September 21, 2018

A broken-down leach field proves that decency still exists by Lorraine Glowczak


Mabel Darby-Morey, the Town of Windham’s zoning and code enforcement coordinator captured John and Linda Gregoire’s belief and experiences in a nutshell. When Linda arrived at the town’s code enforcement office to pick up a permit to re-construct the leach field in their backyard, (which had already been paid), Linda told Darby-Morey the story.  Upon hearing the explanation for the paid permit, Darby-Morey stated, “It’s true. Good people still exist in the world.”

So how does a story about a damaged leach field lead to people who provide positive change in world? The narrative goes something like this:

It all began with an annual community volunteer event, PowerServe. PowerServe has become a yearly event that serves area organizations and individuals who need assistance with various tasks. Prior to the volunteers arriving at the Gregoire’s home for the scheduled service date of Saturday, May 26th, two PowerServe coordinators stopped by to see what the group would need to do and the equipment that would be required to successfully provide the services.

Add caKane Mason and Josh Roux are two people of many who volunteered their time
“That’s when they saw the leach field was wet and said it looked like a problem,” Linda explained. “I told them I thought it probably was a problem, but I couldn’t do much about it. One of the coordinators came in and met John and decided to check things out at Town Hall to see if they could help with a repair on the leach field. Fast forward to Memorial Day and Powerserve came and helped us.”

PowerServe’s yearly support has been valuable to the Gregoire’s. John was diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) 11 years ago and is now wheel-chair bound. Both he and his wife Linda, who assists him in meeting his daily needs, are unable to work on home projects such as the yard work that PowerServe volunteers can provide.

Although it is true for most people that a leach field replacement is not an easy fix, financially or otherwise, it is especially challenging for the Gregoires. “John is now non-mobile and non-verbal, and we simply do not have the time, money or physical resources to repair such damage,” Linda explained.

But, there is good that still exists.

It just so happened that Drew Daigle was a member of the PowerServe volunteer effort. Daigle’s profession is in excavation and he works for a local company, Shaw Earthworks. After many twists, turns and conversations, Daigle, Shaw Earthworks and many others donated their time, money and resources to replace the defective leach field.

“They worked with such precision and talent and everyone was so nice and pleasant,” Linda said, and then added with a laugh, “I told John it is true that we need lawyers and doctors, but this proves we need leach field experts, too.”

Both Linda and John are grateful for the gift they received from all those who donated their time, money and efforts. As a result, they wish to provide their thanks publicly.   

“This is the most amazing blessing to John and me,” Linda began. “We’ve realized for awhile we needed this repair but didn’t have the means to do so. It was always on my mind. When I went to pay for the permit, I was told it was already paid for. God has watched out for us and brought us earthbound angels to help when we needed an extra hand. We are so blessed and there are so many people to thank.”

But the Gregoires also provide their own gift back to the community. “We all go through something,” Linda stated. “It’s what you decide to do with what life gives you that matters.”
In the early years after John’s diagnosis, he and Linda created the non-profit, The Hope-JG Foundation, an ALS charity organization with a focus on establishing an ALS/MS residence in Maine, helping families of ALS to enhance the quality of life for people with ALS.

The organization helps other individuals with ALS, whether it is a new pair of glasses or adding a wheel-chair lift to an individual’s truck. “We serve others whose needs should be met so they can live life as fully as possible,” Linda said.

“Hope-JG gives John a purpose. For John, purpose and serving a higher need is what keeps him alive – alive in spirit and in health despite living with the advanced stages of ALS,” Linda stated.

It is true. Good people doing great things for others does truly still exist today. John and Linda would like to thank the following individuals and organizations:

PowerServe volunteers and coordinators.
Drew Daigle -Lead PowerServe Volunteer.
Brandon Lussier from Pillar to Post for inspecting the leach system before the work was completed.
Mark Hampton who did the design work.
Brad and Brian Shaw of Shaw Earthworks and their employees Kane Mason and Josh Roux.
Arkie Rogers Septic Tank Service.
Carol and Richard Powell for their contribution.

“God bless you all as you have blessed us,” Linda said. “I told John our house has been repaired by love.”

About PowerServe
The first PowerServe event initially began as a one-time occurrence in the spring of 2016 to honor a Windham High School student who had passed away. After the initial volunteer effort, there were many requests for the event to happen on an ongoing basis. It has now become an annual event.
To learn more about the Hope-JG Foundation, visit the website at www.hope-jg.org.



First of monthly Speak Out returns this fall with topic Senator Diamond deems most important by Lorraine Glowczak


After the usual summer hiatus, Senator Bill Diamond will return with co-host Raylene Laura for the 27th year of his monthly Speak Out series. The first in the 2018-19 program will be on Thursday, September 27 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Windham Town Hall Council Chamber Room. The series is televised on local channel 7 as well as on Facebook Live.

The September 27th program’s topic is an issue Diamond believes is imperative and must be confronted and resolved before another young person’s life is taken at the hand of an adult caretaker. “The biggest problem facing the new incoming governor is fixing the broken childcare system,” he began. “It is true that there are many important issues, but I believe this is top priority. Children are being abused every day; even as we speak. And if we don’t find a solution to this problem – and I don’t want to have to say this - but another child’s life will be taken. Action must be taken now.”\

Diamond has invited representatives of the Maine Foster Parent Association as well as a caseworker to be on the September 27th panel to speak on the many complicated variables that contribute to the defective organization. The first half hour of the show will be dedicated to the guests educating the public on the issues they see and face on a daily basis. The second part of the program will be opened to viewers for questions and answers. There will be time for other legislative news to be discussed as well.

