John Jenkins, a former state legislator and mayor of both Lewiston and Auburn, has registered with the Maine Ethics Commission as a candidate for governor in 2018.

Jenkins said public service has been “my calling all along” and he wants to “climb in the ring, get in the arena” and take a shot at the state’s highest office.

“I figured I’d at least try,” the Auburn resident said.

Jenkins, a motivational speaker and martial arts expert, was elected to the state Senate representing Lewiston in 1996. He also won a 2007 write-in campaign to become the mayor of Auburn.

Jenkins, 65, is a New Jersey native but has lived in Maine for decades. He also made a bid as a write-in candidate for governor in 2010, announcing his campaign just eight weeks before the election that was won by Republican Gov. Paul LePage.

An independent, Jenkins becomes the 19th candidate to enter the race for the Blaine House.

He said that residents of the Lewiston and Auburn area know that if he succeeds “they would truly have a friend in the Blaine House.”

Jenkins said that used to sit down and shake hands with lots of candidates coming through the area but “many of them forgot us” when they reached Augusta. He said he never will.

Staff Writer Steve Collins contributed to this story.

This story will be updated.

Former Lewiston and Auburn mayor and motivational speaker John Jenkins urges Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School students to be great in 2014. (Sun Journal file photo)

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