RUMFORD – A vote on where people would like a privately-run casino to be built in Oxford County will be among the items discussed at a public forum Tuesday at the Rumford Town Hall auditorium.

Pat LaMarche, the spokeswoman for the Oxford County Casino initiative campaign, said she hopes the session will be informative and more about listening to people and answering questions than stumping for the casino.

In recent weeks, LaMarche said she has been traveling all over Oxford County, meeting with small groups and officials to talk about the casino. She said she even met with a group from the Oxford County Republican Party to explain the casino plan.

“We’ve been trying to just reach out and see what people are thinking,” LaMarche said.

A former Green Party candidate for the governor’s office in Maine, LaMarche is familiar with running a statewide campaign and was hired by local attorney Seth Carey to run the campaign. Carey created Evergreen Mountain Enterprises LLC, the company that would run the casino if it’s approved. He was also the founder of the campaign and author of the referendum language.

In April, just a few days after naming LaMarche the campaign spokesperson, Carey stepped away from the campaign and resigned his presidency with the company he created, citing legal matters that had become a distraction to the campaign.

So far, his replacement hasn’t been named.

LaMarche said she didn’t anticipate any announcement along those lines for Tuesday but did say the campaign would move closer to figuring out where a casino might be located.

Participants at the meeting will be asked to vote for the top three towns where they think a casino should go.

The casino effort has been a creative attempt to revitalize the local economy and bring new, good-paying jobs to the region, LaMarche said.

The forum is being hosted by the River Valley Growth Council, which is seeking additional information about the casino initiative and how it might affect area economic development, a release from LaMarche stated.

“At this time the RVGC Board of Directors neither endorses nor opposes the initiative,” the release stated.

LaMarche said Tuesday that the 6 p.m. forum is open to the public. It will not be stacked with pro-casino people, LaMarche said.

A recent proposal to add slot machines to the horse-racing track at the Oxford County Fairgrounds in Oxford was not being viewed as competition to their initiative, LaMarche said. She said the market could support both proposals.

“I’m actually a bit of a capitalist and believe the market will hold what the market will bear,” LaMarche said.

She also said southern and central Maine people, especially senior groups, were interested in having an option for casino gambling that did not involve traveling out-of-state or to Bangor.

“For a lot of people it’s impractical to travel three states to have a little bit of fun,” she said.



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