As defective as the system is, Diamond makes it very clear that blame should not be placed on the employees at the Maine Department Health and Human Services (DHHS). “It is not their [caseworkers, etc.] fault,” he stated. “They are doing the best they can, with what they have, working under the regulations and restraints imposed upon them at the present time. We can’t solve this problem by blaming them. The system needs to change so they can be successful at implementing it.”
To help solve the issues that children in the DHHS system face, Diamond has created a legislative task force to work year-round to help correct the child care system with the intent that it will begin in the next legislative year. “The purpose of it being a year-round task force is to address the problems immediately as they come up and not until a tragedy occurs,” he explained.

Some concerns addressed on Thursday’s Speak Out will include, but not be limited to the following:

·         When and should children return to their families.
·         Funding for DHHS.
·         The need for more caseworkers and foster families.
·         Foster children with special care needs.
·         The cost to foster parents.
·         Children spending the night with their caseworkers when they have nowhere else to go.

Although everyone is encouraged to attend the Speak Out in person, the series is always live on both channel 7 and Facebook, giving everyone in the Windham community an opportunity to be informed of the latest Maine legislative topics and to call in to ask questions of both the panel guests and Sen. Diamond. If you are a channel 7 audience member, you can call in your concern or questions regarding this subject. The phone number will be given on air. For those who choose to watch on Facebook Live, simply type in your response or question.

If you are interested in learning more about a specific legislative subject or issue and would like it to be a Speak Out topic, contact Senator Diamond at: 207-892-8941, 207-650-4713 and email at billdiamondwindham@gmail.com.

September 14, 2018

For the historical record: The wild woman of Frye Island by Walter Lunt

In 2003 Maine and the nation were captivated by the story of the North Pond Hermit, who lived alone in dense, boulder riddled woods near Rome, Maine northwest of Waterville. Christopher Knight survived by building a secluded and secure campsite and by stealing food and other supplies from nearby cabins and summer camps. He eluded capture for some 27 years until a determined Maine game warden and technology provided by the U.S. Border Patrol rooted out his hiding spot. Knight’s subsequent conviction resulted in jail time, restitution, a court ordered rehabilitation program and probation. His nearly 3-decade adventure spawned a book, a documentary and more recently a possible movie deal.

https://cumberlandfair.com/In 1878 a similar story, with a far less dramatic ending, unfolded along the shores of Frye Island on Sebago Lake. Mabel Knight (no relation to Christopher) recalled the incident in an interview with the Portland Press Herald in 1956. She told her interviewer, “I was only eight at the time of the wild woman scare.” Mrs. Knight, then 85, explained that only one family lived on the island in the late 19th century. It was a farm belonging to Noah Hooper. A large tract had been cleared for planting and there were many farm animals, all of which supplied the large family with food the year ‘round.
“Milk was poured in settling pans that were placed in the cool cellar until thick cream had formed. 

The cream was skimmed off and churned into butter,” Knight explained. The milk, however, started disappearing with only a tiny amount remaining in the bottom of the shallow pans.

One night one of the children, peering out a bedroom window, spotted a woman climbing into a boat and rowing into the darkness toward the Raymond Neck shore. More shadowy sightings followed and more items, including clothing and vegetables, allegedly disappeared, threatening the very survival of the Hooper family over the upcoming winter.

Ultimately, residents on the Neck resolved to help. Men in old (Cumberland and Oxford) canal boats, sail boats and other available vessels surrounded the mile-and-a-half long island and began an almost hand-to-hand march toward the center, all armed with various types of farm implements. No wild woman or otherwise thieving animal was found. According to Knight, “When they realized they were unsuccessful they staged a big picnic and spent the rest of the day in racing, wrestling and other sports.” Her future husband, Charles Knight, was a young member of the search group and enjoyed telling the tale of the hunt for Frye Island’s wild woman for the rest of his years. The mysterious thievery ended on that day, but the story continued to be told for generations.

In his 1996 book, “Historical Gems of Raymond and Casco” historian Earnest Knight speculated that the loneliness and isolation of island living “…could have contributed to fantasy or hallucinations (but)…fact or fake, (it) is still a worthy legend” to pass on.

Sometimes the historical record is an amalgamation of “something happened” and folklore. Not all become the subject of books, documentaries or movies but they are the stuff of good local stories. Pass them on.  <

Sebago Lakes Region Chamber offers two events to improve business marketing and have amazing fun

Join the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce and Adam Goldberg for their quarterly “Eggs and Issues” style event on Tuesday, September 18 from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Spring Meadows Golf Club in Gray. There will be a full breakfast buffet beginning at 7:30 a.m. This event is for all businesses who are trying to find a way boost their marketing strategy. You do not need to be a member of the Chamber to attend.

Goldberg, Vice President of Business Operations for the Maine Mariners will be on hand to help you gain regional exposure and build excitement around your brand.

Come pick the brain of this marketing guru who has been generating buzz for 12 years for different organizations. Most recently, hear how Goldberg is bringing professional hockey back to Maine and turning former Portland Pirate fans into Maine Mariners fans.
http://www.hallimplementco.com/
Mainers are excited at the prospects of a new ECHL team after three years without professional hockey. Hear what the Mariners have in store for fans this year. Learn how their model has succeeded in putting a new spin on Portland hockey.

Goldberg manages all business aspects of the team including ticket sales, sponsorship, marketing, advertising, game presentation among other things. He began with Mariners owner, Comcast Spectacor, in 2006 as the Marketing Coordinator for the Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL hockey). In 2009, he promoted to director of marketing for the Memphis Redbirds (Triple-A baseball). After 4 baseball seasons in Memphis, he was promoted to the director of business development for the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL hockey). Maine is the eighth state that Adam has lived in. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he majored in marketing.

Register for Morning Momentum Online: www.sebagolakeschamber.com or call the Chamber Office 207-892-8265.

And we must not forget the Chamber’s astonishing The Amazing Chase! Everyone had so much fun the past two years with this fun, high-tech mission, that another event will take place again this year on September 22nd!

