Is Cindy Bullens the first Grammy-nominated musician to run for Maine Senate? Certainly, she’s the first to have toured with Elton John, right? Regardless, Bullens says she’s trying to keep her music career separate from her Democratic run to represent District 11, which stretches up the coast from Falmouth to Cumberland to Yarmouth, includes Long and Chebeague islands, and moves inland to North Yarmouth and Gray.
“I’m not saying to myself, ‘great, now I can write my own campaign song,’” she says. “In my mind I’m really separating the two. However, if my persona, I guess, as a musician is helpful — well, we’ll find out. Obviously, some people know who I am because of that.” Also, she says, the qualities that make a good songwriter (and she is one, having written or co-written a number of pop and country hits) also make a good politician: empathetic, a good listener, observant, a good storyteller.
“The experiences I’ve had up to now have been so broad and so deep that I feel that I can bring a perspective that maybe another candidate or legislator can’t,” she says. Bullens lost her daughter to cancer, for example, and has used to that fuel both the Jessie Bullens-Crewe Fund, which raises money to fight cancer, as well as a campaign to help doctors and hospice care-givers understand the needs of parents and family members of cancer patients.
Unsurprisingly, considering her work with sick children, education and health care are at the top of her issues list. “We need to present the best education that we possibly can,” she says, “including higher education, so students want to stay in Maine and create jobs. Everything stems back to education, and I feel very strongly about that.” She’s also, however, “a small business owner,” she says, “and I’m self-employed. I work hard and I have very deep concerns about the issues that face us all as Mainers.”
Of course, should she win her battle against Green candidate Chris Miller and incumbent Republican Gerald Davis, there might be a crimp put in her performance and recording schedule, but Bullens is unconcerned. “Believe me,” she says, “this decision did not come lightly. This has been thought out and scrutinized, and there is compromise that comes with it. I’ve got a new CD coming out June 29, my first one in five years, and the record company knows what I’m doing and is supportive of it. I’ve said in no uncertain terms that I’m running, and I’m running hard. I’ve already cleared my calendar for the campaign. I’m running to win.”
Bullens intends to run as a Maine Clean Elections Act candidate, and is in the process of gathering her 175 $5 contributions by April 21.