ALLAGASH — State Sen. Troy Jackson announced Monday he will make a bid for the U.S. Congress.

Jackson, a northern Maine Democrat and assistant majority in leader in the state Senate, was recently the brunt of vulgar criticisms uttered by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

Jackson will seek the 2nd Congressional District seat of U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, also a Democrat. Michaud has formed an exploratory committee and has started collecting campaign cash for a run at the governor’s office in 2014.

“While serving in the state Legislature and in my positions of leadership, I’ve brought people together to do what’s right. I’ve tried to lead by example, to stand up for what’s equitable,” Jackson said in a written statement. “Sometimes I’ve come up a vote or two short, but I’ve always come back to try again and to act responsibly and respectfully.” 

Jackson has supported gun-owner rights and backed the expansion of Medicaid in Maine in 2013. As a logger, he has been a longtime advocate for Maine’s timber industry.

While LePage’s June comments drew heat from pundits and politicians, he and Jackson have a long-standing political rivalry.

Jackson co-sponsored legislation that would have made any single-term governor ineligible for a state pension. The bill was seen as a direct attack against LePage and did not prevail in the Legislature.

In his announcement Monday, Jackson took a shot at Republicans in Washington and LePage.

“Republicans in Congress have been acting just like our governor here in Maine,” Jackson said. “I want to bring a dose of reality and working experience to Washington. When I talk about living wages, job opportunities, education opportunities, and health care coverage, I’m speaking from my own life experience and from the experience of hardworking Mainers across the state.”

Also announcing his campaign for Congress on Monday was Maine House Assistant Minority Leader Alex Willette, R-Mapleton. 

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