The Amazing Chase is a team tech adventure race involving a series of challenging team building activities. This adventure involves SMART technology, strategy, finding landmarks, solving clues, trivia, performing tasks, completing physical challenges, and taking photos/videos. A portion of funds raised will go toward the Chamber’s “Feed the Need” initiative and you can earn points before the event by raising money to eliminate hunger in the Sebago Lakes region.

The first event of its kind in Maine, teams will utilize high-tech Apple iPads and experience video, photo, and audio clues as well as multi-media trivia. Drones will capture footage from the air and some players will have Go-Pro cameras for a bird’s eye view of the fun! The entire event will be produced into a feature video for all teams to enjoy!

But there is limited time left to form a team and register or to be a sponsor. If you are an adventure seeker with a competitive sprite, call the chamber office today at 207-892-8265 or register online at www.amazingchasesebago.com/.


Rep. Fay earns highest score on conservation, public health votes


Maine Conservation Voters releases 2018 Environmental Scorecard

AUGUSTA – Rep. Jess Fay, D-Raymond, earned the top score on environmental and public health policy votes in the newly released Maine Conservation Voters’ 2018 Environmental Scorecard.

“Protecting the many lakes and ponds in our region and the state is critical to maintaining our way of life,” said Fay. “The health of our local economy is dependent on our natural environment and water quality.”

The statewide environmental advocacy group took into account nine key bills from the 128th Legislature. The bills included landmark mining protections, banning toxic chemicals in upholstery, raising awareness of arsenic in well water, adding a 5-cent deposit on ‘nip’ liquor bottles in an effort to reduce litter and a $30 million bond proposal to upgrade vital clean water infrastructure.

Lawmakers were also scored on critical solar legislation that ultimately failed when the House fell just two votes shy of overriding the governor’s veto.

View the scorecard online at www.maineconservation.org/scores. You can choose your legislators or search for them by your address in order to view their conservation records through the years and read more about the priority issues MCV scored this year.

Fay is serving her first term in the Maine Legislature and represents part of Casco, part of Poland and part of Raymond.  She serves on the Legislature’s Environment and Natural Resources Committee.


Time for action: lawmakers pass a series of child welfare bills by Senator Bill Diamond


If there is anything that we have learned over the past few months, it's that Maine's child protection
system is badly broken. Instead of focusing our energy on anger and blame, we must focus on how to fix the system immediately. We are running out of time; the health, well-being and lives of Maine children are at stake.

Last week, the Legislature passed a series of bills in an attempt to fill the gaping holes in Maine's child welfare system. Many of these bills offer a direct response to what lawmakers are hearing from caseworkers and information brought to light during the investigation into Maine's child protection system.

My bill will ensure that the Department does not prioritize family reunification over the best interests of a child. This bill clarifies that caseworkers must make reasonable efforts to reunify a child with a family but it's not the priority. While I recognize that family reunification or kinship care - when a child lives with a relative - is often best for the child, these options should obviously not be pursued to the detriment of a child's safety and well-being.

In listening to caseworkers and participating in the investigation, my main concern is that overworked caseworkers, who are often caring for these children in their offices and in some cases hotel rooms, feel the pressure to prematurely reunify families. This could have severe consequences for a child. With my bill, we had a chance to apply some commonsense and shift our priorities to what's best for the child. I think giving caseworkers a little flexibility will allow them to better do their job.

Lawmakers also agreed to ensure DHHS has the resources, funds and staff to keep kids safe by passing a $21 million funding bill. The amended version of this bill directs the Department to upgrade the computer system, up the foster care rates and increase staffing, which includes adding 16 caseworkers. Working in child protection is a tough job. The bill also provides mental health services to those working on the frontline to help with the trauma they experience just trying to save the lives of kids. To reduce the turnover rate and fill more positions, we need to make sure there is adequate pay and support.

Lastly, we also passed two proposals that deal with how the Department accesses information and maintains records. It only makes sense to make sure the Department has access to all the necessary information to identify possible cases of child abuse and determine whether or not a child should remain in that home. This bill will make it easier for caseworkers to do their job.

The passing of this legislation marks the start of our work to repair and rebuild Maine's child welfare system. Maine lawmakers, the Chief Executive and the Department of Health and Human Services still have a lot of work left to guarantee the safety and protection of Maine children. I'm hopeful that the governor will sign these bills into law so the next Legislature has the proper foundation to build a stronger, more robust child welfare system.

On September 27, I will be hosting my monthly cable TV show on channel 7 in Windham. We will be talking with a caseworker about the unseen difficulties of the job. Please tune in and we will be on Facebook live-streaming as well.

As always, please feel free to contact me at diamondhollyd@aol.com or (207) 287-1515 if you have any questions, comments or concerns. I will do my best to keep you updated on what is happening in Augusta and what we are doing to repair Maine's child welfare system so these types of tragedies never happen again.


MSSPA celebrates the hard work of volunteers by Jennifer Davis

Mary Ann Benson on the left

This past Sunday, the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals (MSSPA) was rocking as it welcomed its many volunteers to the farm to celebrate all their hard work over the past year.  This is not the first event at MSSPA to celebrate its volunteers but the first of this caliber.  This year’s event invited a pizza truck that baked pizzas for the volunteers to enjoy in a wood fired oven, awards, and even a plush horse favor for the volunteers to adopt. Over 45 of MSSPAs volunteers were in attendance and a great time was had by all.

MSSPA is a non-profit organization that offers refuge and rehabilitation for abused or neglected horses in Maine. The hope is that the horses that arrive on the farm are adopted but some of the horses live out the remainder of the lives at the farm. The horses are cared for by a compassionate staff and a large group of volunteers. 
 
