MANCHESTER — Three residents, each of whom would be new to the board, are squaring off to fill two available positions on the Board of Selectmen in Tuesday’s election.

Lance Boucher, Tom Oliver and Paula Thomas are all seeking a position on the board. The two candidates receiving the most votes Tuesday will win the positions.

Boucher, a 35-year-old policy analyst for the American Lung Association of the Northeast, has never held elective office, but he worked on former Gov. John Baldacci’s staff for eight years as an aide. He said he’s running because public service was instilled in him by his family and he wants to get involved in making sure Manchester remains the type of place that first attracted him there.

Oliver, 74, a retired businessman, is a member of the Planning Board. He said he’s running because he cares about the town and being a selectman would be rewarding. It also would give him the opportunity to work on policy changes for governing the town, he said.

Thomas, who declined to give her age, is an executive assistant in the Legislature who serves on the Planning Board and, before moving to Manchester, was on the Gardiner City Council and the School Administrative District 11 Board of Directors. She said she’s running because her father inspired her to give back to the community.

Thomas, who is married and has three children, said she thinks Manchester is doing well. She said one thing missing from town is a restaurant or some other spot that could serve as a community gathering place. She said the town needs careful economic development to bring more businesses and jobs while still retaining the feel of a quaint small town.

“I think, having been brought up in Manchester, I have that knowledge of the town and how it has grown,” Thomas said. “With my background, I have a lot to offer. I’d try to do my best. I’m ready for a new challenge.”

Oliver, who is married and has two sons, said he’s gained a lot of experience on the Planning Board and through his background in business. He looks forward to working on town finances, having the fiscal responsibility to help create a more business-friendly environment, and thinking of creative ways to save the town money.

“I’m concerned about how the town of Manchester will change,” he said. “We need to attract more people here, and businesses and jobs, but we’ve got to do it right. We’ve got to make sure our zoning encourages what is best for the town and the people.”

Boucher, who is married and has two sons, said he came to Manchester because of its good schools, reasonable taxes and sense of community. He’d like to serve on the board to help maintain those things, he said.

“I’ve owned a small business and worked at all three levels of government — local, state and federal — which I think gives me a unique perspective,” he said. “I can explore grant opportunities to help the town, and think creatively to address problems. We need to attract new residents and businesses to expand the tax base, but we need to make sure we keep the things we all have come to expect and love about Manchester.”

The positions are held now by Maynard Whitten and Don McLeod, neither of whom took out papers seeking re-election.

Polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday at the fire station.

All other positions to be filled in the election are uncontested.

The annual Town Meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Manchester Elementary School.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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