Manchester, Maine, Local 1837 member Kevin O’Connell has been a lot of things throughout his career. Now he can add “member of the state House of Representatives” to his résumé.
Manchester, Maine, Local 1837 member Kevin O’Connell won a special election on March 3 to serve in the Main House of Representatives.
“I’ve known Kevin for a long time. He knows what it’s like to be a working person,” said Local 1837 Business Manager Dick Rogers. “I’ll think he’ll do a great job for the people of our state.”
O’Connell won a special election on March 3 to fill a seat that became vacant when the current office holder, Rep. Arthur “Archie” Verow, passed away from a heart attack in December.
A lineman with Emera for 30 years, O’Connell has served in other public service roles including two terms as mayor of Brewer, a city that sits in the boundary of the House District O’Connell now represents. He’s also been a city councilor, a school board member and served on a number of other boards and committees.
“I’m proud to carry on the legacy of service that was so important to Archie,” said O’Connell to Local 1837. “In him, we had a representative that represented the values of this city. I am committed to doing my best to be that person for Brewer.”
Brother O’Connell, who also served in the Maine Air National Guard for 24 years, will bring something unique to the lower chamber in the Pine Tree State: a working person’s worldview.
“I look forward to sharing my blue-collar perspective,” O’Connell said.
O’Connell racked up 1,403 votes to his Republican rival’s 1,017 on election night, reported the Bangor Daily News. In classic IBEW fashion, he was back at work the day after his win.
“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” he said. “I just know that I was on my feet for 13 hours on Election Day and then it was time for work the next day.”
O’Connell campaigned on housing, infrastructure investments, including fixing public roads, and making health care more affordable and accessible. With friends on both sides of the aisle, he says he’s looking forward to getting to work in Augusta.
“Kevin recognizes the importance of unions, and of contracts, and that’s something that benefits all working men and women,” Rogers said.
While the opportunity came at an unexpected time, O’Connell says he’s been thinking about running for the House seat for a while but didn’t want to do so until the seat was no longer occupied by Verow. Now he can bring his unique combination of experience to the legislative process.
“There’s a lot you’ve got to consider when thinking about running, but I advocate for any union brother or sister to get involved in politics, at any level,” O’Connell said. “The more our voices are heard, the better.”