“In 2017 alone, nearly 400 individuals volunteered over 10,000 hours, which represents 4.8 Full - Time Equivalent (FTE) employees that the Society would otherwise have to hire in order to continue operations,” said Erin Ludwig, Administrative Specialist for MSSPA.  “To celebrate the fabulous volunteer group that MSSPA has, MSSPA held this volunteer appreciation luncheon.” 

The volunteers complete a variety of work while they are at the farm, doing things such as cleaning the horse stalls, feeding the horses, haying fields, etc. When visiting the farm, it is clear that the volunteers have a great deal of passion for what they are doing, evident by the smiles on their faces and how serious they are about doing a good job for the horses.

Mary Ann Benson has been volunteering regularly at MSSPA for the past 11 months. “I retired in 2016 and decided I really wanted to work with animals after spending 45 years working with people in higher education and retail management,” said Benson. “I’ve always loved horses.”  Benson had previously volunteered with the Animal Rescue League as well. “My favorite experience working with the horses is getting to know their individual personalities and quirks,” said Benson. “It has been extremely rewarding watching them recover from the circumstances that brought them to MSSPA. It is truly my happy place,”

Sparky Hurgin on left
Sparky Hurgin has been a volunteer at MSSPA for the past 7 months.  After recently retiring he wanted to volunteer and with prior horse experience he thought MSSPA would be the perfect fit.  “My favorite part of volunteering at MSSPA is seeing the horses being cared for,” said Hurgin.  “Their recovery is phenomenal.” 

Hurkin was in attendance at this past weekend’s event. “Everyone is so appreciative of the volunteers making it such a welcoming place,” Hurgin said. “The volunteer event just highlights how much MSSPA truly appreciates us all.”

Meris J. Bickford, MSSPA CEO and Marilyn L. Goodreau, MSSPA Chairwoman Emeritus both made remarks at the volunteer appreciation luncheon to thank the volunteers.  Robert Sheckler, MSSPA Volunteer Coordinator handed out barn theme awards to some volunteers as well.
MSSPA is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. to the public every day where visitors can tour the farm and meet the horses.  If you or anyone you know are interested in volunteering at MSSPA the volunteer application can be found online at msspa.org/volunteer.  Volunteers must be 16 years of age or older to volunteer alone.  Anyone under the age of 16 will need to be accompanied by a parent.  If you or anyone you know are interested in donating to MSSPA you may do so on their website at MSSPA.org.

September 7, 2018

Windham and Raymond candidates speak on issues

As the mid-term Maine elections begin to take shape, the Windham Eagle news team has reached out to those who are running for either Maine House of Representative or Maine Senate in the Windham and Raymond communities. The intention is to inform voters regarding the important issues candidates believe the area communities face and how they intend to create positive change where needed. The list below is in alphabetical order.


Jessica Fay. Democrat. re-election. Raymond (parts of Casco and Poland). District 66. Maine House of Representative

Representative Jessica Fay is serving her first term in the Maine House of Representatives. Jess serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Environment and Natural Resources.  She is a member of the Maine Legislature’s bipartisan Caucus on Aging, a graduate of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation Emerging Leaders Program, and a member of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.
She owns her own business, Maine Lakes Wedding and Event Florist, and is a member of the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.  She is a Raymond Village Library volunteer and founding member of the Raymond Age-Friendly Community initiative.

Jess is married to husband Kevin and lives with dogs Murphy, Lowell, and Ellis.

­
Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

My family has a multi-generational history of public service: military, elected, civil service, and volunteer. Continuing that tradition of service in my first term has been a privilege.
I’m inspired to run for re-election by the people I’ve met and the needs of the district. By being available to constituents, I’ve identified and begun to address some of these issues, either by connecting people to resources, identifying gaps, or crafting legislation to address a specific need.  Each piece of legislation that I was able to sponsor and have passed into law during my first term was based on local comments, issues, or concerns.  I hope to continue this work on behalf of my constituents in the next Legislature.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue? 

Voters have shared with me personal stories about a range of issues:  affordable healthcare, the opioid epidemic, property taxes, workforce availability, and aging in place. I also hear about education, impacts of climate change, and quality of life concerns. People have a diverse set of experiences which means the issues that are most important to them can be very different.
Addressing these issues is a process. Raising awareness at the state level, connecting a resident to resources to help solve a problem or finding a legislative solution are all parts of that process. As a state representative, I’ve been able to develop laws that can help address a specific issue and improve people’s lives. Advocating for and building coalitions to address the issues that folks are most concerned about is an effective way to address them at the state level.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

Supporting small and Maine based business has been a priority for me. Because I am a business owner myself, I recognize that many folks in business don’t have the time to spend advocating on behalf of their businesses. The state can provide the framework for successful business, provide technical assistance and help with the infrastructure that businesses need to be successful.
One of the first things I did after being elected state representative was to convene a meeting with Legislators from the Lakes Region and the local Chamber of Commerce. The goal was to better understand the issues that businesses in our area were facing. Out of this meeting came several opportunities for business owners to share their concerns with us. I hope to continue this communication and collaboration.
In the same way that issues facing individuals and families are unique to each, businesses also have diverse concerns. However, most of the concerns I hear revolve around workforce. Whether it’s a need for a specific skill set, better training, or availability of workers, workforce issues are a concern for businesses statewide. This is an opportunity to think deeply about what Maine’s economy might look like in the future and how we can educate and retain a workforce that is trained to meet those needs, not just now, but 10 and 20 years from now.

What are some suggestions you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home.

