SKOWHEGAN — Longtime community volunteer Gene Rouse was elected Tuesday to the Skowhegan Board of Selectmen.

Rouse received 191 votes, edging Randall Franck, with 153 votes; Christopher Kruse, with 123 votes; and Stephen Emery, who got 42 votes.

Four candidates were on the election ballot Tuesday for one open seat on the five-member board, which was vacated by outgoing chairman Donald Skillings, who declined to seek re-election.

Steven Emery, a local building contractor, was facing plumbing contractor Randall Franck, Rouse and local developer Christopher Kruse.

There also were four open seats from Skowhegan on the School Administrative District 54 board of directors. There were three candidates on the ballot for the school board seats: incumbents Mark Bedard was elected with 347 votes; Jeannie Conley, with 333 votes; and Margaret Lovejoy, with 307 votes.

Derek Ellis, the park ranger at Lake George Regional Park, was elected to the school board as a write-in candidate with 46 votes.


Rouse, 73, moved to Skowhegan with his wife, Amy, in 1991 because they liked what they saw in the local school system. He studied chemical engineering in his native Missouri and worked for the quality assurance programs at the former Solon Manufacturing and Crowe Rope Industries. Rouse is on the Skowhegan Budget and Finance Committee and was a member of the Main Street Skowhegan board. He and his wife are recent recipients of the Spirit of America award for their volunteering in the community.

Town issues important to Rouse include attempting to keep police officers and police chiefs in town and not have them leave for other departments.

“I have a track record of wanting to be a little more proactive in retaining our police officers,” he said. “I would like to retain the police chief longer than we have since Butch Asselin was here. When we first moved here, the officers were here. You got to know them.”

Rouse said he also would like to see more funding in the town’s capital reserve accounts for the next “rainy day,” if it ever comes. He said he’s a fiscal conservative and a social moderate.

Emery, 41, said he is a builder of new homes, renovations and additions as well as a big-rig truck driver. He is married and has two young children. Emery grew up in Fairfield and later moved to Skowhegan, where he graduated from high school. He said he has never run for office before but served as a trustee of a church committee in the past.

Randall Franck, 68, graduated from Skowhegan Area High School in 1967 and went on to get a degree in plumbing and heating from Northern Maine Community College in Presque Isle. He has run R.L. Franck Plumbing and Heating ever since.


Kruse, 49, a member of the Planning Board, moved back to Maine 10 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where he and his family were in the hotel business. He grew up in Jackman and lived in Skowhegan during his youth. He is owner of Tradewinds Market in Norridgewock and Olde School Apartments on the site of the former junior high school in Skowhegan, which he originally wanted to turn into a hotel. He previously was on the Norridgewock Planning Board.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367



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