FAIRFIELD — Two seats on the Town Council are up for a vote, and residents will decide among four candidates in next month’s contested election.

The seats are currently held by John Picchiotti, the council chairman, and Peter Lawrence, council secretary. Both are running for reelection. Also running are Beverly Busque and Matthew Townsend.

A major ongoing issue in town has been the PFAS contamination in wells, which all candidates named as a priority.

Picchiotti has been on the council since 2013 and became its chairman in 2020. He is also on a number of other local boards and committees. Previously, he was a Maine School Administrative District 49 school board member, a Kennebec Valley Community College trustee and a state representative.

Picchiotti said he thinks his experience on the council is an asset, and he’s focused on keeping taxes down and retaining town employees.

“We’ve got a lot going on and there’s going to be situations coming up that are going to have to be handled,” Picchiotti said. “We’re in the process of trying to work on this PFAS stuff, to get everything fixed. It’s going to be difficult but there’s lots of things we can do.”

Lawrence, the other incumbent, has been on the council for three years. He is a veterans’ benefits specialist with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Regarding PFAS contamination, Lawrence said his home has been affected and the state Department of Environmental Protection installed a filter to address it earlier this year.

“I’ve been there three years, I know the town. It took me a while to understand what the town needs,” Lawrence said. “I am still fighting for the residents in Fairfield.”

Busque previously served three years on the council and said she left the panel in order to take care of her ailing husband. A retired correctional officer and bail commissioner, Busque now manages a mobile home park in Fairfield. In 2018, she was a Republican candidate for House District 108, but lost in the primary to Shelley Rudnicki.

Busque said she is passionate about wetland and bird conservation, and thinks her previous time on the council will help. “I’ve got three years of experience under my belt and I’m a sharp as a tack,” Busque said. “I was very well liked on the Town Council.”

Townsend has not previously served in town government, but he has always wanted to be involved in the community, he said. When he was growing up, his father was a councilor.

A veterinarian, Townsend founded Hometown Veterinary Care in Fairfield. He recently sold the practice, but still works there, with reduced hours.

He said he’d like to spend his new free time on council business, where he’ll focus on economic development, taxes and making sure the town hires good people and lets them do their jobs.

He added that living in Fairfield Center gives him a unique point of view, and he will be able to represent that part of town.

“That’s what makes a good town councilor — you have to listen and you have to care,” Townsend said. “I have shown that in my profession and now I hope to do that for this town.”


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