Visitors often remark how beautiful it is here, whether they are from other parts of Maine or from away. I like to remind them that we are close to service centers, employment, we have good schools, and a wonderful sense of community.
We have an excellent quality of life and access to the outdoors. These are all great reasons to stay in Maine, and specifically in Raymond, Casco and Poland.
Affordable housing, availability of true high-speed internet and cost of loan repayment can be barriers for younger people who would otherwise like to live here.
As a state, we can offer better student loan incentives for those who commit to staying in Maine after graduation from either technical education or college. Other states have made this investment and Maine can, too.
As a region we can invest in broadband infrastructure that younger people not only need to do the jobs of the future but have come to expect as a basic requirement for moving to a community.
As the cost of living in southern Maine increases, the Lakes Region can become an option for those who want to stay near Portland, Westbrook or Lewiston and Auburn. We have good schools and if young families can afford to live here and older people can afford to stay here, our communities can remain vibrant.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

Like the issues facing our local community, there isn’t one single issue facing the state, but many interrelated issues that are important in different ways.
If we say the opioid crisis is the most important issue then we must also address healthcare, child welfare, education and workforce issues. If we say the environment and climate change are the most important then we need to address long term planning, public health and infrastructure. If we say our aging population is the most important, then we must address infrastructure, healthcare, workforce and property taxes.
The next legislature, working with a new governor, will need to address each of these issues. How the two branches work together will directly impact the quality of the work that is accomplished. A return to respect for dissenting opinion and a willingness to collaborate to move an issue to resolution using compromise will be essential to finding solutions to the very serious and real problems that we face as a state. I will continue to be committed to civility and coalition building so that we can more effectively address Maine’s challenges.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

It has been a privilege serving the people of Raymond, Poland, and Casco as your State Representative. In my first term I was able to work across the aisle to pass legislation with bipartisan support. I held office hours, attended public meetings, and am accessible and available to constituents. When making decisions on specific bills I listened to public testimony, read policy analysis, and checked in with stakeholders to better understand how they might be affected. I will continue this work in the next Legislature.
People who live in our district have very diverse views and opinions and are sometimes very divided. By working to understand these views, by listening respectfully when anyone weighs in on an issue, I am better able to understand those issues. I have learned a great deal from each person who shared their story with me and I carry those stories with me when I think about how policy impacts our region.
If re-elected, I plan on continuing to work on the issues that impact all of us. I am working on bills to assist older people, to protect our environment, and improve quality of life. The ideas for these bills come directly from people who live in House District 66 and the Lakes Region.
I will continue to work hard on behalf of the people here in Raymond, Poland and Casco, I would be honored to have your vote.

How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

207-415-4218
Facebook: State Representative Jessica Fay, @fay4ME

Gregory E. Foster. Republican Raymond (parts of Casco and Poland). District 66. Maine House of
Representative

Born in Bangor in 1956, I moved to Gray in 1961 with my parents, where I attended Gray-New Gloucester schools. I followed my dad’s footsteps by studying Forestry at UMO. Beginning in 1986, I built my home in Raymond and became a member of the Conservation Commission, then the Ordinance Review Committee and the most recent Comprehensive Plan Committee. I am currently Vice Chairman of the Raymond Planning Board.

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

Since 1980, I have been a practicing licensed forester, first employed by the Maine Forest Service and the Bureau of Public Lands. For approximately 18 months, Augusta’s Harlow building was my office, where I conducted administrative type functions for the Bureau of Public Lands. I learned quite well my way around our state capital and the function of other departments.
Over my career as a forester, I have been active in following, testifying, and assisting in creating legislation effecting the forest community of Maine. Even though I am not currently a legislator, I know many of the players that make things happen in the State House, a result of my career experience and the fact that my dad served three terms as a Representative.
At various levels in the local Republican Party, I have been active for all my adult life.   I have always followed the progress of elections and current political issues from local to national. Several highly respected Republicans in my district asked me to run, as did others.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue?

Nationwide, Maine remains near the bottom of the list in average annual income. This position is one reason why our children leave the state and do not come back, causing Maine to be one of the highest average age states. 
Reducing the cost of Maine government and giving people their money back is the most effective solution. These types of policies over the last eight years have begun turning this situation around, and I support its continuation.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

Relaxing burdens and costs imposed by state government are significant, and I will support legislation which accomplishes that. A government burden example is dictating minimum wage and I would support any effort to relax those mandates. Arbitrary minimum wage causes businesses not to hire young or in-experienced people, hurting both.

What are some suggestions you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home?

There is no better quality of life than living in Maine, especially in the Raymond/Windham area.  Career opportunities are many, as are recreational opportunities from the Atlantic Ocean to the mountains with forests and lakes scattered throughout.
I believe better times are ahead because I think we are going to elect a Republican governor and a legislature that continues moving the state forward. Thanks to Republican leadership, the last eight years have resulted in reduced unemployment to approximately 3%, the Rainy-Day fund is at $170 million or so instead of zero, and the budget has a surplus.  Additionally, state spending has increased over the same period, proving yet again that giving people their money back lifts the economy and fills state coffers.  I am with other conservative leaders who would like to see our income tax eliminated.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

Creating an economic environment where people have a higher retained income. Maine needs a better business climate to attract and retain businesses. Lower business costs will result in their ability to pay higher wages. 

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

With my parents, I have owned and operated my own business for 26 years, generating all my own work. Practical work experience such as this makes me the best candidate to create a better business climate for Maine. The three biggest issues are:
1)      Government over-reach
2)      High cost of Government
3)      High cost of living

How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

Cell Phone- (207) 272-4270
Facebook- Greg Foster for Maine House District 66


Susan M.W. Austin. Republican. Re-election. Raymond. District 67. Maine House of Representative.

Survey was not available at time of publication. If you wish to reach out to Rep. Austin, she can be reached at the following contact information:

Home Telephone: (207) 657-4100
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900
  




Anne Gass. Independent. Raymond. District 67. Maine House of Representative.

I've been married to Rick Leavitt for 30 years and we have two children: Silas (28) and Emma (26). Over the last 30 years I've invested over 1,000 hours in Gray as a volunteer, most recently as founder and chair of the Bike-Ped Committee, member of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition and the League of Women Voters. 

