Woodcock announces candidacy
Bowdoin graduate Tim Woodcock '74 recently announced his
candidacy to represent the 2nd District of Maine in the United States
House of Representatives. The Bangor native explained that economic hardships,
coupled with increasing domestic problems, sparked the former city councilman's
"I've worked in politics as well as health and social
services and I'm cognizant of the needs that are facing the people [of
Maine]." "We're facing change and we need to prepare for it."
Politically active for over 20 years, Woodcock's interest
in politics took root at an early age when, as a child, he watched the
Kennedy-Nixon race of 1960. "That was such a seminal victory for
someone whom I had great admiration for. I think that race energized a
lot of young people," he said.
Still, Woodcock had no plans on going into politics during
his time at Bowdoin College. A member of fraternity Phi Nu, Woodcock graduated
with a double major in French and History, as well as "an unalloyed
confidence in the value of a liberal arts education."
After receiving a J.D. from the University of Maine, Woodcock
was first drawn to politics as he followed the Watergate hearings, during
which he observed the participation of former Maine Congressman William
Cohen '62. Woodcock was so impressed with Cohen that he went to Washington
to work for the Congressman until 1983, first on his campaigns, then as
an aide and finally heading a small senate committee.
After a brief respite from politics in Bangor, Woodcock
returned to Washington as a federal prosecutor in 1989 where he was called
to serve as an associate counsel during investigations of the Iran-Contra
Upon returning to his native city, Mr. Woodcock took an
interest in local politics and served two terms on the Bangor city council.
He also served on the boards of various developmental, health, and service
organizations. In his involvement in regional politics, Woodcock said
he has become increasingly aware of the grave economic crisis facing the
2nd district, and it was that crisis which sparked his decision to seek
the Republican Party nomination.
"The district has an abundance of natural resources
and resolute people, but in the last ten years there has been a sharp
drop-off in opportunity due to the changing economy. Little has been done
to plan for the changes the new economy will create," Woodcock said.
"Northern Maine has traditionally had a terrific advantage
in logging and other industries due to its natural waterways and coastal
access. In recent years, though, the industries that have been the mainstay
of our economy have begun to fold and there is not enough opportunity
to attract youth. What we're seeing is a mass emigration of an entire
generation. The implications of this are staggering."
"Teenagers and young adults are leaving to find jobs
elsewhere," Woodcock explained. "As a result, populations are
declining and there is an unbelievable strain on the economy." The
falling population and stagnation of the economy have had widespread degenerative
effects. The district's infrastructure has become increasingly expensive
to support and so in the last few years the property taxes for a dropping
population have risen astronomically.
As a result of the demographic changes, health-care premiums
and Medicare costs are rising and becoming unmanageable for rural areas
with disappearing economic backbones.
"Maine is in another period of economic transition,"
he said. "The problem is that we have no plan to deal with it and
the situation has reached a point where it's unrealistic to speak about
long-term solutions without first reinvigorating the economy.
In the past, the federal government has evaluated economically
distressed regions and coordinated the giving of aid. I think that's what
needs to happen here."
Woodcock also acknowledges that the problems facing the
2nd district do not end with economics. "There is also a wide-range
of domestic issues that need to be dealt with. Also, after September 11,
Maine has been put in a unique position. In recent years border funding
has decreased in spite of increasing traffic from Canada. In the wake
of [the attacks] we will need to find a balance between commercial needs
and national security."
In the face of the challenges, however, Woodcock remains optimistic. He noted that this is not the first transition that the economy of northern Maine has undergone, and, despite those transitions, the area has regained its prosperity. "It will take work," he admits, "but if proper measures are taken, life will be breathed back into the economy. Bowdoin's emblem is the eastern sun, and that symbol remains very much a part of Maine."