Homestead hopes to bring frugal practices to Oxford County politics

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HARTFORD — Being the first female commissioner in Oxford County’s history might be the least surprising accomplishment notched in Lee Holman’s belt if she is elected Nov. 4. 

The Democratic candidate has been a merchant marine and a celebrity Volvo mechanic blogging her repairs, but it’s her latest run for political office which might be the most unusual of all. 

Or it might just be good timing. 

“I think people are so ready for someone who’s not a politician,” Holman said recently at her Hartford home, her hands slicing open a 55-pound sack of meal she’ll mix with water to make a dinner of slop for six young pigs on her farm. 

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Holman is running for the open District 3 seat, which includes the towns of Oxford, Otisfield, Paris, Buckfield, Hebron, Hartford, Sumner, West Paris and Woodstock. She is running against Republican Timothy Turner of Buckfield. 

Holman was chosen by county Democrats in July after Terry Hayes of Buckfield was elected in the June primary but later withdrew from the race to work on independent Eliot Cutler’s campaign for governor.

In her own right, Holman is not a political outsider. She’s a 12-year member of the Board of Selectmen, comprised entirely of women. She has served the past 12 years and has been involved with local boards and committees for years. 

She’s also no stranger to county procedures, having served on the Budget Committee for 11 years. 

Her path into politics was unlikely. Almost 40 years ago, Holman purchased the farm for $6,000. She was 19.

Her parents found out days later. 

“I was scared to death my father would find out,” Holman said. “Eventually, my mom talked him down and explained it to him.” 

Holman has lived the past 40 years in a frugal farmhouse. Aside from raising chickens, pigs and the occasional horse, Holman’s cooking stove is wood-fired. There’s running water, but no indoor toilet. A propane tank keeps an old refrigerator running, and a main breaker switch was installed about a decade ago to give the place power so Holman can charge her iPhone and laptop computer.

Her lifestyle — the essence of waste not, want not — colors her view on county expenditures to keep the budget and taxpayers’ bills low, she said.  

Part of that solution is finding a long-term tenant for the county airport, which officials seized earlier this year. 

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