BUCKFIELD — State Rep. Terry Hayes, D-Buckfield, has announced her intention to run for a seat on the Oxford County Commission in this year’s general election.
Hayes, 55, who represents Sumner, Buckfield, Paris and Hartford at the State House, said Friday that she hopes to put her six years of experience on the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee to work at the county level.
“I think it will be an interesting next challenge for me,” she said.
Hayes filed candidacy paperwork with the state’s Government Ethics Commission on Feb. 6. She is still collecting nomination signatures to qualify for the June 10 primary election. Candidate paperwork is due in the Maine Secretary of State’s office on March 15.
District 3 covers Buckfield, Greenwood, Hebron, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Stoneham, West Paris, Woodstock and Albany Township.
The Oxford Republican who has represented the district since 2007, Caldwell Jackson, is up for re-election to a third term on the commission this year. On Friday he confirmed he would be seeking another four-year term.
Her main focus, Hayes said, will be moving forward a process to draft and adopt a charter for Oxford County.
Currently, the county’s budget, election and government process is codified in Maine statute, not an independent charter, making it difficult for voters to change or modify the county’s governance structure.
“The voters are separated from the governmental process, and a county charter seeks to make that connection so that the voters in the county design and adopt the structure for the county government,” Hayes said.
In past conversations with commissioners she has advocated beginning the charter process with no success, Hayes said.
“They’ve engaged in the conversation but have consistently said ‘now is not the time,'” Hayes said.
“I know that they have been putting some money aside in the county budget, because there is some cost involved in implementing the process, but to my knowledge they are still unwilling to discuss a time frame for actually beginning the charter process,” she continued.
Commissioners have been funding a charter reserve account for the past four years and now have $20,000 in reserve to fund the process.