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

As a 30-year resident of Gray I’ve invested over 1,000 hours volunteering on the school board, other town committees, doing land conservation, and bike/pedestrian safety planning. I’m also a small business owner. I have a passion for serving my community and want to put my skills and experience to work for District 67.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue?

Families are struggling with health care costs that are rising more quickly than their incomes. This makes it hard for Maine to hold on to- or attract- young families. I think we need to start with expanding Medicaid as the people of Maine have said they wanted and look for other ways to provide at least basic health care services to everyone.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

Honestly, I think my answer is the same the above question. Why do we burden our small business owners with being the gatekeepers for health insurance? It makes no sense, especially as fewer and fewer businesses can afford to offer it to their employers. Providing access to basic health care would make it easier for people to start and maintain their businesses.

What are some suggestion you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home?

Beyond health care, another concern I hear frequently is the high cost of post-secondary education, and student loan debt. College debt in the $40- $100K range is crushing for a young person starting out. Some sort of help with debt relief in exchange for working and living in town might help. Building affordable housing for 20-somethings that is walkable or bikeable to work, shopping and other amenities is another strategy.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

In essence, we’re exporting one of our most valuable natural resources, our young people. These are our future workers and innovators. To keep them, we need to offer affordable health care, housing that’s more walkable/bikeable to work and amenities, help with post-secondary education and training that doesn’t saddle them with crushing debt. Maine’s future depends on getting this right.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

I’m a fiscally responsible, common sense independent who cares more about people and communities than parties and political power. I’m an experienced, effective problem solver who can help make things happen in Augusta. Health care, student loan debt, and protecting Maine’s environment- including addressing climate change seriously- are three big issues for me.

 How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

Anne B. Gass
232 N. Raymond Road
Gray, ME  04039
(o) 207/657-4935
(c) 207/650-4369
agassmaine@gmail.com
Facebook: @AnneGass - District67
Web: www.annegassfordist67.com


Mark Bryant. Democrat. Re-election. Windham. District 24. Maine House of Representatives

I am the current State Representative for Windham House District 24. 
I have lived on the Albion Road in Windham with my wife, Diane, for over 30 years.  We have raised three sons and currently are blessed with four grandchildren, all of whom live locally.
I am a co-founder of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors and a member of the Windham Historical Society. I have coached Windham youth sports, moderated the town meeting, chaired the Windham Human Services Committee and held many volunteer roles in the community.

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Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

 I am qualified to represent the citizens of Windham in Augusta as I have learned so much while working in the legislature. I listen to my constituents and bring forward their concerns. I can work with all parties in a respectful manner. I was inspired to run to continue the work of the people.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue?

I feel the most important issue facing our district is substance use disorder and overdose deaths. This crisis affects not only families but our community as a whole.  It saddens me to see young people’s lives being cut short so soon.
I believe more education for our youth is needed to prevent drug use.  We need access to more treatment centers in Maine and to provide law enforcement with the tools needed to combat the crisis.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

The success of small businesses is vital to the Windham area. I encourage all to shop and dine at our local businesses.  I will help them by bringing their concerns forward to make sure they are heard and acted on.

What are some suggestion you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home?

I am proud that our three adult sons have chosen to make this area their home to live and work.  It is a great place to raise a family. I believe promoting the quality of life and the natural resources in our area are a huge inspiration to stay in the community.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

I believe the most important single issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing is affordable quality health care. Maine has an aging population with many chronic conditions to manage. It is important to take care of the people’s health in a cost effective way.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

I have a proven record of listening and acting on the concerns to help the people of the Windham area. I am able to have civil discourse with all members of the state legislature and treat others with respect.

My three biggest issues are affordable quality health care, education and living wage jobs.

How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

The best way for a citizens to contact me is in the manner that is most comfortable for them, especially for those reaching out to me for the first time. I am available by many forms of communication: Email markbryantwindham@gmail.com, Home Phone (207)892-6591, U.S Post Office (166 Albion Road), and face to face.

Thomas Tyler. Republican. Windham. District 24. Maine House of Representatives

I am a lifelong resident of Windham and have been active in community service for over 50 years.  My wife, Sandy and I celebrated 50 years of marriage in August this year. We have 2 children and 3 grandchildren. Currently I am the Vice Chairperson of the Cross Insurance Arena Board of Trustees. I also serve on the Board of Directors for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and the Board of Visitation for the Cumberland County Jail. In the past I was a member of the Windham Fire Department for over 20 years having served many of those years as Deputy Chief. 

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Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

I have served in both the 117th and the 126th Maine legislatures. I have the background in both business and the political worlds to make a difference in Augusta.  My inspiration comes from the fact that my opponent has consistently voted to push Maine politics further and further to the left.  We need people in the legislature that can work to get representatives and senators back to middle ground to get things done for the people of Maine, not stalemates like we have seen.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue?

Without question the big issue is jobs that pay well enough for young workers to want to stay here to live. Job training and high-quality affordable education is highly necessary. With my background in the business arena, I feel we can achieve goals for tuition reimbursement programs.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

Having worked in local businesses and being a small business owner, tax burdens and regulations for small business are way over the top.  We need to work to lessen the tax weight and streamline the regulation process so businesses can invest and grow. Bring in more large companies like WEX and Idexx. Big companies need a lot of support from small business to support them and their workers.

What are some suggestion you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home?

We live in one of the safest states in the nation.  By working with our graduates to lessen the burden of college expenses, create job training programs that are affordable while seeking to bring new companies to Maine, we can offer young people opportunities to stay.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

Bring and grow business to Maine. By doing this state income grows, personal income grows all leading to be able to support our elderly population, our veterans and our most needy. We need to stop trying to tax the “hell” out of our workers and businesses. People and business that have more money in their pockets will spend more, sales tax income will rise and problems get solved.  Any businessman will tell you cash flow is where it at.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

Well-paying jobs thru business growth
Care for our elder population and veterans.
Affordable education to allow our youth to stay and grow our great state.

