Kelly Couture, of Sidney, and Michael Perkins, of Oakland, both say if elected to the House District 77 seat now held by Robert Nutting, their top priority will be to keep taxes from rising.

The Republicans face off in the Tuesday’s primary in their quest to represent House District 77, which consists of Sidney and part of Oakland. The winner will face Democrat Alan Tibbetts, of Sidney, in the November general election.

Nutting, of Oakland, is preventing from running for re-election by term limits.

Couture, 57, a Sidney selectwoman, said she was inspired by Gov. Paul LePage to get involved in politics.

Couture said she believes in not raising taxes and has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising to oppose and vote against any increase in taxes, unless something is cut to keep the revenue neutral. She also supports welfare reform.

“I’m a compassionate conservative,” Couture said. She said previously she has used welfare to get through tough times and she was glad it was there, but she was even happier when she no longer needed it.

Couture said she has a religious worldview and attends Kennebec Baptist Church. She is also anti-abortion and wants to create more jobs in Maine.

“I’m running because I believe strongly in our liberties and the Constitution,” she said in a phone interview Thursday.

Perkins, 54, the chairman of the Oakland Town Council, said Wednesday, “If you don’t like things how they are, you might as well get involved.”

Perkins, who said he’s always been a leader, aims to be as fiscally responsible as possible in his role on the Town Council, where he’s served for eight years. He said he believes in welfare reform, lowering taxes and cutting health insurance costs.

“I think we give too much money away,” he said.

He also wants to lower energy costs to help small businesses, as well as spur job growth in Oakland and Sidney so people will be more apt to stay in the area. As the owner of a small business, Perkins said he thinks insurance costs and high energy costs are the most difficult obstacles to overcome.

His signs, which read “I am one of us for us,” best describe why he’s running, he said.

Couture has been on the Sidney board for six years and plans to continue if elected, she said. She also served on the school board of Regional School Unit 18 for 12 years. The Oakland-based district also includes the towns of Sidney, Rome, Belgrade and China.

She’s also on the board of directors of the Humane Society in Waterville, where she said she worked with the director to turn it into a no-kill shelter..

She grew up in Maine in a military family and graduated from Thomas College in Waterville with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 1981. She ran a day care center, then worked at MS Walker, a wine distributor, for 13 years. She works part time at the Snow Pond Arts Academy in Sidney as an administrative assistant to the head of the school, and she said her employers are aware that her first priority, if elected, will be to the Legislature.

Perkins was raised on a dairy farm in Belgrade and has lived in Oakland for 30 years.

He is retired from the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office, where he worked for 34 years, and has owned and operated KMD Driving School in Oakland since 2001. He spent four years in the Air Force after graduating from Messalonskee High School.

Perkins has taken college classes at universities in Maine and Maryland but chose to work instead of completing a degree.

Perkins does a number of other things for the community, he said, such as hosting free Thanksgiving dinners for more than 1,000 people each year, donating money to field trips for fifth-graders and collecting gifts for needy families.

He is Oakland’s Town Council and has been its chairman for eight years.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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