June/July 2006


Richard Holden from Wilton, Maine. Photo by Ramona du Houx

By Ramona du Houx

Richard Holden is running for state Senate because he believes that he can, “Make Maine a better place and keep Maine’s quality of life.”

Holden is concerned that traditional jobs in Maine have been lost and is against agreements like NAFTA. “Trade agreements have to be fair for workers in all countries. With more and more jobs being outsourced, traditional industries have suffered,” said Holden. “The paper company I work in has transitioned with computers, and they specialize in their product line. That’s how mills are surviving.”

The mill he has worked at for 25 years produces paper for magazines and textbooks.

“Small businesses are intrinsic to Maine and need all the help we can give them,” said Holden. At the same time Holden believes taxes have to be maintained at a balanced level so that people who need help will continue to receive it. “Our social contract needs to be met. My daughter had a bad time in her life, and without the help of Maine’s social services I don’t think she’d be sitting here with us. I’m grateful for all the state does.”

Holden is a union man and believes any business has a responsibility to look after its personnel.

“Any business reflects how you treat your workers. You’re only as good as the people you employ,” said Holden. “That’s why Dirigo Health is good for Maine. It is giving employers the opportunity to look after their workers for a decent price.”

“Most of the time you only hear about something bad in the press. If you go into a restaurant on any given night, hundreds of people are served and satisfied. But one person might complain. The press takes that one complaint and makes the restaurant look bad. I think that’s wrong. That’s not the entire story. I feel that’s happened with Dirigo,” said Holden. “Dirigo is a good first step. One lady I talked to said that she was waiting for her insurance company to get back to her on her coverage for ages, due to billing codes. Then she called up Dirigo and there wasn’t any wait. If you’re sick you can’t wait around.”

Holden is a family man with two grown children, Matthew and Sandel. Matthew is a Democrat who has chosen to serve his country as a second lieutenant in intelligence, in the Army. Sandel works for an insurance company. “I’m an extremely proud father.”

His parents grew up in the depression, “My parents never let us five children lose sight of that; I think it’s important to always remember where you came from. It molds your character.” Holden grew up in rural poverty; his mother was French Canadian and his father an Anglo Saxon Protestant. “At times we experienced bigotry, and that’s why I strongly believe that diversity is a great strength. It’s not the Maine way, to discriminate. In rural Maine neighbors help neighbors; we all need to — everywhere.”

Holden is a man of Maine, and holds traditional values that “make Maine — Maine.”

He has a strong work ethic and a belief that, “if you get up, work hard, are true to your values, every day progress will be made.”

With a BA in philosophy and a minor in American History from the University of Massachusetts, Holden is trained in analytical thinking. He’s not a man that would easily be swayed in his opinion. “I know there will be lobbyists after my vote, but that is something I really am strongly against. I’m not for sale. If I go to Augusta I’ll be standing up for my constituents and what is best for my state.”

“FDR [President Roosevelt] was the greatest Democrat we ever had,” said Holden. “LBJ’s [President Johnson] war on poverty influenced me. Of course, Ed Muskie’s fight for the environment with the nation’s Clean Water Act has had a huge impact on me. There are fish in Maine rivers again, and bald eagles.”

Holden is tackling his campaign like he would tackle the challenges in Maine’s Senate. He researches everything thoroughly, analyzes what he has discovered, remains true to his principles, and then takes action. “You have to take a reasoned approach in order to get things accomplished,” said Holden.