‘Waldo County is where I’m from, it’s who I am and it is the future of my family’

Erin Herbig announces Maine Senate run to Belfast crowd

Posted:  Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 1:30pm

BELFAST — House Majority Leader Erin Herbig, D-Belfast, announced her plans to run for Maine State Senate to a crowd of supporters Jan. 2, gathered at French and Webb, a local boat builder, on Belfast Harbor.

The seat is currently held by Senator Mike Thibodeau, who will not be running again due to term limits.

Approximately 150 people gathered to hear the announcement, with supporters continuing to trickle in even as Herbig’s speech was underway.

Flanked on either side by veterans holding ‘Vote Herbig’ signs, Herbig was introduced to the crowd by Jim Roberts and other members of the Randall Collins VFW Post 3108 and the Women’s Auxillary.

“Erin is an ally, a strong voice for veterans in our community, a person who has helped us in our mission to remember, honor, and teach,” Roberts said. “Her voice and leadership in Augusta has brought to the forefront issues and causes important to the daily lives of all veterans here in Maine.”

Herbig’s husband and children also joined her onstage while she spoke to an enthusiastic crowd.

“Waldo County is where I’m from, it’s who I am and it is the future of my family,” Herbig said.

She spoke briefly about growing up in the area — the school dances, ice fishing, and summers on Swan Lake — before talking about the issues faced by rural Mainers and how she would work to address those issues.

A fifth generation daughter of Waldo County poultry farmers, Herbig has taken on the issues of rural Maine, family-friendly businesses and working families statewide, according to a campaign press release.

“I’m running for the Maine State Senate because I want to see more of our children, like my son, Charles, and my daughter, Anna, and all our children stay in Waldo County because we have better jobs and better opportunities than other states,” she said. “I want Waldo County to be the envy of every family in Maine because we work at good jobs for great employers, live right down the road from our families and know our economy will last for generations.”

The draw of Waldo County is one well understood by Geir Gasneidnes, Herbig’s campaign manager. 

Originally from Norway, but living in California for approximately the last decade, Gasneidnes and his wife spent summers in Belfast before deciding there was nowhere the two would rather be. 

“I’ve been living in Waldo County for about three years and love it,” he said. 

Gasneidnes got involved with the campaign in an effort to help the community he loves get even better, and said Herbig impressed him immediately. 

“I would describe her as one of the most hard working people I’ve seen since I came here,” he said. “She just takes the small steps and the ibg steps, and she takes them all with the utmost care and I really respect that in her. And she moves bills forward and she reaches across the aisle at the voting booth and in Augusta, and I think that’s sort of necessary right now, and it’s sort of unusual.”

Herbig is currently in her fourth term in the Maine House of Representatives, representing House District 97, which includes Belfast, Northport, and Waldo.

Herbig also serves as the House Chair of the Legislature’s Workforce Development Committee and the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee.

She lives in Belfast with her husband Joe and their two children. 

Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com