RUMFORD — Chris Brennick, Steve Dyment, Gabrielle Johnson and James Windover are seeking election to the Board of Selectmen.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, at the Rumford American Legion Hall.

Board Chairman Brad Adley and Frank DiConzo are giving up their seats, opening the way for two new members.

Brennick served on the School Administrative District 43 board when he was teen and said he learned a lot from that experience.

“There were a lot of people on that board who taught me a lot. I got to do a lot of work on the Policy and Finance committees.”

The political science major also served as chairman of the recent town Charter Commission.

“In my 20s, to be a chair of the Charter Commission was an awesome opportunity,” Brennick said. “I was very passionate about that; we put a lot of time into it.”

He said that work will help him as a selectman and provide an opportunity to continue to fine-tune the charter, he said.

He has also served on the Rumford Parks Commission.

“Whenever you serve on a board, as a selectman or school board member, you should do things based on best policies, best practice, based on data,” Brennick said. “And you really influence the town through policy and through the budget. Those are really the two areas (where) you should be exerting influence.”

He said, “We do need to cut, but we need to do it in a smart way.”

Dyment served on the the Western Maine Access Channel (Channel 7) board of directors for about seven years, and on the board of trustees for First Baptist Church in Mexico, seven years as chairman.

He said the once-thriving mill town employing more than 3,600 people now has 600 mill workers. “Our future as a mill town is truly in question,” he said. “We must begin to be proactive and not reactive. We need to have a plan for our future.”

In addition, Dyment said the many burnt-down, boarded-up, dilapidated vacant homes/buildings “continue to bring down the value of real estate — our biggest personal investment — and raise our taxes.”

He said Rumford residents are struggling with high taxes as the population decreases.

“The current budget is out of control and needs to be changed to better our residents,” he said. 

“I decided to run for selectman because I love this town and have watched it decline more each year,” Dyment said. “I know when we take the town back from the overspenders/big government, we will begin to make the right decision for our town, and become a more fiscally responsible town, a more desirable place to live, and bring in businesses.”

Johnson, who grew up in Rumford, recently returned and bought a home.

“I have a really good understanding of what it is to grow up here and to work here, and I really do love this community,” she said. “I’ve always believed that community involvement was pretty important and always tried to be involved in my place.

“I started going to some of the town hall meetings and I just feel, that if I have the opportunity, I would enjoy it and over time, I think I’d have a lot to offer.”

Johnson has a pre-law certificate for her undergraduate degree, which included many classes on policy and government. Her graduate degree is a Master of Environmental Law and Policies from Vermont Law School.

“Our town is very heavy on the side of older citizens, so we cannot ignore the needs that we need to cater to,” she said. “But I think we also need to focus on how to get the younger who are here involved and excited about living here. And then if we could attract more younger families to want to live here, participate and make this a desirable place to live — that would benefit everyone.” 

The fact that her mother, Beth Bellegarde, is town clerk was not why she decided to seek office, but Johnson said “through her, I was able to at least meet other people who work and care for the town.”

Windover served on the Rumford Planning Board for eight years, the Comprehensive Planning Committee for 1.5 years, the Charter Commission for two years and was chairman of the Comprehensive Plan Implementation Committee.

He said he’s against the town taking out a $2 million bond for a $4 million reconstuction of the Business Island.

“They’re trying to spend their way into prosperity,” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”

An example, he said, is the town voting to replace the concrete sidewalks downtown with more concreate instead of using asphalt.

“We’re spending money for no reason,” Windover said.

The town recently hired a consultanting company which said the town should not be in the road construction business and instead, should be reducing equipment.

Selectmen recently voted to purchase a new plow truck, which cost $30,000 more than one recently ordered in Mexico.

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