PARIS—Four candidates will be on the ballot for the Special Election on Aug. 22. Polls will be open from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Town Office meeting room at 33 Market Square.

Janet Jamison, Scott McElravy, Carlton Sprague, and Robert Wessels will be on the ballot. They are vying for the two open Selectmen seats vacated by Gary Vaugn and John Andrews.

The candidates describe, in their own words, their reason for running for the Selectmen seats. Responses have been edited for clarity and length.

Robert Wessels

I am really quite simple and straightforward, I don’t have an agenda or particular reasons to be a Selectman.

I was a Selectman for 4 years from 2012-2016. I learned a lot during that time and made many great relationships with people in town during that time. I feel that my past Selectman experience combined with my business and leadership experience give me a great perspective and many of the skills required to be an effective Selectman. Long-term, I want to see Paris be a well-respected town in Oxford Hills where people want to work and taxpayers are proud to call home!

My goal for the next year as a selectman is to bring a new perspective to the processes and procedures of the town to help us take some meaningful steps closer to this ideal.

Scott McElravy

I always had it in the back of my mind that I might like to get more involved with the town when I had the time, maybe after I retired. Well, that is kind of funny as I retired from my work as a technical school teacher in 2017 and am now busier than I ever have been, working with my own business and doing code enforcement work part-time.

Not long ago, I volunteered to work on the budget committee for the town of Paris. It was an eye-opening experience and a tremendous learning opportunity. For the past several months I have served on the planning board for Paris, first as an alternate, then as a regular member.

This too has been a very good learning experience. Other community involvement includes two seasons of assisting with little league baseball and two seasons assisting with the girls’ softball program. This was a while back and most of the players are now parents and a lot of them work and live in the area.

It was quite concerning to me when a person that I consider a very stable, conservative and responsible Selectman recently threw his hands up in the air and walked away from serving.

It must have been a difficult decision, and it is a decision I truly respect. But the decision bothered me. This gentleman explained why he quit and one of the reasons was the lack of community involvement. The proverbial statement says something to the effect “if the shoe fits, wear it.” I felt like he might have been speaking to me. How can we change the involvement level? I honestly do not know but will certainly give it some thought.

We are living in a period of time that demands much from all of us. There are few jobs that are not burdened with stress. Families are struggling to balance all the things that face them. Each and every one of us are busier than we have ever been. It would be quite easy to say, I do not have time to serve the town, very easy. I tried to talk myself out of running. But then I remember how many times I have complained about not seeing qualified candidates running for various positions from the local to the national level. For me, it is time to sacrifice some time and serve the community I have lived in for so long.

What makes me qualified? I have a lot of experience dealing with the general public having worked both in the private and public sectors. Having served on various group teams over the years I feel that I am a good team player. I am also not afraid to speak up for what I believe is right. I would be considered a conservative in almost every sense. I am open-minded and willing to do research when it is necessary to find solutions. One quality that I have developed over the years is that I have become a very good listener. This quality is far more important than many might think. Having worked in code enforcement for a couple of years has afforded me the opportunity to learn quite a lot about municipalities and how they function.

What is my vision for Paris? First, I believe that we need to understand that this is a community that is eclectic in nature. A lot of our citizens are fighting to keep their heads above water. We need to attempt to keep our taxes in check and at the same time, take care of the town.

It would be nice to figure out what types of potential business might be attracted to our area. That will take some research and asking some questions. The people that live here know what a great area we live in, and we all hope to see it remain as such. But I really think there is some room for the right businesses to come here and do well.

It seems candidates for almost any position are expected to make promises to the voters. To me, it would be foolhardy to make any promises. What I will say is that if I am elected to serve the town I will do my best to do a good job as a Selectman. I will be open to folks reaching out to me with questions and concerns. I am going into this with my eyes wide open. Being a Selectman is not a job that brings lots of accolades and praise. I understand that.

If you want someone that is conservative by nature, has common sense, acknowledges that he does not know everything, but is most willing to work hard for the town, I would urge you to vote for me.

Carlton Sprauge

I was born in April of 1989 in Lewiston. I lived in Lewiston until I was six with my mother and stepfather. We moved to Oxford and I lived there until I was sixteen. I graduated from Oxford Hills in 2008. I joined the military in 2007. I was with the 262 Engineering Company for six years and then I was with the 94th MP company in the Army Reserves for two years after that. I was Honorably Discharged from the military in 2015 and that is also when I began my career at Tambrands in Auburn. I’m currently a Line Technician and will be moving to facilities in the very near future. I have a wife and two children, a seven-year-old and a three-month-old. We also have a three-year-old chocolate lab named Rebel. Beginning this year I took over as the chairman of the Norway/Paris Fish and Game Sportsman Show and I also help out at the Norway/Paris Fish and Game club when I have the time. In my spare time, I enjoy shooting sports and spending time at the gun range, I enjoy fishing and spending time with my family. I love cooking on the grill and getting all my family together for some good food. Family is big to me and I love getting everyone together.

As Selectman I would be a voice for everyone in our town. I am a believer in small government, a strong Second Amendment supporter, a team player and I believe working together is key. I also believe everyone has a voice that needs to be heard. I want Paris to be enjoyed by my kids and their kids to come. We need to keep taxes low and keep our jobs local to support our wonderful town. I thank you all for your support and look forward to the years to come.

Janet Jamison

I’m running for selectman because I’ve served on multiple taxpayer-funded entities over the 30 plus years that I’ve lived here. These include PUD, NPC-TV, the Paris budget committee, and Norway-Paris Solid Waste. Having worked diligently to save tax dollars over the years, it is a shame that money is still wasted – most often due to inexperience, inaction, or lack of knowledge within some, but not all, of these organizations.

When a person serves on a board, they are basically guiding a small business. It can be difficult to fulfill that role, but it is essential to the proper management of the business. One cannot be beholden to “special interests,” but choices must be made, and explaining the rationale behind a choice is essential to the public trust. This can be daunting for many, especially if you risk anger from friends and neighbors on that decision.

Most people who have worked with me understand I have always pushed for the best, and least expensive, option in our public problem-solving.

All small towns struggle to survive, and prosper, in the difficult political times in which we find ourselves. No one should doubt for a moment my commitment to this town, and the thoughtful and responsible use of all our hard-earned tax dollars.

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