RICHMOND — Six people are running for two seats on the Richmond Board of Selectmen, and three are running for one seat on the Regional School Unit 2 board in town elections to be held Tuesday.

The election is held in conjunction with the state’s primary election. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Richmond High School at 132 Main St.


Randy Bodge, 56, said the experience he gained while working throughout his career for the state Department of Transportation, including dealing with large budgets, would be a help to the board.

Bodge started working on bridges and worked up to management positions in two DOT regions.

“With my knowledge, skills and abilities, I can also help plan the maintenance schedules for the year,” he said. Bodge said he has no particular agenda; he’s just interested in serving his town.

The existing board is doing a fine job, he said, adding that he would make sure town residents don’t regret voting for him.

“I don’t foresee for there ever to be a way to lower taxes, but it’s nice to stall, and try to maintain the level they are at,” he said.

This is Bodge’s first run for public office.

Bodge graduated from Richmond High School. He is married.

His brother, Robert Bodge, is the current vice chairman of the selectmen.

Marilynn Grizkewitsc.

Marilynn Grizkewitsch, 48, said she’s running in part because of her family’s tradition of being involved in town politics, starting with her father in neighboring Bowdoinham, and continuing in the current generation with her five brothers and sisters.

“I would like to have some input in regard to some decisions that are made,” Grizkewitsch said.

The town needs to be fiscally responsible, but officials also have to consider what town residents want. For instance, she favors increasing recreational programs in town for all ages. But as town residents want more services, she said, that brings increased costs.

Richmond, like many other communities, faces a shortage of qualified public safety workers, and Grizkewitsch said she’s concerned about whether Richmond can be competitive in paying them to provide quality service.

“I’m looking at future growth and how we as a town are going to fit in. Are we going to be a town that’s an outlier in growth and development? Or will we play a role in the growth in the Greater Portland and Greater Augusta areas?”

Grizkewitsch is a special education teacher in School Administrative District 11, the Gardiner-area school district. She’s married with two children and two stepchildren.

O’Neil LaPlante Jr., 72, is wrapping up his first term on the Board of Selectmen.

During his term, the board has been able to provide the services the town needs, he said, and it has been able to cut the budget or keep it flat.

LaPlante said he’s running again because projects, some of which are outlined in the town’s recently updated comprehensive plan, have not yet been completed. He would like to be part of seeing them through.

Among the issues coming up for consideration are the renewal of the town’s Tax Increment Financing district. The arrangement, under which communities can shelter property taxes generated by new development in designated districts and preserve revenue from state-provided sources such as revenue sharing or aid for education, has had a big effect on the community.

“We have to be careful how we chew off that thing or find ourselves in the wrong place,” LaPlante said. “We’re really big on planning; that’s what we have to do.”

If he’s re-elected, LaPlante said, he’d like to work on forming a long-range planning committee to see what ought to be developed in the next five to 10 years — a community center, for instance. It’s a way to give residents a change to get involved, he said.

LaPlante said he’s semi-retired. He’s a part-time substitute teacher and the head football coach at Mt. Ararat High School.

Abben Maguire, 31, currently is a Sagadahoc County grass-roots organizer with the Maine Democrats.

Abben Maguire

If he’s elected, he said, he would be the first millennial (the generation born between 1981 and 1996) to serve on the board. He hopes to be the top of the iceberg of young leadership in a state with an aging population.

After working as the clerk to the Maine Legislature’s Joint Standing Energy, Utilities and Technology Joint Standing Committee, he said, he’s seen a loss in people’s trust for utilities and thinks it’s important to break free of the companies, given that the committee has heard from people who can’t afford food and utility bills. While there’s little to be done at the municipal level now, he said, some municipalities have brought in revenue by leasing town property for solar power generation.

In the same vein, he said he’d like to promote adopting alternatives to corporate cable providers by using mesh wireless networks.

