Oxford County Commissioner Caldwell Jackson announced this week that he will not seek re-election because state rules prevent civil servants from running for partisan office.

In a phone interview, Jackson, R-Oxford, said he originally intended to run for another four-year term, but he learned from his office’s human resources division that his position as economic development specialist in the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry prohibits him from seeking elected office as a member of a political party.

Jackson said he was appointed to the position in 2011 after he was elected to his seat on the commission. His appointment to a state agency was not an issue while he was a sitting member of the commission, but a re-election bid is against state law, Jackson said.

“I probably could fight it, but at this point I don’t think it’s worth it,” Jackson said. “It still really bothers me. If I knew that I wasn’t going to have anyone question it or anything else it would be OK, but if someone questions it, that’s a problem.”

Jackson said his decision not to run came after he heard that a local member of the Democratic Party might use the apparent conflict of interest against him in the upcoming election.

Jackson represents Oxford County’s District III, which includes the towns of Buckfield, Greenwood, Hebron, Woodstock, Otisfield, Oxford, Paris, Stoneham, West Paris and Albany Township.

He was elected to the Oxford County Commission in 2006 and re-elected in 2010 with 60 percent of the vote, according to state election records.

Prior to 2006, he was a longstanding member of the Oxford Board of Selectmen.

According to Jackson, his wife, Diane Jackson, has decided to run for his seat on the commission and is getting signatures for her nomination petition, which is due at the Secretary of State’s Office by March 17.

Buckfield Democrat Terry Hayes announced her intention to run against Caldwell Jackson for a seat on the commission last month. In an interview Friday, Hayes said she was “aware of the questions” about Jackson’s candidacy, but had not brought them up formally.

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