Maine Senate President Michael Thibodeau, R-Winterport

Maine Senate President Mike Thibodeau announced Tuesday he would join the race for governor in 2018.

Thibodeau, of Winterport, is the fourth Republican to enter the race to replace Gov. Paul LePage, who is finishing his second term.

Thibodeau, 51, who has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature for his leadership and willingness to compromise on several key issues, especially the state’s two-year budget, made his announcement during an appearance on the Bangor-based WVOM radio show hosted by Ric Tyler and George Hale.

Thibodeau said his goal in running for governor is to improve Maine’s economy and provide an opportunity for young people to stay in the state.

“We have watched too many of our young people leave the state searching for a brighter economic future,” Thibodeau said. As governor, Thibodeau said he would work to attract businesses to Maine.

“Maine is a special place,” Thibodeau said. “We have some of the greatest small cities in the entire nation and there’s no reason for these companies not to be here.”

Thibodeau said his campaign would be run by former state Senate President Kevin Raye and Bob Emrich, a pastor from Plymouth.

“This is our time to fight for the future of our state,” Thibodeau said in a prepared statement released moments after the radio announcement. “We need to come together to rein in the growth of government not only to preserve Maine’s unique way of life, but to protect our freedoms. We need to continue to improve our economy, create more jobs, and educate our children so they can live and work here at home.”

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