How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

My Cell is 207-831-8533


 Jennie Butler. Democrat. Windham. District 25. Maine House of Representatives.

I was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in Bath, Maine. I earned a BA in Mathematics from the University of Maine and a MS in Education from USM. I taught math at the high school level for 31 years and part-time at USM for 3 years. Brian Butler and I have been married for 34 years and have two adult sons.
I was a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics for many years. I am currently a member of the Maine Education Association/National Education Association and have been since 1983 when I first started teaching.
Volunteering over the years: St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, Windham Recreation Department Advisory Board, Downeast Ski Club, Schooner Harvey Gamage, Maine State Music Theater Usher, Windham Ski Teams – founder and volunteer assistant coach, Windham Athletic Boosters, Boy Scouts – den leader, committee chair, merit badge counselor.

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

I have either worked or lived in Windham since 1987 and have seen firsthand how our community has grown. I am passionate about education and the future of Windham and Maine. I will listen to all the people of Windham and work for them in Augusta.
I am running for office because I am concerned about public education, aging in place, and a balanced approach to budgeting. In recent years, school funding costs have been shifted to our local school district and as a result, our property taxes have risen substantially. I retired from teaching four years ago to help care for my aging mother who lives with us. After her stroke, I could not work the needed 55+ hours per week as a teacher. Windham and our state need more efficient coordinated services for our elderly to help them age in place.

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue?

As I am talking to people at their doors, I hear that they are concerned about continually increasing property taxes. This is happening in part because of cost shifting or cuts from the state level. The revenue sharing program to cities/town which started in the 1970s is supposed to provide revenue annually but it isn’t included in as revenue for Windham’s budget because they don’t feel they can count on it. Maine is spending about 9% less for education on the state level than it did in 2008. Windham/Raymond is receiving about $1.5 million less in state funding than it did in 10 years ago. Our school spending per pupil is one of the lowest in Cumberland County and it is less than the state average. Maine spends less per pupil than any other New England state. Even with these fiscal challenges, Windham/Raymond had the highest graduation rate in the state in 2015 for districts with over 3000 students! For this next year, Windham/Raymond is losing about $1.1 million compared to last year in state funding in part because the state decided to use the 2 most recent years of property value data instead of 3. Since property values here are increasing, this means we lost more state funding than it should have using the Essential Services and Program formula. Maine voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of supporting education funding at the 55% level more than once and we haven’t come close to that yet.

With a budget surplus at the state level, some of that surplus revenue should go back to the cities/towns to help give Mainers relief from rising property taxes. The Maine Legislature needs to make sure that programs that provide revenue for education are efficient.  As your Representative, I pledge that I will do everything I can to eliminate wasteful spending and to ensure that our schools get the funding they deserve.



From a state perspective we need to make sure that businesses have good quality and affordable broadband. We need to make sure that education opportunities and resources are available to business owners and employees. We need to continue to promote shopping local. One local idea for the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce is to set up a gift card/certificate program that can be purchased then used at participating local businesses. https://visitbath.com/programs/gift-of-bath/ 


Windham/Raymond is in a perfect location that combines good job opportunities and a great quality of life and recreational options. People who live in Windham/Raymond commute to Portland, Lewiston/Auburn, and other places in southern and midcoast Maine. Maine should provide incentives that help repay or forgive student loans for a long term commitment to living and working in Maine.



Maine is going to have a crisis of not enough workers in the very near future if we don’t do something about it. We need to improve the infrastructure of opportunity which includes excellent education, access to affordable and quality healthcare, and tax relief for the middle class.
Education opportunities are part of this infrastructure. Maine needs to provide a well-rounded education for jobs which will bring young families to Windham/Raymond. Education is needed for good paying jobs which include skilled trades and for jobs that don’t exist yet. High schools need to encourage Maine high school graduates to explore apprenticeships and other educational opportunities for the skilled trades. As an educator of over 30 years, I will listen to business owners and educators to make sure the future education needs of Maine are addressed.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

The voters of District 25 should vote for me because I am concerned about public education, aging in place, and a balanced approach to budgeting which should provide relief for the middle class.
I taught high school mathematics for 31 years, 27 years in Windham. I always encouraged my students to reach their full potential. I believe it is crucial to invest in education. All students in Maine need opportunities to be successful and have role models both in and out of the classroom. Excellent Pre-K through post-secondary education no matter what zip code is how Maine will keep and attract younger people. Augusta needs to live up to the will of the voters and fully fund education at the 55% level.
I am deeply committed to finding strategies to help Maine residents age in place, especially since becoming a caregiver myself. I retired from teaching full time four years ago to care for my mother who had a stroke. She has lived with us for many years but is no longer able to accomplish many everyday tasks. I was fortunate to be able to retire and help her, knowing many others are not able to do that. Maine is among the states with the oldest median age in the country so these situations are going to be even more common.
We need to be fiscally responsible. All expenditures must be assessed for true need and not just based on past practices. Our towns and middle-class citizens need relief. We need to examine and increase our revenue sources.
We chose to live in Windham and raise our family here because of the excellent school system, small town community feel and close proximity to recreational activities. We want others to have this opportunity too!

How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

207-893-1849
Facebook: Jennie Butler for Maine House District 25
Webpage: jenniebutlerwindham.com

Patrick Corey. Republican. Re-election. Windham. District 25. Maine House of Representatives

My wife Sheila and I live in the home she grew up in on the River Road. I am a self-employed creative director that builds brands, websites, and marketing materials. I currently sit on the Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors board and previously have done volunteer work for the Windham Land Trust as a board member and Windham Historical Society.

