Town of China select board candidates are, from left: Janet Preston, Jeanne Marquis, Brent Chesley, Blane Casey and Ron Breton.

CHINA — Five candidates are running for three seats on the China Board of Selectmen this fall.

Current board Chairman Ron Breton and member Janet Preston seek to keep their seats, while three other residents look for their first terms on the board. They look to join board members Wayne Chadwick and Irene Belanger, whose terms expire in 2021, on the five-person board.

Breton, 70, is in his second term as a selectman. He also served four terms on China’s Planning Board. A retired master sergeant with the Maine Army National Guard and former supervisor at the Department for Veteran Affairs, Breton has lived in China for 35 years.

Internet access for all, elderly housing, a community outpatient clinic, elderly transportation and a community center are all things Breton would like to see in China.

“This is my community and this choice was easy for us to make because of the character of the residents,” Breton said. “The town has given us a lot and I want to give back when I can. I believe I have the talent and knowledge to make this an even better community.”

Preston, 59, was elected to the board of selectmen this past spring when another member resigned.

“Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the other dedicated select board members, and I hope to continue to represent the interests of the China citizens for another two years,” Preston said. “I have raised my family here, and now it is time for me to give back to the community.”

Preston has edited the newsletter for the China Lakes Association since 1994, and previously served on the school board. Preston is a supporter of China Village’s boat landing improvement project, and would like to see a retirement community built in China some day.

Brent Chesley, Blane Casey and Jeanne Marquis are all looking for their first experiences on a municipal select board.

Chesley, 51, was recently appointed to China’s tax increment finance committee. Chesley is a longtime employee and current co-owner of Wyman & Simpson Inc., a construction contractor.

Chesley believes his profession prepared him well for important decision-making on the board. He believes China faces a challenge with a lack of economic development and water quality of China Lake, among other things.

“I am running for China Board of Selectmen because my career experiences have given me the ability to problem solve, make well-reasoned decisions and get things done by getting informed and updated on the issues, rather than making rash decisions without having all of the facts,” Chesley said.

Casey, 61, is a self-employed general contractor. He is focused on lowering taxes and eliminating “wasteful” spending at the town level.

“Having been raised in (the) town of China and raising my own children in the town, I would like to give back to my community,” Casey said. “I am hopeful to assist with fiscal responsibility for our town, which will allow our aging population to stay in their community without financial hardship.”

Marquis, 63, said “it is apparently part of my DNA” to serve her community. A retired communications specialist, Marquis previously served as a board member of the Children’s Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, and currently is a board member of The Town Line Newspaper, which is funded by the town government.

Her family’s China roots go back five generations. Marquis wishes to confront the challenge China faces of balancing rural life with growth. After the coronavirus pandemic, she hopes to see more community gathering spaces.

“China has so much to offer with the lake, ATV trails, Thurston Park, two libraries and great schools,” Marquis said. “What is missing is a place to gather, maybe grab coffee, get to know neighbors and host events. Social distancing won’t always be with us.”


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