HALLOWELL — A candidates forum Tuesday at 6 p.m. will offer Hallowell residents a chance to feel out their local candidates ahead of the Nov. 6 elections.

Candidates for city, state and Kennebec County offices will all be on hand, according to Hallowell Mayor Mark Walker, who will moderate the event. They will get three to five minutes for opening remarks and then the public will be able to ask them questions. Walker noted that this is the first time a County Commissioner candidate has attended the forum.

Walker and the sitting councilors have formulated a few questions to ask the candidates during the forum. The questions for the state and county candidates will mainly focus directly on how their policies will affect Hallowell.

There is only one contested race for a council seat in Hallowell, between newcomer Patrick Wynne and incumbent Ward 5 Councilor Lisa Harvey-McPherson.

Wynne, a firefighter and paramedic for Augusta Fire and Rescue who moved to Hallowell four years ago, said last month he has considered running for a while to be more engaged in city politics. A father of three children — aged 5 months to 5 years old — Wynne said he would like to see service for the Kennebec Explorer bus extended to Granite Hill Estates and advocated for more “soft benefits” for municipal workers.

Harvey-McPherson is seeking her fifth term on the council. She said her fiscally conservative tendencies balance out the council and her previous experience will help with some of the council’s important upcoming decisions, like the future of the fire station on Second Street.

Maureen AuCoin and Kara Walker will run unopposed for Councilor-at-Large and Ward 3 Councilor, respectively.

Walker said Kate Dufour will be at the forum because she will run a write-in campaign for the Ward 1 Councilor position for which no one returned nominations.

The other three seats on the council are occupied by Councilor-at-Large George Lapointe, Ward 2 Councilor Michael Frett and Ward 4 Councilor Diano Circo.

Walker said candidates for the Senate District 14 — representing Chelsea, Farmingdale, Gardiner, Hallowell, Manchester, Monmouth, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield, West Gardiner and Winthrop — incumbent Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, and challenger Matthew Stone, R-West Gardiner, will also appear at the forum.

According to a questionnaire supplied to all Maine House and Senate candidates, Bellows said she supported universal healthcare, but not an independent state-run program, and the ability for Maine schools to opt-in or -out of proficiency-based diplomas. She added that she supports a prevention, law enforcement and treatment method to address the state’s opiate crisis.

Stone said in his questionnaire that he does not think a state universal health care program would be viable and supports the “right-to-shop” to reduce out-of-pocket costs. He added that he does not support proficiency-based education and “support(s) “tough love” policies that force people off opiates rather than wean them onto other substances.”

Candidates in House District 84 — representing Hallowell, Manchester and West Gardiner — incumbent Charlotte Warren, D-Hallowell, and long-time Maine politician Earle McCormick, R-West Gardiner, will attend the forum.

Warren and McCormick declined to answer their questionnaires.

Nancy Rines and Joseph Pietroski will also be on hand as they vie for the District 2 Kennebec County Commissioner position that oversees Farmingdale, Fayette, Gardiner, Hallowell, Litchfield, Monmouth, Mount Vernon, Pittston, Randolph, Readfield, Vienna, Wayne, West Gardiner and Winthrop.

Rines has been the incumbent District 2 Commissioner since 1982. Pietroski is a former president and treasurer of the Maine Bankers Association,

The forum will take place in the Hallowell City Hall auditorium.

A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Shenna Bellows stance on health care. She supports universal health care, but not an independent state-run program, as that would be too financially cumbersome. It was a reporting error. 

Sam Shepherd — 621-5666

[email protected]

Twitter: @SamShepME

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