AUGUSTA — Augusta City Councilor Michael Michaud and Army veteran James Orr are squaring off in the Republican primary to represent part of Augusta in the state House of Representatives.

The two candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for House District 59 on Tuesday. The winner of the Republican primary would face Rep. Raegan LaRochelle, a Democrat who is unchallenged in the primaries.

The district, following redistricting last year, roughly consists of northern Augusta, on the west side of the Kennebec River. Most of the district was previously part of House District 86.

Michaud was elected to represent Ward 3 on the Augusta City Council in 2019, after serving for a year on the Augusta Board of Education.

“I have developed a big passion for giving back to my community,” Michaud said of why he’s running for the House, noting he and his wife started an annual backpack and school supply giveaway through the Augusta Elks Lodge. “And that passion has continued to grow. After serving two and a half years on the council, I’ve paid attention to a lot of the issues that are issues not just in the city but all over the state. I feel I have the passion and understanding of people and that I can make a difference at the State House.”

Orr has not held elected office before, but ran against LaRochelle in 2021 for the former House District 86 seat. He lost to her in a special election held to fill the seat vacated when former Rep. Justin Fecteau, R-Augusta, resigned in July of 2021.


Augusta City Councilor Michael Michaud, a candidate in the Republican primary for the state House of Representatives District 59 in Augusta. Courtesy of Michael Michaud

“Most politicians have lost sight of what makes America great, and we need to get back to the basics,” Orr, who volunteers as president of Veteran Mentors of Maine, said of why he’s running. “I believe that that starts with everyday people running and kicking career politicians out of office at the ballot box. I will represent the typical hard-working Mainer and not be beholden to special interests or play partisan games.”

Orr said the most important issues facing the state are the current costs of necessities like gas, food, heating oil and prescription drugs, that people’s rights are being eroded by government and big technology companies and that parental rights need to be protected.

He said as a state representative he would fight any new tax increases, sponsor a bill to temporarily suspend the gas tax, defend people’s constitutional rights and sponsor a constitutional amendment to solidify parental rights and support their right to choose what school their children attend.

James Orr, an Army veteran and candidate in the Republican primary for the state House of Representatives District 59 in Augusta. Courtesy of James Orr

Michaud said the most important issues facing the state are rising prices and inflation which he said could force elderly and other people with limited incomes out of their homes if left unchecked, and ensuring children get a good education.

He said as a state representative he would listen to constituents and talk to other legislators to come up with a plan to address the high cost of fuel and other staples and would work with legislators from both parties to find bipartisan solutions.

Michaud said he would support looking at eliminating the state income tax, or taking other steps, to decrease the tax burden on Mainers.


Michaud said his resume and community advocacy and leadership make him highly qualified to be a good legislator, and it is up to voters to determine who they feel more comfortable with when they go to the polls.

Michaud said the state could help address the lack of housing in Maine by redirecting some federal funding earmarked for COVID-19 relief to create more affordable housing, and if the state is able to help reduce the cost of goods, it would help address the housing crisis by making housing more affordable.

Orr said one reason the cost of housing is so high is because a lack of skilled workers has resulted in increased building costs and reduced housing inventory. He said the state could help address that by adding more technical education in schools.

He said he would sponsor a bill to implement a voter identification system he said is needed to protect elections.

Orr said while Michaud is a good guy, he supported a bond that will increase Augusta’s property tax during the current economic downturn, which he said is unacceptable.

Orr said he is not a politician and is more concerned about helping regular people than what is politically expedient.

Polls will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Polling locations are based on residential addresses, with those who live in Ward 1 voting at the Buker Community Center, 22 Armory St.; those in Ward 2 at Augusta City Center, 16 Cony St.; those in Ward 3 at the Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Drive; and those in Ward 4 at Cony High School, 60 Pierce Drive.

Related Headlines

Comments are no longer available on this story