(Representing part of Auburn)

John Michael

Independent

Age: 68

Hometown: Auburn

Occupation: Investor. Petition drive coordinator for initiatives and candidates.

Education: Edward Little High School graduate; Bachelor of Arts degree, Marquette University.

Family status: Single. Support other families’ kids with beach trips, Christmas and birthdays, etc.

Community organizations: Civility & Respect In Auburn Politics; Auburn’s Age-Friendly Community Committee; Volunteer: Thanksgiving Day Dinner For Seniors (Auburn Senior Community Center).

Why are you running for the Androscoggin County Commission?

There needs to be more control over the county budget. With lots of experience in government as an Auburn legislator as well as in business, I understand the need for budgeting and holding the line on spending. I also understand how and where bureaucrats like to hide money. It takes continual oversight to have a functional system. I intend to offer leadership to improve communication between the County Commission, the Auburn City Council and the Auburn legislative delegation so our efforts to serve the community are enhanced. I want to make sure citizens are being treated fairly by the government, so I will look for ways to be thrifty while watching for opportunities to serve the public better. County government may not seem exciting, but it provides important services and levies taxes. It should not be left unchecked.

What skills do you bring to the role of commissioner?

I can get along with anyone and always try to. As a businessman and former state legislator, the budget process is well understood as is the process of building consensus and political partnerships. Everyone needs to be listened to and understood. I hope to be able to hold the line on spending. Most of us struggle to keep afloat and pay our taxes. I’ll look for innovative ways to improve the quality of services.

What is the biggest challenge facing the county, and how would you solve it?

Keeping the budget in line. Budgets are always a problem because everything the county spends falls back on the taxpayers. Take the criminal justice system, for instance. Addiction problems are filling the jail and overwhelming our resources. I’ll propose oversight that insures the helpless addicts are treated respectfully while we search for some leverage somewhere to move people away from these drugs and back into society. This is a multifaceted problem with many tentacles that weave complicated cultural and emotional traps. We’ll surely need to think outside the box to turn around the addiction condition. I’ll also use my experience to fight for our proper share of state revenues to fund the housing and decent care of prisoners, as well as our fair share of funding for other county responsibilities.

John Michael


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