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Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

I still have a great deal left to do. People ask me what I enjoy most about the people’s work in Augusta and I tell them doing good committee work and helping my constituents bring about positive change. I’ve had the fortune of serving on some great committees over the past four years including Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Criminal Justice and Public Safety, and the committee that looked at recreational cannabis this past session. Constituents have also entrusted me with bringing forth legislation to make Maine a better place.
I’d say that my biggest qualifications are my ability to successfully shepherd legislation through the process, willingness to stand out on my own when the moment calls for it, and dedication to being in my seat to work and vote. I’ve maintained a 100% voting and attendance record to date. I’ve never let anything take me away from the people’s business outside of doing other work for the people.



I’ve heard from many constituents that Windham’s growth is their biggest concern: they feel like Windham is losing its rural character and they are concerned about how this could affect their property taxes. At the state level, there are conservation and tax programs that can be used as tools to preserve open space in some areas of town while we are growing in others. Over the years I have supported and worked for these programs. I also participated on the last Comprehensive Plan Review Team which took an in-depth look at Windham’s growth going forward.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

By understanding that many of Maine's small business owners do not have some of the advantages larger corporations see. Small businesses face challenges in how they are organized (i.e., tax filing, assets, and liability), access to capital, workforce availability, purchasing power, and efficiency. There is a great deal of legislation to help and promote Maine’s small businesses and it’s important to get behind these efforts. I belong to the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.

What are some suggestion you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home?

Windham and Raymond graduates have an excellent opportunity to bring vibrancy to the region and help shape its growth. This is so important because they are rooted here, are already connected to their community, and can bring skill sets tomorrow’s businesses desperately need. There are real opportunities for these graduates to become the next generation of leaders.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

Maine’s stagnant population growth combined with our aging demographics. Retiring baby boomers are leaving their jobs and it’s challenging to find people to fill those jobs. This is happening throughout New England putting us in competition with our neighbors. Opportunity for young people comes in good pay, lower taxes, education affordability, and career options where there is room for growth when they’re starting out. Maine needs to become more competitive.



I have experience making law and doing it in a bipartisan manner. With a legislature where each chamber is controlled by a different party, it’s been imperative that a House member be willing and able to work with everyone to improve the lives of Maine’s people. I’ve proven I can do this.

Issues I’d like to work on include: 1. Promoting resident voices in the initiative process over those of big money, out-of-state, special interests. 2. Affordable higher education for Maine’s traditional and non-traditional students who wish to expand their knowledge. 3. Advocating for business because I know having people with good paying jobs solves a lot of problems for state and local government.



My mobile number is (207) 749-1336. To learn more about me, my work in the Legislature, or my positions visit www.coreyforhouse.com.

Bill Diamond. Democrat. Re-election Unopposed. Raymond and Windham (includes: Baldwin, Casco, Frye Island and Standish). District 26. Maine Senate.

Wife Jane, two adult daughters, Karyn and Kristin, 8 grandchildren – 6 girls and 2 boys.  Former teacher, principal and superintendent of schools.  Local small business owner for 38 years.  Served in the Maine House of Representatives, State Senate and Maine’s Secretary of State for 8 years. Professional affiliations and awards include: Former member of the Windham Rescue (EMT) and Fire Department, founding member of Hospice of Southern Maine, co-founder of Windham Neighbors Helping Neighbors, co-founder of the Windham Land Trust, American Legion “Legislator of the Year” award and Board of Directors of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals

Why are you qualified to represent the citizens in Augusta and what inspired you to run?

I’ve always had the desire to help people and over the years I’ve discovered that the need is never ending and there are ample opportunities to help people both locally and at the state level. 

What do you feel is the most important issue facing your district? What can you do to help overcome that issue?
     
Controlling local and state taxes, protecting our water, land and air, supporting our local businesses and protecting our children from abuse and neglect are some of my highest priorities.  I’ve been working hard on these issues and will continue to do so.

Windham and Raymond are made up of many small businesses. How will you help small businesses be successful in the area?

As a small business owner for the past 38 years I have a unique perspective on what the legislature can do to support small businesses.  First, prohibit the constant efforts by some to increase taxes on businesses for the purpose of raising money for unrelated projects.  Second, do no harm, in other words don’t place further government burdens on businesses – let them alone to run their businesses as only they know how to do.

What are some suggestions you have that might inspire Windham and Raymond graduates to stay (or return after college graduation) and make Windham and Raymond their home?

As our young adults graduate from high school and post-secondary education, they need to know that we want them to come back to Maine and build their lives here. We need to look at incentives in terms of job opportunities and encouraging them to possibly create their own businesses. All of this discussion should start while they are still students in our schools.  If we approach this issue as a community project then we have a better chance of succeeding.

From a state-wide perspective, in your opinion, what is the single most important issue that the governor and legislature should be addressing?

The most important statewide issue is promoting and expanding our economy through incentives for our existing businesses and attractions for those businesses that may be thinking of coming to our state. Good paying jobs with good benefits are the foundation of success for our great State of Maine.  By the way, such an effort takes constant work because there are a lot of potential distractions and disruptions to those goals.

Why should voters cast their ballots for you? What are your three biggest issues?

I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens in District 26, Windham, Raymond, Casco, Standish, Baldwin and Frye Island in the Maine Senate.  I pledge to make every effort to continue with my perfect attendance in the Senate and use my energies and experience to help solve my constituents’ problems.  Experience is especially important because I’m familiar with governmental procedures and I know who to contact within the bureaucracies to get problems solved.  My top priorities are controlling taxes, supporting local businesses and continuing to change our laws and pass new ones all in an effort to protect our vulnerable children who too often are left to the whim of broken bureaucracies and predators. 

How can citizens contact you prior to Election Day?

I’m easy to reach through my home phone, 207-892-8941, cell phone, 207-650-4713 and email, billdiamondwindham@gmail.com.