AUGUSTA — After falling short in his gubernatorial run, Democratic state Sen. Mark Dion of Portland said Thursday he hopes to be chosen as Maine’s next attorney general.
Dion, a Lewiston native, said that competing in the Democratic primary made him realize he would like to serve as the state’s top legal officer where he can serve the public as “a bridge builder” who can work with the Legislature and the next governor.
The attorney general is one of three statewide positions chosen every two years by the Legislature.
During the campaign, Dion said he would prefer to have the public elect the attorney general instead of relying on lawmakers to pick somebody.
He said that instead of having legislators make the choice, it would be far better to give the people the power to make the decision. That would take a constitutional amendment.
Dion said that when the Legislature picks someone for the job, it’s intrinsically a “highly partisan” move and leaves the attorney general without a foundation of wide public backing.
A statewide election would make it easier for an attorney general to speak with authority as a more non-partisan official who can articulate public policy that’s not beholden to lawmakers, he said.
In addition, Dion said, having an elected attorney general would also offer “a good platform to develop future state leaders” that doesn’t exist in the same way now.
The other statewide posts picked by legislators are the treasurer and secretary of state.
Dion, a retired Portland police officer and ex-sheriff of Cumberland County, has a law degree from the University of Maine School of Law.
In 2010, he co-chaired the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety and the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology.
“I’ve spent eight years in the Legislature and I believe that I’ve established a reputation as a collaborator, as a problem-solver,” Dion said in a prepared statement.
“I think this experience is exactly what Maine needs in its next attorney general.
There are no other contenders for attorney general. The Legislature will pick someone in December.
Mark Dion (Courtesy photo)