October 14, 2012

Republicans select Hanley for District 59 race

Former SAD 11 school board member, Gardiner library volunteer replaces late candidate

By Paul Koenig pkoenig@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

GARDINER -- Voters in House District 59 will see a familiar last name on the ballot in November for the Maine House of Representatives race.

The Republican Party selected Shirley Hanley as its District 59 House candidate Friday night in the Gardiner City Council chambers, according to party spokesman David Sorensen. The caucus was held to pick a replacement for Daniel Bates, 61, who died of an apparent heart attack on Sept. 29.

Hanley will face Democrat Gay Grant for the seat representing Gardiner and Randolph and held by Rep. Stephen Hanley, who can't seek re-election because of term limits. Rep. Hanley's cousin is Shirley Hanley's husband.

Hanley said she's running because she didn't want to see an uncontested race and would like to see the seat go to the Republican party.

Despite having less than four weeks to campaign, Hanley said she thinks she has a good chance to beat Grant because her last name is well known in the district.

"I'm not thinking it's going to be a challenge. I'm thinking I'm going to win," she said. "I think I have enough friends and people that know me that are going to back me up."

Grant did not respond to phone calls seeking a comment. Before the caucus, Grant said it would be interesting to see what the Republicans can accomplish, since she has been campaigning door-to-door since April and has been well received among voters of all party affiliations.

Hanley didn't specify what she would want to accomplish if elected. "I'm waiting to find out the problems of the community. I'm not thinking big right now, since I just started," she said.

She said she'll start campaigning as soon as she gets printed campaign materials. Her family will help her go door-to-door, but she's not sure how much of that she'll do herself, she said.

Hanley, 77, lives in Randolph with her husband, Peter Hanley. She has eight children, four of whom still live in Maine. She was a stay-at-home-mother and has served on the School Administrative District 11 school board.

Hanley volunteered for 15 years at the Gardiner Public Library, reading to children, and she wrote a children's book, "Horse Memories of Luck Ahead." In 2004, she was honored as Maine's Mother of the Year by American Mothers.

Paul Koenig -- 621-5663

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