Run Solo Run: Profile of David Levesque, Candidate for Maine State Senate District 13

 Welcome to the MyShingle profile series, Run Solo Run where we feature solo and small law firm owners running for office. Today, we’re pleased to feature David Levesque, owner of Levesque Law, a general civil practice firm in Damariscotta, Maine. Levesque is a candidate for Maine State Senate District 13 in the Democratic Primary election which will be held June 14, 2022. Levesque’s campaign website is https://levesqueformaine.mainecandidates.com/.

Thank you for participating in this series. What position are you running for?

State Senator: Maine State Senate District 13

Have you held office before, or is this your first campaign?

This is my third campaign.  I ran for the Maine House of Representatives in 2020 and lost in a three-way primary.  In 2021, I ran for a one-year term on my town’s select board and won that race.

What made you decide to run for this position?

I often found myself saying there ought to be a law about some particular issue while also complaining that various laws are poorly written.  Then it appeared to me that I have the professional experience and leadership skills to be an effective legislator so I should stop complaining and do something to address big issues in my state.

Can you summarize a few key points of your platform?

I am concerned about the lack of affordable healthcare, the severe effects of climate change, and the overwhelming number of overdose deaths and mental health issues.  Also, I am for a strong pre-K through 16 public education system.

What steps are involved in launching a run in your district/for your office?

First, I had to register as a candidate with the Maine Ethics Commission.  Next, I had to obtain 100 signatures of Democratic registered voters from my district to get my name on the ballot.

Maine has a clean election system so candidates may opt to run as a Clean Election Candidate (as opposed to a traditionally funded candidate) and receive public money to fund the candidate’s campaign.  I am running as a Clean Election Candidate.  To qualify for Clean Election funds, I had to collect 175 $5 contributions from voters in my district. 

So candidates can have funds to kickoff a campaign and pay expenses before certification as a Clean Election Candidate, candidates may collect up to $3,000 in seed money in donations not larger than $100 from anyone who is a United States citizen.

What kinds of activities are you engaged in to get the word out about your run?

I participated in a few candidate forums, had supporters submit letters to the editor to the local newspapers, and I am using social media.  The most important thing I am doing to get the word out is knocking on doors throughout the district, introducing myself, and listening to what is on the minds of voters.

How time-consuming is your campaign, and is it tough to balance with your law practice?

My campaign is very time-consuming.  I am spending 20 to 30 hours a week and sometimes more on the campaign.  It has been tough balancing the campaign, my law practice and family commitments.  Fortunately, my office staff (associate attorney, law clerk and paralegal) has been helpful in serving my clients and my family has been supportive even when the campaign is getting most of my attention.

What kind of support have you had from other lawyers? 

Lawyers have given me seed money donations to get the campaign going and $5 donations to help me qualify for public funds.

How has your experience as an attorney and/or a law firm owner been an asset in running for office?

Since I have practiced out of an office in the district for 23 years I am well known and have had the opportunity to serve on many boards and committees.  Voters appear to like the fact that as the owner of my law practice, I understand the struggles of a small business owner. 

My critical thinking and communication skills and the ability to think on my feet has been invaluable.  Given these skills, attorneys are specifically suited to run for public office and serve in local and state government.

For those of us who have lawyer friends and colleagues running for office, how can we support them?

Making a campaign financial contribution is always helpful.  However, support can be given in many other ways:  writing letters to the editor of local newspapers, hosting house parties to introduce the candidate to your network of family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues, driving the candidate, phone banking, posting signs, and more.  Please ask how you can help, I am sure the candidate will have these and other ideas of how you could help.

What advice can you give to other law firm owners who may be thinking about running for office or becoming more politically involved?

Build a good team in your office that you can count on to serve your clients and manage your clients’ expectations regarding your availability. Then build a strong and reliable campaign team.  Also, do not forget to reach out to other attorneys, like me, and ask them about their experiences.