OXFORD — There’s something to be said for being a Jackson in Oxford County.

Fresh off the the news that one-term Maine State Rep. Roger Jackson, R-Oxford, was withdrawing from the race for House District 72 because of health issues, Oxford Republicans wasted no time finding a new candidate: his daughter, Kathleen Jackson Dillingham.

Dillingham, 43, will vie as the GOP’s candidate for a two-year term in the House of Representatives at the Nov. 4 general election. District 72 consists of Oxford, Otisfield and Mechanic Falls.

“For my entire life, I have been surrounded by the many dedicated public servants in my family. I have learned a lot from them, and am eager to put that knowledge to use for the people of this area,” Dillingham said.

Dillingham has been involved in politics since a young age, growing up in a family of public servants. Her uncle, Caldwell Jackson, is the current chairman of the Oxford County Commissioners; Aunt Diane Jackson, Caldwell’s wife, is a former aide to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and, until recently, candidate for county commissioner, while another aunt ran the Blaine House.

“It’s a lifetime family affair,” Dillingham said.

An Oxford Hills High School graduate, her first foray into politics involved going door-to-door with pamphlets for then-President George H. W. Bush. Since 2001, Dillingham has worked as a legislative aide, acting as a liaison between constituents and representatives in Augusta, writing speeches and researching issues.

Her father was one of the legislators she worked under.

“He’s got very big shoes to fill. It’s very meaningful to me to be running for his seat.”

A fiscal conservative, she said her views on social issues are not “black and white,” but situational.

“Every issue is unique. I believe it’s important to vote your conscience and be up front if a constituent asks you what your position is,” she said.

Dillingham is a member of the Town of Oxford Budget Committee and the Town of Oxford Board of Appeals and is a former member of the SAD 17 school board.

She is an active member of the Kiwanis and the Oxford County Fair Association.

“Through my years at the State House, I have become very familiar with the issues facing our area and the state as a whole. I will work for effective policy that encourages job growth and ensures that Maine’s hardworking taxpayers are not taken advantage of,” she said.

Dillingham has one daughter and three stepchildren. She lives with her husband, Dana, in Oxford.

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