Bruce Poliquin

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Bruce Poliquin
49th Treasurer of Maine
In office
2011–2013
Governor Paul LePage
Preceded by David Lemoine
Succeeded by Neria Douglass
Personal details
Born (1953-11-01) November 1, 1953 (age 60)
Waterville, Maine, U.S.
Political party Republican
Residence Oakland, Maine
Alma mater Harvard University
Website Campaign website

Bruce Poliquin (born November 1, 1953) is a Maine politician and investor. From 2011 to 2013, he was the State Treasurer of Maine.[1] He was a candidate for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate in 2012, finishing second in the primary election.

Poliquin is the Republican nominee for Maine's 2nd congressional district in the 2014 general election.[2]

Personal[edit]

Poliquin was born and raised in Waterville, Maine. He grew up in a family of French-Canadian ancestry, where his father was a school principal and his mother was a nurse [1]. He received a scholarship to attend Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and later attended Harvard University, where he studied economics, graduating in 1976. After leaving Harvard, Poliquin entered private business, including a position with Harris Trust and Savings Bank in Chicago.[1] In 1989, he married Jane Carpenter, whom he had known in Waterville, but she died in a swimming accident three years later. He has one son.

Gubernatorial campaign[edit]

In 2010, Poliquin sought the Maine Republican Party's nomination for Governor of Maine. He spent $711,000 of his own money and over $798,000 in total, but finished sixth of the seven candidates behind winner Paul LePage. After his unsuccessful bid, Poliquin campaigned strongly for LePage, calling him a true fiscal conservative.[3] Following the election of Republican Paul LePage in November 2010, Poliquin was elected by the state legislature to serve as state Treasurer.[3]

State Treasurer[edit]

In the fall 2011, Poliquin criticized the Maine State Housing Authority for its plans to underwrite federal tax credits to redevelop an historic property in Portland's West End, 68 High Street. The vacant lot at 66 High Street and 68 High Street were planned to turn into Elm Terrace, a low-income facility with 38 units. Poliquin criticized the proposed unit price of $314,000. Dale McCormick, the authority's director and an appointee by Democratic Governor John Baldacci, approved the proposal following a reduction in the per unit price to $265,000. McCormick noted that the average per unit cost in the West End was approximately $220,000 and the building had to be rebuilt to include elevators and other code requirements, while Poliquin argued that it was better and more cost effective to place low income housing on the outskirts of towns and cities.[4]

In February of 2012, Poliquin faced criticism from Democrats over allegations that he conducted commerce while serving as State Treasurer, which would have been a violation of Article V, Part 3 of the Maine Constitution. One allegation involved his ownership of the Popham Beach Club, a private club in Phippsburg, where he appeared before the Planning Board in a matter involving the club. A second alleged instance of commerce involved his real estate company Dirigo Holdings LLC. Maine Attorney General William Schneider advised Poliquin to disassociate himself from his business ventures but did not offer an opinion as to whether he had actually violated the Constitution. The Maine Legislature, after pressure from Democrats, voted 122-0 to send the matter to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court for review, but the Court declined to do so. [5] [6]

Also that month, Poliquin faced criticism from the left over his use of the Tree Growth Tax Program, a program meant to preserve forestland from development pressures for commercial timber harvesting, with 10 acres of his oceanfront property in Georgetown. The program reduced the value of his property from the originally assessed $1.8 million to $725,500, resulting in Poliquin paying $30 a year in property taxes on the otherwise valuable land.[7] A Maine Forest Service report in 2009 discussed Poliquin's property as an example of a property that may not be fully complying with the law, stating that restrictions on timber harvesting in shoreland areas would limit any commercial use of the land. They did state, however, that as long as the property was 10 acres, it could remain in the program. [8]

Poliquin later transferred the property in question to the Open Space program, a less generous tax abatement program. The Georgetown Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the transfer, and declined to pursue penalties for removing the property from Tree Growth. Poliquin denied that he took his actions due to any alleged improper use of the Tree Growth program, and stated that the issue was a distraction for Georgetown and was politically motivated due to Democrats' dissatisfaction with his policies as Treasurer.[7]

At the end of his term, Poliquin wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News with a list of his offices' accomplishments as Treasurer. These included reforms to the state workers' pension plan, efforts to reduce the cost of affordable housing, reduced wasteful spending, and retention of the state's Aa2 bond rating, among other initiatives. [9]

Post-Treasurer career[edit]

In March 2012, Poliquin announced he would be running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Olympia Snowe.[10] He lost the Republican primary to Charlie Summers, who himself lost to Independent former Gov. Angus King.

Poliquin stated on July 10, 2013 that he was not interested in becoming the Chairman of the Maine Republican Party, despite encouragement to do so from many Republicans, including Gov. LePage. [11]

2014 Congressional campaign[edit]

In August 2013, Poliquin announced that he would seek the Maine Republican Party's nomination for the Second Congressional District.[12] [13]

Poliquin won the primary election against former Maine Senate President Kevin Raye and will face Democratic State Senator Emily Cain and unenrolled retired Navy captain Blaine Richardson in the general election.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Maine Office of the State Treasurer: About Us: Treasurer's Biography". Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  2. ^ a b "GOP’s Bruce Poliquin wins 2nd Congressional District primary". Bangor Daily News. 2014-06-10. Retrieved 2014-06-11. 
  3. ^ a b Miller, Kevin (November 21, 2010). "As legislators pick state officers, LePage endorsement for treasurer irks some". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Miller, Kevin (December 11, 2011). "Controversial Elm Terrace development gets OK at $265K per uni". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 12 December 2011. 
  5. ^ Russell, Eric (March 1, 2012). "Maine House asks high court to look into Treasurer Poliquin’s business dealings". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  6. ^ Russell, Eric (March 29, 2012). "Maine Supreme Court says it won’t rule in Poliquin complaint". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 4 January 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Mistler, Steve (June 27, 2012). "Poliquin to transfer land to different tax-break program". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Cover, Susan (February 2, 2012). "Poliquin property tax relief questioned". Kennebec Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  9. ^ Poliquin, Bruce (January 5, 2013). "Thanks from Maine Treasurer". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 7 January 2013. 
  10. ^ http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/213915-maines-gop-state-treasurer-to-run-for-snowe-seat%7Ctitle=Maine's GOP state treasurer to run for Snow seat|last=Lederman|first=Josh|date=2 March 2012
  11. ^ Cousins, Christopher (July 10, 2013). "Bruce Poliquin rebuffs efforts to recruit him as Maine Republican Party chairman". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved July 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Poliquin to enter race for Congress on Monday". Bangor Daily News. 2013-08-25. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  13. ^ Cousins, Christopher (2013-12-03). "Thibodeau considering run for 2nd Congressional District seat". Bangordailynews.com. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 

External links[edit]