Stephen “Bubba” Davis stands on the wharf at Watson’s General Store in Cundy’s Harbor. (J.W. OLIVER PHOTO)
Republican Stephen W. “Bubba” Davis, a lifelong resident of Cundy’s Harbor, will run for the Maine House of Representatives for a second time in 2022.
“I grew up right in the harbor,” Davis said. “I’m a native son of Harpswell.”
His grandfather was a fisherman and his father was a fisherman, as well as a shipfitter at Bath Iron Works. Davis followed his father into both careers, starting with fishing at age 10.
After three years at Brunswick High School, Davis was a member of the first class to graduate from Mt. Ararat High School in 1974.
He went on to work 37 years at Bath Iron Works. Hired as a shipfitter, he spent all but six years of his BIW career as a lean engineer and supervisor.
As a lean engineer, “you try to drive waste out of a process,” he said. He devoted much of his time to the development of ergonomic tools, with a goal of reducing injuries in the workforce. His work contributed to a reduction in repetitive-motion injuries, as well as eye and respiratory problems.
Early in his career, he would fish in the morning and work the second shift at BIW at night. On those days, he would start work at 5 a.m. and return home at 1 or 2 a.m. the following morning.
He retired from BIW in 2018, but works for himself as a pogy fisherman and for Watson’s General Store in Cundy’s Harbor as a lobster buyer. He sometimes crews for other fishermen as well.
“I’ll go dragging. I’ll go lobster fishing. I’ll go pogy fishing. Whatever they want me to do, I’m hands-on,” he said.
He thinks fishermen need a fisherman to advocate for them in Augusta, someone who talks to them every day and understands their concerns.
Davis has a long history as a coach of youth sports, including baseball, football, hockey and track. He believes in youth sports as a character builder, he said.
Highlights of his coaching career include a trip to the Class B state championship with the Morse High School football team in 2008. Davis was doing triple duty as defensive coordinator, offensive line coach and special teams coach.
Davis does not have prior experience in government, except for his previous run for House and a run for selectman. He lost his 2020 bid to unseat three-term state Rep. Jay McCreight by a vote of 3,705-2,663, according to official results from the Maine Secretary of State’s Office.
McCreight cannot run again because of term limits. Cheryl Golek and Sheila Menair, both of Harpswell, are seeking the Democratic nomination.
The House district has changed too. Davis ran in District 51 — Harpswell, West Bath and part of Brunswick. The state shuffles the districts every decade to account for population changes. Harpswell is now part of House District 99, along with part of Brunswick.
Davis feels like he owes a second run to the people who voted for him. “I don’t want to run for office once and just kind of go lay down,” he said.
He believes he can attract voters of any party, as well as independents. He said that some Democrats told him that they voted for him in 2020. “They grew up with me. They know who I am. They know that I will kick the shit pail to see what comes out of it,” he said.
He hopes voters will cross party lines to support him again.
“Vote for the person that you think can do the job that you want them to do,” he said. “Don’t vote for them because they’re a Democrat. Don’t vote for them because they’re Republican or independent or Green Party.”
As a legislator, Davis said that he would listen to his constituents and advocate for them, even when he disagrees with them.
“I have my own opinion. … But there’s going to come a day when I have to take something to Augusta that I might not agree with,” he said. “But you know what? You, as one of the people, brought it to me, so I need to lug it. I need to carry the stone, whether I agree with it or not.”
Davis lives on Grover Lane with his wife, Debbie. He has two children and two stepchildren, as well as three granddaughters. An outdoorsman, he enjoys ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter, often at his camp in Aroostook County.