AUGUSTA – To the legions of Mainers who follow high school basketball, Chandler Woodcock’s name may ring a bell. As coach, he led the Mount Blue girls’ team to successive Class A state championships in 1999 and 2000.

Now a three-term state senator from Farmington, Woodcock is on a different quest: He wants to be Maine’s first Republican governor since John McKernan left office after 1994.

His sportsmanlike approach to the race may be best illustrated by Woodcock’s reference to his two GOP rivals, Peter Mills and David Emery, during the party’s state convention: “I am humbled to share this campaign with two fine public servants, Peter and David. Gentlemen, I can’t wish you luck, but I do wish you well.”

Born in 1949 in Mechanic Falls, Woodcock grew up in Farmington and after graduating from high school served in the Army in Vietnam. Woodcock later attended the University of Maine and after graduation taught English at high schools in Livermore Falls, Skowhegan and Mount Blue in Farmington.

Woodcock, who has been married for 32 years and has four grown children, stresses his family’s deep roots in Maine. His father worked in a western Maine plant that made toothpicks, and his grandfather worked on Maine’s log drives. His great-great grandfather was a sea captain from Portland.

His parents, both veterans of World War II, instilled “traditional family values that have shaped my life,” says Woodcock.

“I’m a guy who has a lot in common with the average Mainer. My experiences as a husband, father, teacher, coach and veteran are similar those of the voters who will decide this election,” said Woodcock.

Asked if he represents a conservative option for Republicans, Woodcock said that choice is for Republican voters and he doesn’t use labels.

He decided to run because “I strongly believe that Maine can do better.”

“As a senator, I have had an opportunity to view state government up close, and I think it needs a change of attitude,” said Woodcock. “Government needs to be more humble.”

In the Senate, Woodcock is recognizable by his agreeable demeanor as well as his trademark bow tie.

During his second term, Woodcock served as assistant GOP leader. His public service includes five years as a Farmington selectman, one term as chairman.

Woodcock enjoys hunting and fishing, writing poetry, painting with watercolors and playing the guitar. He is also a lay minister.

On the Net:

Woodcock campaign:

AP-ES-05-22-06 1320EDT