FARMINGTON — Two Freeman Township residents are seeking one term on the Franklin County Commission to represent the people in District 3.

Robert “Bob” Carlton Submitted photo

Incumbent Robert “Bob” Carlton and Elizabeth “Betty Ann” Listowich will vie for the two-year position Nov. 8 at the voting places in the towns, plantation and townships in the district.

Carlton was appointed by Gov. Janet Mills in June to replace Commissioner Clyde Barker of Strong who resigned.

The district encompasses New Sharon, Industry, New Vineyard, Kingfield, ,Carrabassett Valley, Eustis, Strong, Avon, Phillips, and Rangeley. It also includes the townships of Freeman, Salem, Madrid, Reddington, Mount Abram, Wyman,  Lang, Davis, Stetsontown, Tim Pond, Jim Pond, Alder Stream, Seven Pond, Massachusetts, Chain of Ponds, Kibby, Coburn Gore, Skinner, Merrill Strip, Beattie, Lowelltown, Gorham Gore, and Coplin Plantation.

Carlton,  a self-employed consulting forester and owner of Freeman Ridge Forestry, and Listowich, a landscaping contractor and founder and owner of Norpine Landscape Inc. answered questions from the Sun Journal.

Drug use and abuse, along with mental health issues, are major concerns for many people in the county and around the state. How do you feel the county is handling this situation in its attempt to curb this trend before it gets worse?


Carlton: No question that drug use is at the forefront of our communities’ challenges. I  support our local law enforcement in their efforts to combat the influx of substances coming into our communities, support our local agencies that are focused on education and treatment for those affected, and support those providing education and resources to those community programs that can assist those in need.

Elizabeth “Betty Ann” Listowich Submitted photo

Listowich: I know this is an important issue with our current state’s administration and the Department of Health and Human Services is working to ensure resources are readily available to help link people with programs to help them address their substance use. Locally here in Franklin County, I am aware of a program through Western Maine Behavioral Health called ‘Options Initiative.’ They provide services to assist with the impacts of opioid use. Research to better understand substance use has made incredible gains in recent years, and the stigma surrounding those seeking help is decreasing. We are headed in the in right direction as a society, as we are working to get help to those that need it.

What do you feel is the biggest issue facing the county? What needs to be done to resolve it?

Listowich: The issues that face Franklin County are complex and interwoven. Our beautiful natural environment is a huge draw for recreation of all types. Our timber industry has held on in a limited capacity, as corporations have moved operations out and away from our local mills.

We have a relatively large land mass and a small population. This combination can create obstacles when navigating the distance to access services, employment and education. Finding decent and affordable housing without too much of a commute to jobs with livable wages is difficult. To alleviate the pressures uniquely felt by Franklin County residents, we need infrastructure that works: accessible broadband for education as well as employment, good roads that are well maintained, and a coordinated effort countywide to address housing needs.

Carlton:  The loss of the Jay paper mill is one of great concern.  The ripple effect of those families that will be impacted by this closure is one that we have yet to understand. We need to continue our support of the manufacturing facilities in Franklin County while expanding additional opportunities for revenue generating recreation. In addition, the lack of affordable housing across the county has created a severe shortage of labor for businesses throughout Franklin County. If we cannot get the labor to keep the businesses open that has a negative impact to the bottom line.


Why are you running?

Carlton: I care about my community! This is my home, where we have chosen to raise my family, and where I will retire. I want to make this the best Maine county to live in for all our residents. Franklin County is a wonderful place to ‘live, work, and play’.

Listowich:  To Give Back to my community. Growing up, civic involvement was always encouraged in my family. Although my professional career has revolved around horticulture and the management of my business, my college degree from (University of Maine) is in U.S. government, history and foreign relations. Though my time at UMaine was many years ago, my passion for advocacy has remained steady, especially at the municipal level. My husband, Jim, and I raised our family at our farm and nursery in Kingfield, where we lived for 32 years. Throughout that time I focused on serving in town government. When we moved to Freeman Township (six) years ago, I was no longer able to serve on the town boards and committees I had been so involved with. I thought I should offer to serve at the county level now.

My experience as a small business owner for 38 years has afforded me knowledge of conducting business within Maine. As a contractor that did many MDOT and commercial projects statewide, I am familiar with state and federal regulations and agencies.

My long time on the Budget Committee and the Planning Board in Kingfield has helped me understand the pressures and constraints of governing in a rural place.


Running unopposed for county government positions on Nov. 8 are incumbents Margot Joly, judge of probate; Pamela Prodan, treasurer; and Susan Black, register of deeds.

Neil McLean and Edward Rabasco are running for district attorney for Androscoggin, Franklin and Oxford counties.

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