BENTON — A selectwoman arrested outside the Blaine House during an Occupy Augusta protest Nov. 27 may face a recall election.

Gerald Thompson said Benton Selectwoman Kimberley Cormier, one of nine protesters charged with trespassing and failure to disperse during a protest on the grounds of the governor’s residence, should be recalled on moral grounds.

Thompson, a self-described social conservative, said because Cormier knowingly broke the law she wasn’t setting a proper example for young people and wasn’t being a good representative of the community.

Thompson said he is a member of the Kennebec County Republican Committee and helps recruits Republican candidates for office.

Thompson said that he, Tyler LeClair and several other residents will be circulating petitions over the next few days to recall Cormier. Once they start they have 14 days to collect the required signatures, he said. They have to gather about 125 signatures of registered Benton voters, 10 percent of the number of voters in the last gubernatorial election, in order for a recall election to be held.

A recall allows citizens to remove and replace a public official before the end of a term of office. Cormier’s term as selectwoman expires in 2013.

Cormier said Tuesday that it is within the rights of citizens to gather signatures for a recall, just as it was within her right to protest at the Blaine House.

“If they don’t want me, they’ll tell me,” she said. “I grew up here and live on land my grandfather owned. I did not do this on a lark. I thought about it. I consider what I did (protesting) grassroots politics.”

About 100 Occupy Augusta members and supporters marched to the governor’s residence, the Blaine House, Nov. 27 to protest the state order for the encampment in Capitol Park, which is owned and managed by the state, to get a permit. Nine were arrested.

“Civil disobedience is important,” Cormier said. “I hope the movement continues and I hope it is a peaceful movement.”

Cormier said it cost her about $60 to make bail, which she posted. One condition of her release is that she stay off Blaine House property.

Cormier, who said she has not been a regular participant in Occupy Augusta events and had not stayed overnight at the park, added that she planned to fight the charges in court.

At the time of her arrest, Cormier said she did not believe the charges against her would have a negative impact on her role as a town official in Benton. “I’ve gotten nothing but support from my fellow selectmen,” she said .

Tuesday afternoon, Cormier said she had not received calls or communication from any residents dissatisfied with her a act of civil disobedience.

Cormier said she ran for election “to keep things on an even keel” and was pleased that local officials have been able to keep Benton property taxes from increasing.

“Honestly, I expected this (recall),” she said. “It’s not a surprise. I kind of wonder about their motivation.”

Beth Staples — 861-9252

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