BATH — State Rep. Thomas R. Watson, D-Bath, plans to resign six months before the end of his final term in Augusta to work for the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board.
Watson said on Tuesday that he plans to resign effective May 3.
“I’m not really leaving Bath out in the cold,” he said. “The chances of (the Legislature) going into special session are very limited. … We took a lot of pain to pass some bills this session that would (otherwise) have required a special session.”
In the event that a special session is called, Watson said, Bath is still represented by Rep. Peter Kent, D-Woolwich, and Sen. Seth Goodall, D-Richmond.
The municipality decides whether an interim replacement is necessary, Watson explained. “If they care to hold a special election, they can petition and ask for one,” he said. “But it’s at municipal expense.”
Bath City Manager Bill Giroux said on Wednesday that he is not concerned about Watson’s early departure, since the Legislature is not currently in session and a new representative will be elected in District 62 in November, since Watson is prevented from seeking re-election because of term limits.
“(Watson) certainly will be missed,” Giroux said. “He’s been a champion for Bath, and he was always there when we needed help in Augusta.”
Watson said he has to leave the House early in order to meet the immediate vacancy at the state board. He will serve as senior staff attorney and be in charge of the employee advocate division, a group of lawyers and paralegals who represent injured employees.
He said he applied for the position when he learned the senior staff attorney is resigning.
Watson has practiced workers’ compensation law for almost 30 years.
“Now I’m supervising a bunch of state employees who are doing the same thing,” he said.
Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.