AUBURN — A longtime physician hopes to win a state Senate seat this year in an open district that Republican Eric Brakey has represented for the past four years.

Edmund “Ned” Claxton, 68, said his familiarity with health care and the struggles of his patients give him a unique perspective that would benefit Mainers.

Claxton, a Democrat, faces a tough race against Republican Ellie Espling of New Gloucester, who is also seeking the 20th District seat that Brakey is giving up to run for the U.S. Senate. Espling is the assistant minority leader in the Maine House.

Claxton said he doesn’t have much experience in the big political world, but joked that he’s been involved in “a lot of small ‘p’ politics” in the hospital and elsewhere over the years.

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He said it’s important to listen to what people have to say, something patients have trusted him with for almost four decades as a family doctor in the Auburn area.

“I will bring that same commitment to representing the residents and communities of our district — listening, learning and leading in an effort to find common ground and better solutions to pressing issues affecting so many Maine residents,” he said.

Claxton said, “If the time and energy that now goes into staking out and defending positions were used instead to listen and work together, it would be much easier to move in positive directions benefiting all.”

He said he’s a Democrat in part because he thinks the party has, over time, “done a better job” of paying attention to the needs of ordinary people.

Claxton said he’s been at the State House often over the years, so he’s familiar with what he’s getting into. He said politics has always been something he’s been interested in, even taking off a semester during college to work for a candidate.

But since establishing the Family Healthcare Associates practice in Auburn with Dr. Peter Elias back in 1978, he’s focused mostly on medicine and his family.

“My familiarity with the complexities of health care issues, experience in starting and growing a medical practice, and record of being a trusted listener will all help me contribute to the challenging work of our citizen Legislature,” Claxton said.

A native of Massachusetts, Claxton earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, secured his medical doctorate at the University of Cincinnati and finished his family practice training at the University of Minnesota.

He moved to Maine shortly afterward and hasn’t left.

Named the first Maine Family Physician of the Year by the Maine Academy of Family Physicians, Claxton has a long resume of professional achievements, including holding such posts as president of the medical staff at Central Maine Medical Center and co-chairman of the Lewiston/Auburn Public Health Steering Committee. He was a board member and adviser to the Maine Public Health Association.

He has also provided long-term medical support for community events such as the local Dempsey Challenge and the annual Beach to Beacon race in Cape Elizabeth.

Claxton enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking and snowshoeing, helps to maintain trails at Thorncrag and Woodbury sanctuaries for the Stanton Bird Club, monitors conservation easements for the Androscoggin Land Trust and provides trail education for hikers in the White Mountain National Forest.

A longtime member of the First Universalist Church in Auburn, he sings in its choir and delivers food from Hannaford supermarkets each week to the Trinity Jubilee Center in Lewiston.

He and his wife, Marian (Kitsie), a former hospice chaplain with Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice, have two adult sons, Nick and Will, who attended Auburn schools.

The 20th District includes Auburn, New Gloucester, Poland, Minot and Mechanic Falls. The general election is Nov. 6.

scollins@sunjournal.com

Edmund “Ned” Claxton

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