LEWISTON — Walter Hill figures he’s always been a Franco, but now everybody knows.
In March, the candidate for the Androscoggin County Commission formally changed his name to Walter Morrissette Hill, adding his mother’s maiden name.
Signs with his new Franco-flavored name have appeared throughout the county.
“My family loves it,” he said. “The only complaints I’ve heard are from my opponents’ backers.
“I don’t know how else to say it, it’s my heritage,” he said.
“I didn’t know it was this easy to change,” he said. He also thought it would be costly.
In January, Hill learned the real details from the county’s register of probate, Joshua Klein-Golden. He then asked his Morrissette aunts, uncles and cousins for their opinions.
“They said, ‘We’d be proud of it,’” he said. He went to the probate office, signed a couple of papers and paid $80.
He also went to the state, formally changing his name as it appears on the June 8 primary ballot, alongside fellow Democrats Renee Bernier and incumbent Commissioner Elaine Makas.
Several other people, including gubernatorial candidate Steven Rowe have also made name changes. Rowe changed his from “Glen Steven Rowe” to “G. Steven Rowe,” according to paperwork filed with the state’s Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.
“I’m proud of my name,” Hill said. “That’s what it’s about.”
He said he grew up in his mother’s big family, following his parents’ separation when he was only a baby. He was such a fixture among them, sometimes people called him “Morrissette” too, he said.
With a name like Hill, others would assume a non-Franco background. Some would tell insulting jokes.
“I’d say, ‘I’m a Franco, too,’” he said.