LISBON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — Mary Mayhew ended the speculation Tuesday, announcing she is running for governor as a Republican. She was Gov. Paul LePage's commissioner of Health & Human Services until she resigned two weeks ago.
Mayhew made the announcement at Dingley Press in Lisbon, a large catalog printing company now owned by former DHHS deputy finance director Chris Pierce.
Speaking to workers gathered on the plant's working area, Mayhew said she wants to continue the policies of Gov. LePage, including the tax cuts, spending reductions and welfare reforms that she helped to manage.
"We've put Maine back on a solid foundation," Mayhew said.
But she then warned the workers that there will be efforts to roll back those policies after LePage leaves office, and she wants to become governor herself to protect them.
"But there are so many people who want to undo what we've done," she said. "They want to take us backwards. They want to grow government and they want to tax you and take your hard earned money to pay for the cost of growing government."
Mayhew promised she would fight to protect the policies "and not leave the ring."
Mayhew's tenure as commissioner was marked by repeated clashes with Democrats and advocates for low-income people, and that party wasted no time attacking Mayhew's candidacy. A written statement from Democratic Party chairman Phil Bartlett said Mayhew's policies had increased child poverty and caused many Mainers to suffer.
"Mary Mayhew's time as DHHS Commissioner was defined by corruption, incompetence, and wasting money," Bartlett wrote.
» WATCH: Political analysts talk Mayhew candidacy announcement, other potential gubernatorial players
Mayhew is the first big name Republican to join the race for governor, but others have said they are considering it. The list includes former GOP chairman Rick Bennett and state Senate Republican Garrett Mason.
There is speculation U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin might decide to run for governor, and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins has also said she is considering a run in 2018.