SABATTUS — Six men are vying for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen next Tuesday. Ronda Fournier and Michelle Ames' terms are up and neither is running again, Town Clerk Suzanne Adams said.
Both seats are for a three-year term. The candidates, in their own words:
Jeffrey (Jeff) Baril, 45, 6 Nancy Lane
A little about yourself: I live on Nancy Lane in Sabattus with my wife Janet and our three school-age children. We also have three grown children and four grandchildren. I have lived in Sabattus full time for the past 12 years and before that summered on Sabattus Lake since age 5. I have worked as a police officer for the City of Lewiston for the past 23 years. I am a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and served in the first Gulf War.
Past, relevant experience: I served as a selectman for the town of Sabattus for a one-year term in 2009. I am on the Planning Board and Ordinance Review Committee. I also serve as the chair of the Comprehensive Planning Committee and I am a trustee of the Sabattus Water and Sewer District.
My top 3 issues if elected: 1. Keeping property taxes stable. 2. Expand the tax base by encouraging commercial and residential development within the town (as) outlined in the Comprehensive Plan. 3. Work to improve the infrastructure of the town (roads, water and sewer systems and access to Sabattus Lake.)
Why residents should vote for me: I ask the voters to stand with me to keep Sabattus a great place to live, work and play, and help me make it an even better place for our children and grandchildren.
Normand (Norman) Estes, 47, 119 Main St.
A little about yourself: I own and successfully operate my small business, Estes Home Improvement. I am currently employed with a local property management company that manages affordable housing, where I am a maintenance supervisor for elderly and disabled housing projects. I am a very proud father and grandfather. I have raised my son in Sabattus where he attended the school system. During his childhood I served as a sports coach and Cub Scout leader as well as other activities.
Past, relevant experience: For the past 15 years I have served the Dominican Sisters in various capacities as a maintenance technician, assisting with their fundraisers and the local food bank that serves Sabattus families in need. I am currently serving on the Budget Committee and Charter Commission in the town of Sabattus.
My top 3 issues if elected: Help create a stable economy, keep property taxes to a minimum, promote initiatives to “buy local,” to “hire local” and keep dollars circulating within the local economy, make short-term and long-term plans to strengthen our community.
Why residents should vote for me: I am dependable and have the ability to motivate a project team, accustomed to positions of fiduciary responsibility, and willing to set goals and work to achieve them. Simply put, I am forward-thinking and have a vision for the future. With time, energy and the seasoned experience needed for the position, I bring common sense, good ideas and visibility to the board.
Donat (Don) Fournier, 46, 174 Fisher Farm Road
A little about yourself: Married 23 years to Ronda M. Fournier, current Sabattus selectman. Together we have three boys: Chad M. Fournier, former member of the Army Reserve 619th Transportation Unit of Auburn who served in Iraq and is employed as an auto body mechanic; Ryan M. Michaud, employed as a social studies teacher at Lewiston High School; and Caleb M. Fournier, senior at Norwich University majoring in Criminal Justice.
Past, relevant experience: I’ve spent the last 20 years as a parent volunteer at the schools, as a volunteer firefighter, as the Recreation Club president, as a member of the Sons of American Legion at the state and local level, and as a member of the town’s Charter Commission. As EMA director for the town, I attend the selectmen meetings and the quarterly county EMA meetings.
Top three issues, if elected: 1. The town’s Comprehensive Plan must be completed and approved as soon as possible. This plan is necessary for the town to apply for and receive grants. 2. Department heads need to think outside the box, working and consolidating services with local communities to find savings for the taxpayer. 3. During these economic times, we need to prioritize “needs” from “wants” and learn to live within our means.
Why residents should vote for you: I am familiar with the town’s issues and am willing to represent the taxpayers of Sabattus. I believe actions speak louder than words and my 20 years of service to the town speaks for my pride and dedication to Sabattus.
Paul Gagne, 50, 85 Elm St.
A little about yourself: My wife and I have been happily married for 14 years. Together we have three children: Keenan, 22, a college student at Central Maine Community College majoring in business management; Joshua, 22, a college student at the University of Chicago, majoring in political science and statistics; and Kendrick, 20, in the U.S. Army, currently serving at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. I grew up in Auburn, Maine. Parents are Andre and Monique. I have three brothers, Marc, Michael (Ernie) and Bill. I graduated from Edward Little in 1980. I then continued my education with University of Southern Maine, majoring in business. As a manager of GM Pollacks for the past 10 years, I have enjoyed interacting with the public.
Past, relevant experience: In between working full-time, I volunteered for my children's sports programs, becoming president of the South Lewiston Little League as well as coaching multiple sports.
Top three issues, if elected: If elected, I would like to work with the town manager and selectmen in a proactive way. I can accomplish this by continuing to educate myself with each department, understanding their purpose and needs. Ultimately, keeping taxes as low as possible, benefiting the townspeople.
Why residents should vote for you: I have always been the kind of person who listens and looks at issues from different angles, getting positive results. In my opinion, that should be the Board of Selectmen's main goal. It would be an honor to serve the residents of Sabattus as a selectman.
Randolph (Randy) Gayton, 48, 131 Middle Road
A little about yourself: I've lived in Sabattus my whole life. My family was born and raised here. My mother (Rudy Gayton) was selectman for 15 years. I've got three children. Retired truck driver.
Past, relevant experience: I was on the Budget Committee last year. I've been a (past) member of the legion, I've been a member of the Masonic order. I was one of the founding members of the Sabattus Sportsman's Club.
My top 3 issues if elected: 1. The way the economy's going, we've got to keep these taxes down. 2. Keep people accountable for their actions; just do what's right for the people in town and help out the people who need the help. 3. I'm trying to start a community thing with the Police Department and the Fire Department where we can help the elderly. I'd like to bring back the street dance, bike rodeos, stuff like that; get the townspeople back involved, and basically help out the ones that need the help.
Why residents should vote for me: I will not try and make myself look better than anybody else because I'm just not. I can't sit here and with a clear conscience say who I'm better than or if I'm better than anybody else. I've just been a town resident my whole life, I've been into political things, I've watched my father do it, I've watched my mother do it. I've just been involved in the community my whole life.
Leslie (Les) Gibson, 56, 177 Marsh Road
A little about yourself: Married to wife Mary, with four children, Michael, 35, Jessica, 34, Jonathan, 25, and Katelyn, 17. Employed by Bath Iron Works as a tinsmith. I was born in Edmond, Okla. I enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1973, retiring in 1994 at the Brunswick Naval Air Station.
Past, relevant experience: I have leadership and managerial skills developed over a lifetime of service which involved the direct supervision of a large workforce and required timely and effective decision-making.
My top 3 issues if elected: 1. Hold the line on property taxes. I will vote no on any proposed mill-rate increases. 2. Seek out and recommend innovative methods to fund town infrastructure projects and facility maintenance. 3. Look for new methods to increase our tax base in community-friendly ways. This can be accomplished by making Sabattus an attractive location for businesses and new residents, without sacrificing our small-town environment.
Why residents should vote for me: I cannot call for change in how our town is managed unless I am willing to assume a leadership role to make that change become reality. I'm not afraid to confront issues. I will ensure that your voice is heard. I will always encourage the citizens of Sabattus to let me know what they are thinking, what their concerns are, and I expect to be held accountable. It will be an honor and a privilege to serve my community as your selectman.
Responses edited for length.