SKOWHEGAN — Three candidates have lined up to compete for the open House District 107 seat made vacant because Democratic House Majority Leader Jeff McCabe is leaving because of term limits and is seeking election to the state Senate.

Candidate Mike Pelletier, 54, the longtime manager of Aubuchon Hardware in Skowhegan, is running as an independent. Skowhegan Selectwoman Betty Austin, 69, is running as a Democrat and Anne Amadon, 56, a longtime party volunteer whose husband, Tim, ran for the same seat two years ago, is running as a Republican.

The district includes all of Skowhegan and the part of East Madison where the county jail is located.

Education, jobs, economic development and the economy all are on the minds of the candidates.

Pelletier said that while he has been active in the community, he has never run for public office. He said he intends to listen to the people and chart his course of action in Augusta based on what he hears. He said he is not affiliated with either major party because of “all the partisan bickering and mud slinging that seem to take place constantly.”

He said he is conservative and has voted mostly Republican.

Pelletier said education is his top concern. He said his area of focus as an education technician was with behaviorally challenged students. His wife is a teacher.

“The lack of parenting is huge, and I think there really needs to be some outreach for parents who don’t know how to parent,” he said. “Poverty and education — they do go hand-in-hand. They’re not getting a head start.”

Pelletier said property taxes and how they apply to schools also are a concern of his. He said Maine needs to be more fiscally responsible about spending on education. He admits he has good ideas but no real answers yet. Another issue, he said, is food waste in schools, such as how much of the free breakfast and lunch is thrown away.

For Anne Amadon, the big issues facing Skowhegan are jobs and the economy.

“We’ve got to buckle together and find a way to bring into the area some good-paying jobs,” she said. “People cannot live on minimum wage, and businesses will not survive.”

Amadon said that when jobs are considered, the question of energy costs in Maine arises. She said it is important to encourage large businesses to come to Maine, and the cost of doing business — fuel, electricity — can be prohibitive. She said legislators should “put it all on the table” and come up with a plan to lower energy costs.

“I want to go down there and represent the people of my town … not special interest groups … not lobbyists … I don’t want to be bullied by any particular party,” she said. “I want to go down there and vote for what I feel is the best thing for our town.”

Austin said she has a track record of working for the people and is willing to listen and collaborate with other legislators in Augusta to get work done.

She said economic development is key to bringing “good-paying jobs” and a better standard of living to Skowhegan. Part of that, she said, is making education available to everyone to learn a trade or to get a college degree.

“I’m concerned about young people having such high debt load when they graduate from college,” she said. “And I’m not sure what the answer for that is, but I just know that education and getting people educated so they can do jobs is so important.”

Austin said health issues also are important — making sure people are healthy and fit, such as using the walking and bike trails in Skowhegan.

“The healthier we are, the less we’re a burden to society; and the healthier we are, the more we can work. It all goes together,” she said.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow


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.

filed under: