AUGUSTA – David Emery was barely out of college when his political career started in 1970, but says his fascination with politics really goes back to when he was a 9-year-old and his mother walked him into a state Republican office in his hometown of Rockland.
“I remember being fascinated with the buttons, stickers and banners,” said the 57-year-old Emery, now a candidate for the GOP gubernatorial nomination. By high school, he was active with the teenage Republicans.
It’s been pretty much all politics since then, either in public roles or behind the scenes.
Even though he does not currently hold an elective office, Emery is a familiar figure around the State House, working as a political consultant or representing the Republicans in redrawing the state’s political boundaries, as he did in 1993 and 2003.
As a candidate for governor, the 6-foot-2, deliberately spoken engineer stresses his ties to the Reagan administration, experience in Congress and, in more recent years, his close ties to his home state.
After high school, Emery went to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts where he earned an electrical engineering degree. While still a senior, he launched his political career and won election to the Legislature in 1970.
After serving two terms in the Maine House, Emery in 1974 was elected to represent Maine’s 1st District in the U.S. House, serving on committees dealing with naval and fisheries issues. As chief deputy GOP whip for a term, he helped to secure votes for President Ronald Reagan’s initiatives.
Emery was the Republican candidate in 1982 for Maine’s U.S. Senate seat held by George Mitchell, but was defeated by the Democrat. Emery returned to Washington, serving in the Reagan administration as deputy director of the U.S. Arms and Disarmament Agency.
He credits that experience “for teaching me how to manage extremely complex and controversial issues when the stakes are very high and the margin of error is very small,” attributes he says are key in his latest endeavor.
Though Emery has never worked in engineering, Emery has varied interests outside of politics. He writes software in five languages, is an amateur astronomer, enjoys fishing and hunting (he shot his first moose last fall) and reading history.
Emery, born in Rockland in 1948, also enjoys golf, noting that his father was well-known locally for his skill at the sport. “The only thing I inherited was the golf bag, not the talent,” Emery said with a chuckle.
He is married to Carol Emery, a Rockland attorney and probate judge, and his son Albert is studying electrical engineering at Georgia Tech.
On the Net:
Emery campaign: www.emeryforgovernor.com/