OXFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Rick Bennett has been a significant player in Maine Republican politics for more than 30 years.

He grew up in Yarmouth, the son of a noted author and naturalist named Dean Bennett. He was valedictorian of his Yarmouth High School Class and went on to graduate from Harvard with honors.

"I see myself as a reformer," he said of his effort in politics.

He served two terms in the Maine House and four in the Senate. In 2000, he was President of the Maine Senate.

1994 was a seminal moment in Maine politics. George Mitchell left the Senate.Olympia Snowe stepped up run leaving the 2nd District vacant.

Rick Bennett lost a close race to John Baldacci of Bangor. Bangor is the center and the media capital of that district and name recognition was an important key in that win.

He became the Executive Director of the the Maine Republican Party in 2013. Under his direction, the Republicans have picked up seats in the House, won the 2nd District twice, reelected the Governor and even picked up an Electoral College Vote in the 2nd district.

Rick and his wife Karen have two college age children. His daughter Abbey, a senior at UMaine is the Secretary of the College Republicans National Committee.

Bennett is a serial entrepreneur who has been nationally recognized for his work in corporate governance.