. Linda Baker, R-Topsham, out of concern about her voting record.
The vice chairman of the Sagadahoc County Republican Committee, Lebida said Baker’s voting record is not in keeping with the platform of the Republican Party. “She voted the opposite of how she said she would,” Lebida said.
Baker’s vote in favor of granting general assistance to asylum seekers was one of the last straws for Lebida, and solidified his decision to challenge Baker.
“One of the most important issues this country faces is security, and we’re giving welfare to asylum seekers who are not properly vetted,” Lebida said. Citing statements by FBI Director James Comey about an FBI investigation into Islamic State supporters that spans all 50 states, Lebida said he is fearful “violence is going to come” to Maine.
“I’m concerned for my security, for my family and my children,” Lebida said.
Lebida describes himself as a constitutional conservative Christian, and stands by the Republican Party’s platform in Maine, which calls for a free-market capitalist system that embraces right-to-work laws, individual liberties, local government, local control of education, family values, and fiscal restraint and accountability, among other values.
A former builder, general contractor, and land developer, Lebida was the owner of Our Father’s Business Inc. and Lebida the Builder before his retirement.
He was formerly the owner and developer of Stone Haven Cottages in Bar Harbor and is the current owner of Bowdoin Pines Manufactured Housing Community in Bowdoin.
He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and is active with his church and the Sagadahoc County Republican Committee. One of 11 children, Lebida grew up in Pennsylvania. His parents, Polish immigrants, worked hard to support the family, which they were able to do without welfare, he said.
“Back then people worked hard and looked after each other,” Lebida said. “People depended on each other” and not the government, Lebida said. “Look how much that’s changed. It’s scary … that’s why I’m getting involved.”
According to Lebida, some of the divisiveness occurring in the Republican Party is due to Republican politicians voting against the platform of their party. “I’m not against people running for office,” Lebida said, “but I think some people run under the wrong party.”
Lebida said he would like to institute in the Republican Party platform a pledge that all Republican candidates will abide by the party’s platform. His campaign is devoted to educating Republicans about the voting record of Republican politicians. “I’m not singling out Baker, but it’s clear how she’s voting,” Lebida said.
In addition to knocking on Republican doors in the district he hopes to represent, Lebida is compiling the voting record of Republicans currently in the Legislature and publishing it on his Facebook page and website.
The response to his campaign has been incredibly positive, Lebida said. “It’s been really good,” he said. “I love talking to people and I love listening to people.”
“My name is well-known in Sagadahoc County,” he said. “People know when I say something I will follow through. My word is my bond.”
The primary vote to determine the Republican nomination for Senate District 23 is June 14.
Former Sen. Eloise Vitelli is seeking a return to the Legislature as the Democratic candidate.