Maine State Rep. Catherine Nadeau, at her house Monday in Winslow, has served in the Maine House of Representatives for eight years. Term limits prevent the Democratic lawmaker from seeking reelection this year. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

WINSLOW — Incorrectly delivered packages arrived at Catherine Nadeau’s door shortly after she and her husband, Bob, got married in 1982.

“I changed my mail from ‘Cathy Nadeau’ to ‘Catherine Nadeau,'” she said.

The reason for that pivot is coming to light as the November state government elections approach.

As state Rep. Catherine Nadeau, D-Winslow, finishes her fourth and final term as she reaches the term limit in the Maine House of Representatives, an unrelated Cathy Nadeau is running as a Republican for the District 78 seat, representing Winslow and part of Benton.

“People are confused,” Rep. Catherine Nadeau said. “To me, it’s confusing.”

It is time to set the record straight.

But before that, and only to thicken the plot, let it be known Rep. Catherine Nadeau’s brother, Ray Caron, is also running as a Democrat for state representative in District 78.

On the other side is Cathy Nadeau, 59, running against Caron to represent Winslow and part of Benton at the state level. She also corroborated the mail story.

Cathy Nadeau’s husband, Steve, and Catherine Nadeau’s husband, Bob, worked together at Sappi’s Somerset Mill in Skowhegan.

The Catherine/Cathy Nadeaus also worked together at the Winslow Town Office in the mid-1980s. Cathy was the assistant treasurer and tax collector, Catherine was a part-time tax collector.

“There are some people that are surprised that it’s not her, but I know a lot of people,” Cathy Nadeau said. “I’ve lived here all my life.”

Oftentimes, they differentiate themselves to townspeople by the streets on which they live. Cathy Nadeau even had Catherine Nadeau’s sign on her lawn when Catherine was running for office the first time.

Cathy Nadeau, the Republican candidate for state representative in District 78, at her Winslow house Monday. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel Buy this Photo

Ray Caron is currently chairman of the Winslow Town Council. He is in his 12th year in town government, as many as his sister spent on the Town Council before she went to Augusta.

“I am very sure that he is going to put Winslow’s interests right where it belongs down there,” Rep. Catherine Nadeau said. “That’s why you’re there, to represent your town. He’s going to look out for Winslow down there.”

Caron predicates his politics on increasing municipal revenue sharing from 3.7% to 5%. He said he hopes to see more money from the state go to the towns to reduce property taxes. Caron, 64, also served on various town committees over the past 20 years.

“I think why I would vote for me is, for all my time in Winslow, I’ve been involved with municipal government,” Caron said. “I have worked diligently to try to minimize increases for the Winslow mil rate in property taxes.”

Cathy Nadeau, formerly Cathy Arsenault, retired 10 years ago from her position as the assistant grants manager for Savings Bank of Maine. She decided in March she wanted to get into state politics.

“I just was tired of the Red Sox-versus-Yankees mentality of Democrats and Republicans. They just go at it,” Cathy Nadeau said. “We all live in this beautiful state. Why can’t we come together?

“I just think that people are tired of the hard Democrats and the hard Republicans never coming together. People want to see mended fences.”

Cathy Nadeau said the coronavirus pandemic “has to be” the main focus of politics at all levels. She hopes to encourage the trades for younger generations in the state of Maine, perhaps starting a program with financial assistance, but “COVID-19 takes priority today.” She wants to see open dialogue between parties.

The Republican challenger running against the current representative’s brother does not stoke competitive fire for either side, they said in interviews.

“It’s not like I want to beat him because we have the same name, no,” Cathy Nadeau said. “Ray’s wife, Holly, and I went to high school together. That’s not me. How can you be competitive against really nice people.”

Rep. Catherine Nadeau is the aunt of Kimberly Nadeau Lindlof, president and CEO of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Central Maine Growth Council.

Lindlof has fielded the same questions from inquiring minds a handful of times: Did the current Rep. Catherine Nadeau switch party affiliation? I thought you told me that Cathy termed out. How come her signs are out?

“I’ve been fielding inquiries for the last two or three weeks regarding confusion, general confusion if she switched parties or whether or not she termed out,” Lindlof said. “My aunt, Rep. Cathy Nadeau, has termed out, and I honestly don’t know the other Catherine Nadeau.”

The current Rep. Catherine Nadeau chairs the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Throughout her tenure, Rep. Catherine Nadeau has also served on the Bills in the Second Reading, Criminal Justice and Public Safety and State and Local Governments committees.

“The way that I operate is that I don’t look at a person’s affiliation or letter after their name,” Rep. Catherine Nadeau said. “I can leave this place knowing that I put people before their party, and I was able to work jointly with both sides of the aisle.”

After her legislative term runs out, Rep. Catherine Nadeau said plans on keeping close contact with politicians, but is not planning on running for office anytime soon. The 62-year-old said she is looking to support younger candidates in office, such as her cousin’s wife, Esther Bullard, who is running for Winslow Town Council in District 1.

“I had my chance. I spent 12 years doing it. I think these young kids have great ideas,” Rep. Catherine Nadeau said. “If they want to get involved, I don’t want to stand in the way.”

Rep. Catherine Nadeau is just fine with taking a break. Winslow is welcoming a new town manager and is searching for a new police chief. Rep. Catherine Nadeau also has a new grandson, Remington Helma, who was born in March 2019.

“I have him every Friday, and I don’t want to give that up, either,” she said.

No, Rep. Catherine Nadeau is not challenging her brother. She is termed out. In a small town, though, this situation of a current politician’s potential successor having the same name is confusing and might strike some as downright whacky.

“What sister would change their party and run against her brother?” Rep. Catherine Nadeau said. “There’s always people with your name, and that’s the reality of this one. And they just happen to live in my same town, in his same town.”

Caron added a final point, one that says a lot about those involved.

“Both Catherine Nadeaus,” he said, “are very fine people.”

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