Maguire said he’d like to see a conservation commission created in Richmond, which is critical for articulating the town’s identity.

He’d also like to see a local food sovereignty ordinance that would allow people in Richmond to grow food and sell it to their neighbors.

He attended Marlborough College in Vermont and is single.

Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor, 41, said he’s running for selectman because he wants to see what he can do in that role to change the lives of children.

Taylor is a mason, a paid coach and a fill-in custodian in Regional School Unit 2.

“There’s a huge poverty gap that affects children in this town. It’s been a battle keeping the kids afloat,” he said.

He would start by making sure proper funding is in place for the town’s food pantry and for a backpack program to ensure both children and the town’s elderly have sufficient food.

Taylor has served on the town’s recreation board, which approached town elected officials about having a part-time recreation director. Voters at Richmond’s recent Town Meeting agreed to fund the position in the upcoming budget.

He said he can understand why town residents might not want to see their taxes go up to pay for such a program.

“For me, if my taxes go up a little bit, and these kids get an opportunity to succeed, that’s what I believe my purpose is, to make sure my community thrives,” he said.

That doesn’t meant something down the line couldn’t be cut, he said, but he’s not sure now what it would be. As an outsider running, he said, he thinks there’s room for improvement.

Taylor is married and has two children.

Brian Woodbury, 52, sees his candidacy as way to serve his community.

Brian Woodbury

As director of knowledge management for the U.S. Department of State, Woodbury said he’s been heavily involved in politics at a national and international level. And as chief of lands for the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., he worked with local, state and federal government officials.

“I believe everyone is entitled to a good and fair government,” Woodbury said. “I sought to provide good government at the federal level and I intend to do the same at the local level.”

Local elected offices are the most important ones for Americans to hold, he said.

Woodbury is concerned about the quality of education at Richmond High School, where his youngest child is a student. If there’s role to play in improving the school’s academic standing at the selectman’s level, he said he will push for that.

As a former certified Maine assessor, Woodbury said would like to make sure that the town’s valuation is on point with what properties are selling for, so that town residents are contributing neither too much nor too little to support education.

Richmond is doing well, he said, and he wants that to continue.

“I intend to look at the entire budget and if there are opportunities to operate more efficiently, I am going to raise those issues with the folks that live in Richmond,” he said.

Woodbury said he believes that taxes are high, but he’s not prepared to say at this point whether the level of taxes residents pay is appropriate.

Woodbury has a small real estate company and does consulting and home inspections.

He’s married and has three children. His wife, Mary Lebel-Woodbury, is running for a seat on the RSU 2 school board.


Three candidates are running for the open seat on the Regional School Unit 2 school board. In all, Richmond sends three people to the regional school board.

Jay R. Brown is the incumbent. He did not respond to a request for an interview this week.

John Pearson also did not respond to a request for an interview.

Mary Lebel-Woodbury

Mary Lebel-Woodbury, 51, is running for the school board because she’s interested in public service.

“What really interests me is the policy committee and making changes to the way things are handled as far as discipline. I don’t have a good handle on how things are handled,” she said.

She has heard stories of students cutting classes or not completing assignments. While she doesn’t know whether they are true, she does want to know whether all students are meeting requirements.

“There’s a lot going on with kids’ rights, and issues of transgender kids,” she said. “I don’t have an opinion, and I am open-minded, but I don’t want our children to feel uncomfortable for a position they are put in because of another student’s rights. I have read some of the (meeting) minutes, and it’s hard to discern what they are talking about.”

As a graduate of Richmond High School, she said, she’s concerned that the school district is not giving its best to the students.

“We want our son to go on to a college degree or a technical school. We want to make sure he’s prepared for this and all the kids are prepared for this.”

Lebel-Woodbury is an occupational therapist with a specialty in hands with Central Maine Othopedics in Auburn.

She’s married and has three children. Her husband, Brian Woodbury, is running for a seat on the Richmond Board of Selectmen.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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