Two Republican Fairfield town officials will square off in the primary election Tuesday to represent House District 108.

Beverly Busque, 58, has been on the Fairfield Town Council for a year and a half. A retired correctional officer, Busque said she wanted to run for the state House of Representatives mainly because of a bill the Senate did not pass that would have outlawed female genital mutilation. She said if elected, she plans to make sure that it becomes illegal in Maine.

“I have a real problem with that,” she said.

Busque described herself as a “pro-lifer” who was anti-abortion, pro-military and supportive of veterans’ causes. She said one thing she was proud of during her time on the Town Council was bringing back the Pledge of Allegiance to Town Meetings in May. She said while the Town Council does salute the American flag at its regular meetings, the Pledge of Allegiance largely had been neglected during Town Meetings.

“I just think if the flag is present it should be saluted,” said Busque, who comes from a long line of military veterans.

Busque said she is also passionate about the national anthem and did not support anyone kneeling during the anthem, as several high-profile professional athletes in the National Football League did last year.

Busque said if she is elected, she plans to continue serving on the council. The incumbent representative, Rep. John Picchiotti, also serves on the council and is not seeking another term. He served in Augusta and Fairfield simultaneously.

Busque said she’s lived in Fairfield for three years, and before that lived in Waterville for 25 years. She was born in Clinton and went to the Fairfield-based Lawrence High School.

“I’m a Bulldog through and through,” she said.

As a former correctional officer, Busque said she would work toward creating stricter laws aimed at people who prey on children and would be an advocate for women who are victims of domestic abuse. Many times she saw female victims come to the jail to bail their abusers out, and she doesn’t want women to be fearful of coming forward.

“Domestic violence doesn’t fly with me,” Busque said.

Regarding revenue sharing and the state’s unfulfilled commitment to funding 55 percent of Essential Programs and Services funding, Busque said “there’s a lot of things that need to be changed” or that haven’t been done, and said there’s “all kinds of things I want to see changed,” but didn’t offer up specific ideas for fixes.

Busque’s primary challenger, Shelley Rudnicki, is the chairman of the School Administrative District 49 board of directors. Rudnicki, 51, who owns Shelley’s Used Car Lot in Fairfield, said she had been thinking about running for office at the legislative level office for the last 20 years and is able to do so now because her children have graduated from college and her business could be run without her daily attention.

Having been on the school board for the last 10 years — including the last three as chairman — as well as spending 10 years on the Fairfield Planning Board, Rudnicki said she considered it her civic responsibility to represent the people of Fairfield and the district. She said now is the right time for her to run.

“I’ve always been civic-minded, and I’ve been involved in the community for many years,” she said.

Rudnicki said she wanted to make a difference on a state level, and this is the time for her to do that. Having lived in Fairfield for the last 24 years, she said she’s been involved with the town on many levels. She is the chairman of Central Maine CATV and has been active in the schools and in booster and parent teacher organizations. Her own business is 5 years old.

She said she was interested in tax reform and wanted to see less “government red tape” for small businesses. Education is a major issue for her. She said she has a unique perspective on the state’s unfulfilled 55 percent EPS funding, and that there are plenty of citizen-voted initiatives that come up but don’t get dealt with. “Kids are our future,” she said, so funding schools was a major issue, as she wants to see “our kids be able to excel.”

She didn’t want to weigh in on revenue sharing issues without studying the benefits and drawbacks more, she said.

Fairfield is a town hit hard by high property taxes, which affect everyone from the elderly to first-time home buyers, she said.

“We have things we need to work on together to address,” she said.

Rudnicki said she wants voters to know she’s a “leader, I’m not a follower,” and will only do what she thinks is right, not what “someone tells me to do.”

On the Democratic side, Fairfield Town Councilor Aaron Rowden is running unopposed for his party’s nomination. House District 108 consists of Fairfield, Mercer and Smithfield.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

 

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