John Jenkins, a former mayor of Lewiston and Auburn, is eyeing elected office in yet another Maine municipality.

Jenkins, a member of the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame, said Monday he is interested in filling a vacant slot as a selectmen for the town of Owls Head on the Maine coast.

Voters will decide at a town meeting Aug. 27 who should fill a vacancy on the board for a term that expires in 2020, Town Clerk Susan Wilson said Monday. There is another seat up for election as well, but incumbent Thomas Van Malder hopes to retain it.

Jenkins, who is also waging a low-key write-in campaign for governor, said in a prepared statement that there are “forces at work that continue to guide/nudge me along this path of serving the community based on my acquired and given service-leadership skills.”

He said, though, “At first, our gubernatorial write-in effort seemed like a long shot.  Now, our campaign continues to gain attention and support from voters who want a proven leadership choice.”

Jenkins, 66, got into politics in Lewiston in 1993 after graduating from Bates College and opening a martial arts academy in the city. He won a mayoral election by a wide margin and was reelected.


He later became the first African-American to win a state Senate seat in Maine’s history.

A decade later, he won an election as Auburn’s mayor, the first person to serve as the leader of both of the twin cities. He was reelected as a write-in candidate, but when he tried to run for governor in 2010 as a write-in, he garnered few votes.

He moved to Owls Head a few years ago when he began teaching at the Lincoln Academy in Damariscotta. He has since opened a martial arts academy in Rockland.

Owls Head is a town of about 1,600 people on Penobscot Bay in Knox County, just south of Rockland.

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John Jenkins (Photo provided)

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