David Duguay

Longtime Oxford County Commissioner David Duguay of Byron  will face former county Administrator Scott Cole of Bethel in a District 2 race between two independent candidates.

A pragmatist, Duguay, 63, has served as commissioner since he was first elected in 2004. Retired as  Hannaford supermarket and pharmacy store manager after 42 years,  Duguay has been married to wife, Patricia, for 40 years and has two adult children and two grandchildren, all living in Oxford County.

Cole, 59, has served 29 years as a manager of four towns and as Oxford County administrator. He has also served six years as a transportation officer in the United States Army, 1984-1990, and was honorably discharged with the rank of captain. He is working as a school bus driver for MSAD 44 in Bethel. He has been married to Michele Varuolo Cole for eight years and has two adult children.

Scott Cole

District 2 in Oxford County includes Andover, Bethel, Byron, Canton, Dixfield, Gilead, Hanover, Lincoln Plantation, Magalloway Plantation, Mexico, Newry, Peru, Roxbury, Rumford, Upton and the unorganized territory of Milton, Riley and Northern Oxford County.

Steven Merrill of Norway is also seeking reelection to the county commission in District 1. He is unopposed.

Why are you running for the Oxford County Commission?

Duguay: We are currently running on all cylinders. We have many initiatives underway that my experience and knowledge will be paramount. I have 15 years experience in this position. Local government is different than Augusta. Experience counts at the local level

Cole: I am running for office because I want to see county government deliver the best programs and services possible for the finite money being raised through property taxes. There are no free lunches. So the next best thing is to insist on accountability for the meal being purchased. I like to see public programs work fairly for all parties affected – taxpayers, employees, participants, beneficiaries. These are the principles which will constitute my approach to being a county commissioner.

What skills do you bring to the role of commissioner?

Duguay: Professionalism learned from my 42 years with Hannaford supermarket and pharmacy. As store manager I was responsible for employees, human resources, department and overall store budgets, community relations and community service. I was held to a high standard to lead by example.

Cole: Profound commitment to fairness and accountability on behalf of the public interest. Positive, open, inclusive leadership style which decentralizes authority and fosters teamwork. Genuine respect for others’ perspectives and opinions. Excellent written and oral communication skills. Fully skilled in financial accounting practices and a proven ability to develop, implement and control budgets. A thorough understanding of collective bargaining and the laws which surround personnel management and demand sound practices.

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

Duguay: We are in great financial shape since we restructured our administration and financial department in 2018. The commission and all department heads are focused on flat funding our 2021 budget through innovation and continuous improvements and that will assist the financial challenges the communities we serve. And we are currently recruiting and will have on board a new county administrator by the end of this year. Another reason commissioner experience is critically important.

Cole: County government performs a variety of societal functions dictated by statute and therefore a variety of challenges exist in different areas. One particularly vexing challenge is how to keep qualified people with a professional mindset in law enforcement. Police work has always been important but never glamorous. And recent scrutiny of police-citizen interfaces elsewhere has now unfairly tarnished a lot of good, decent people who serve as law officers. As a Commissioner, I intend to honestly speak to complex issues and support creative efforts to recruit and keep good people in uniform — whether that uniform is municipal blue or county brown. Money has been, is, and will be a tangible part of the conversation. I also intend to define and mitigate the intangible barriers to keeping the ranks filled by using an unabashed voice as an elected official.


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