Citing a desire to devote more attention to her professional work, House District 43 Representative Jayne Crosby Giles announced Feb. 22 that she would not seek re-election. City Councilor and fellow Republican Lewis Baker has announced his intent to run for Giles’ seat, as has Democrat Erin Herbig. House District 43 covers Belfast, Belmont and Northport.

“I went into this with eyes wide open, that this was going to take a lot of time away from family, and my husband has been very supportive,” said Giles, adding that her employer, Machias Savings Bank, where Giles is employed as a vice president and commercial banking officer, has also been supportive of her work in the Legislature.

“You can put 40 to 50 hours into one job, but to turn around and do another the same… I want to be sure what I’m doing, I’m doing well,” she said.

In a press release, Giles said she plans to “actively campaign for business-oriented candidates in the 2010 elections.”

Giles is involved with the gubernatorial campaign of Maine & Company CEO Matt Jacobson, in part because of the company’s role in recruiting large employers athenahealth, Boston Financial Data Services and International Wood Fuels — the wood pellet maker that has announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in Burnham — to the area.

The deadline for party candidates to file nomination papers with the Secretary of State is Monday, March 15. Party primaries will be held Tuesday, June 8. Candidates not enrolled in a political party have until June 1 to file papers to get on the Nov. 2 general election ballot along with the winners of the party primaries.

Though there may be additional candidates, Giles said she plans to endorse Mike Thibodeau in the race for the District 23 Senate seat currently held by Carol Weston. Weston, who has served four terms, is barred from seeking an additional term by the state’s term limits law. Thibodeau will face competition from Democratic House District 45 representative John Piotti of Unity, who is seeking the Senate seat after running up against his own term limit. Piotti is currently serving as House Majority Leader.

In Giles’ own district, she is waiting to see the full slate of candidates. She described Baker as a “very well-qualified candidate,” with a “very pragmatic way of looking at the issues.” Giles said she has yet to meet Herbig.

Baker, who currently sits on the Belfast City Council, saw the open District 43 seat as a challenge and an opportunity.

“I’ve done, I think, the best that I could [on the Council], he said. “I think Jayne [Crosby Giles] has done a good job. I’d like to try it myself.”

Baker is completing his first term on the City Council and will not seek re-election. Prior to the Council, he served on the Belfast Planning Board, the SAD 34 school board, and the Belfast zoning board of appeals. In 2000-01 he was involved with a campaign to bring Wal-Mart to Belfast and in 2004 he was a spokesman for a petition drive that created a big-box-friendly zoning district — since eliminated — on the East Side. “I’ve been at the forefront of most of the efforts to bring business to Belfast,” he said.

As a legislator, Baker said he would seek to decrease spending rather than raise taxes. He also said he would continue to focus on jobs and business, as he has over the past 10 years in Belfast. “It’s no secret, the economy is going to be the big issue this year.”

Herbig, a community organizer and self-described moderate, also sees jobs and the economy as a major issue in Maine — one that could potentially be solved by an investment in environmentally conscious manufacturing.

“With Maine having a strong manufacturing history, looking forward, we seem to be in a fortunate position [to take advantage of] green manufacturing in the future,” she said.

Herbig said it will be critical to stop the “brain drain” — the flight of younger residents looking for jobs or education out of state — that Maine has been suffering in recent years.

In other Legislative races, Rep. Andrew O’Brien, D-Lincolnville, is seeking a second term in the House representing District 44, which covers Appleton, Hope, Islesboro, Liberty, Lincolnville, Morrill and Searsmont.

Rep. Veronica Magnan, D-Stockton Springs, is seeking her second term. She represents House District 41, which covers Frankfort, Searsport, Orland, Prospect, Stockton Springs and Verona Island. She will be challenged by Republican James Gilway of Searsport, who serves as Searsport’s town manager.

In the contest for the House District 42 seat being vacated by Thibodeau, three candidates have filed their intent to run. Democrat Joseph Brooks of Winterport, a former legislator, has filed. For the Republicans, former legislator Jeffrey Kaelin and Peter Rioux, both of Winterport, have filed their intent to run.

And in the race for the House District 45 seat being vacated by Piotti, three Republicans from Palermo, Paul Cowing, Ryan Harmon and Peter Sheff, have filed their intent to run.

In county-level politics, Republican Donald Berry Sr. of Belmont has filed his intent to seek another term as a county commissioner from District 1, which represents Belfast, Belmont, Lincolnville, Islesboro and Northport.

District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau — a Republican who serves Knox, Lincoln, Waldo and Sagadahoc counties — said he would seek a fifth consecutive four-year term. He was initially appointed in 1993 by Gov. John McKernan.

State Senate candidates in political parties need to collect at least 100 signatures to get on the ballot. State House candidates need 25 signatures, county commission candidates need 50 signatures and candidates for other county offices need 150 signatures. Non-party candidates need double the number of signatures to get on the fall ballot.