District: Avon, New Vineyard, Phillips, Strong, Temple, Wilton, and the unorganized territories of Freeman, Perkins, part of Salem and Washington Townships
Legislative service: Third term
Committees: Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
Bill record: 18 submitted, two signed, two carried over, 14 dead
Tax reform: Against
Bear trapping ban: Against
Washington County slots at a tribal horse track: For
Stiffer seat belt law: Against
Increase term limits from 4 two-year terms to 6: For
Members of the Rural Caucus made a name for themselves this session, and Thomas Saviello, an independent from Wilton, was one of the leaders.
The group of about 40 tri-partisan legislators was very vocal during talks on school administration consolidation, fighting for local control and smaller district sizes. In the end, their influence knocked down the minimum student benchmark to 1,200 for rural areas, and the new statute requires a referendum vote before merging districts.
A logger in the off-season, Saviello said he didn’t come to Augusta with an agenda, but rather saw the need for a nonpartisan approach to the consolidation issue.
When it came to Saviello’s legislation, two of his 19 bills received the governor’s signature. He said some of the ones that died still made a difference just by bringing the issues to the table. Nothing was put into statute to study alternative fuel use in schools and public buildings – one of his efforts – but the committee sent a letter to officials urging them to do so anyway.
Bills of his that passed were: one to promote regional cooperation and another requiring commercial applicators’ licenses to use pesticides in food-handling establishments.