RUMFORD – Candidates seeking two three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen are: Incumbents Mark N. Belanger and Greg Buccina, and Robert A. Cameron, Jason Thompson, Jeremy Vashaw and Richard “Rick” O. White.

Because White, a former Mountain Valley High School football, basketball and lacrosse coach is a write-in, his full name and middle initial – Richard O. White – must be written on the ballot.

All six identified economic development as Rumford’s biggest concern, to which other issues that some mentioned are applicable.

These include Rumford’s public image, the budget process and fiscal responsibility, electing people who have all of Rumford’s residents at heart, reversing the flow of young people from Rumford, revitalizing the town’s infrastructure, and securing a town manager.

Both Thompson, who wants to hire a full-time economic developer, and Belanger said they’d strongly support the newly formed Economic Development Committee.

“We need to bring jobs to this area so that our kids have a chance to stay here when they graduate,” Thompson said. “I think that it is time for us to stop depending solely on the mill.”

He also said he’d be open-minded toward any kind of business that wants to consider Rumford.

Vashaw urged caution regarding economic activity to ensure fiscal responsibility.

“This doesn’t mean making deep cuts or stopping investments in the future, nor does it mean that we cannot be proactive and invest in new ventures or ideas,” Vashaw said. “It means taking a look at where we spend our money and making choices that will reap the greatest benefit for all of Rumford.”

Buccina warned that money saved by reducing public and local services could limit the town’s progress in the eyes of potential investors, insurance companies, and people deigning to move to Rumford.

“Maintaining a top-notch service on all fronts may enhance growth in the long run,” Buccina said.

Vashaw said Rumford needs to approach the future with open minds, maintain infrastructure, continue improvements to foster development, and ensure that Rumford’s children get the best education possible.

Belanger wants to tear down dilapidated and vacant buildings to revitalize infrastructure and reverse the population decline.

Buccina wants to either have owners make code-effective repairs or selectmen will take lawful action.

Regarding Rumford’s image, Buccina and others said they would work to correct it if elected.

“I believe that this town is better than it has been shown in the public eye, and I am committed to helping return it to a stature of dignity and respect that it deserves,” Buccina said.

“My bigger concern is the image this community has that’s dampening our economic opportunities and, I think the first step in repairing that is to stop the infighting in the selectmen’s group that’s got all the attention,” Cameron said by phone from New York City on Monday.

“We all need to work together on the issues for what is best for all of us in Rumford,” White said. “We should promote what we have and what we could have. …We have gotten enough black eyes.”

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