WINSLOW — The upcoming election for Town Council and the School Committee each feature one contested race and both have three candidates.

Roland Michaud’s departure from the council’s District 3 seat has opened up a race among Rodney Cloutier, Jason Fitch and Jerry Quirion. Michaud is retiring from public service after 31 years as a councilor.

Cloutier, 45, is self-employed, the owner of a drywall business and is running for public office for the first time. Cloutier said he’s not running because of any particular issues, but rather because of a desire to make a difference and bring a conservative sensibility to the Town Council.

He prefers the town shy away from borrowing more money and focus on operating efficiently.

“I’m pretty conservative; I believe in people taking care of themselves,” Cloutier said. “The tax rate itself is not bad, but (property) valuations are a little high. If voters want someone to make an attempt to lower taxes, I’m the guy.”

Fitch, 38, co-owner of D&L Tree Service, said he’s also a first-time candidate and is looking to give back to the town if elected to the Town Council. Fitch is also chairman of the Winslow Family Fourth of July celebration.

“I love Winslow, I love the people, I love it the way it is,” Fitch said. “I don’t see a lot of problems with the town. I would hate to see big changes.”

Fitch said town officials have done a good job keeping municipal expenses as low as possible to avoid raising taxes.

He thinks, however, that the town could be run more like a business and he would bring that viewpoint to the council.

“I don’t spend money I don’t have,” Fitch said. “I’m all about saving money.”

Quirion, 65, is a utility and railroad coordinator for the Maine Department of Transportation and ran unsuccessfully for the council last year. Quirion, who retired from the Navy Reserve after 38 years, said he’d bring new ideas to town government.

“We’ve got to become innovative,” Quirion said. “We should be working with all businesses in a way that would foster business growth in the town. I don’t believe they are currently.”

Also, Quirion thinks the town should be seeking more grant money and “not just rely on property tax,” so that the tax rate can be lowered and other expenses reduced. Lower taxes is especially important to the town’s elderly population, Quirion said, because they could be forced to sell their properties and move away if the tax burden becomes too high.

Quirion said his experience in state government will help when the town pursues grants. “I know where you can find it, how you can handle things; I got the experience on how we can get some funding and how to do it,” he said.

Although there will not be a candidate on ballot for District 5, Steve Russell, a 17-year town council veteran, is running for re-election as a write-in candidate because he said he accidentally missed the filing deadline.

“I would like to apologize for that,” Russell said. “It just caught me at the wrong time — I just misread the date on the application and missed it by a week. It was unintentional. When you look at the ballot, you’ll have to write my name in.”

The other open position on the ballot is for District 1. Incumbent Cathy Nadeau is unopposed for it.

School races

Seats on the Winslow School Committee will also be on the election ballot.

The three candidates vying for an at-large seat on the school board are Daniel Berard, Claudette Cliche and Dennis Dacus.

Incumbents Brad Grant, Joel Selwood and Ron Whary and are running unopposed, while there will be no candidates for the District 4 ballot.

Berard, 43, who works in sales and marketing for Wallingford’s forestry supplies, used to be a member of the Winslow parent-teacher organization. He is an incumbent on the school board.

“I want to simply help out and give back to the community,” Berard said.

Berard said he brings a blunt style as a school committee member, saying he’s not a “yes man” who will automatically accept practices and procedures. “I give an honest response; sometimes the truth hurts because it’s supposed to,” he said. “That’s why a lot of people don’t ask, ‘What do you think?'”

Top issues for Berard include finding more creative ways for the schools to trim expenses while not diminishing services and maintaining a record of the school committee reaching consensus on most issues.

Cliche, 64, is retired, used to work as a secretary, and is a member of the Friends of Fort Halifax group. She ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Town Council last year.

Cliche said she’s running because she cares about the town’s children.

“I want the school system to improve,” Cliche said. “I want to do something about the bullying — I don’t think it’s anything anyone takes seriously enough. I just think we have to pay attention to our children.”

On the school budget, Cliche said, “We have to make logical decisions instead of just cutting and hurrying up to get out of a meeting.”

“If we cut the budget so much, the kids aren’t going to get a good education,” she said. “The bottom line is we have to make decisions that will benefit our future citizens. I love the kids who are in school and I want them to be proud when they say they come from Winslow, Maine.”

Dacus, 43, is a physical education teacher at Cony High School in Augusta and is part-time director of the Winslow Parks and Recreation Department. Dacus ran unsuccessfully for the school board last year. He also officiates high school football.

He’s running for the seat because he’s seen a lot of changes take place in education and, with a master’s degree in education, thinks he can help as the community makes tough financial decisions.

“It always comes down to money, facilities and buildings,” Dacus said. “Being a lifelong resident of Winslow, I can weigh in on what has been a success and what has not.”

Dacus said it’s important for the schools to maintain student-teacher ratios while keeping education expenses down.

“It’s keeping in mind the taxpayer and community and making sure the education system remains that way,” Dacus said. “I’d like us to attract new families and businesses, too.”

Scott Monroe — 861-9239

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.