AUGUSTA — In the contested race for Kennebec County register of deeds, Republican Matthew Boucher is challenging incumbent Democrat C. Diane Wilson.

Because Wilson was appointed to fill the position about a year ago, this is the first election for both candidates.

In Maine, the registry of deeds maintains and preserves all documents and plans recorded at the registry. In Kennebec County, those records date to the late 1700s, and now include mortgages, contracts, deeds, liens and plans. The duties of the office and register are spelled out in state law.

It is one of the few county offices that generates revenue for the county, lessening the amount of money to be raised through property tax to support county operations.

The register of deeds position is paid an annual salary of $54,415 in Kennebec County.

Both candidates say they want to deliver a high level of customer service to those who use the registry, and provide ready access to the documents the office maintains.

Boucher, 35, of Oakland said while many people might overlook the role of county government, the registry of deeds serves an important role in people’s lives, and he would bring a new perspective to the job.

“Deeds are dealing with people’s most significant life purchases, and maintaining accuracy and making sure their purchase is protected (is important),” he said.

Matthew Boucher

Boucher said as he has spoken with people when campaigning, one concern they have mentioned is title fraud, in which property titles are transferred through forgery. If elected, Boucher said he would work to ensure staff members at the registry of deeds are trained to spot problems. He also seeks to ensure the registry’s technology is up to date, and review ways to improve the office’s operations.

Boucher is a graphic designer and owns Aurora Marketing in Waterville. He has a background as a retail operations manager and customer service manager for TJ Maxx, and he was elected to the Ellsworth City Council in 2009, when he was 22, and served a partial term. He left the council seat when he was promoted to another job at the same company in New Hampshire.

Wilson, 63, came to Maine in 1994 with her husband, who was in the U.S. Navy and stationed in Brunswick, and their family, settling in Litchfield.

After taking a job to fill in for a temporary vacancy at the Kennebec County Treasurer’s office, she applied for an opening at the registry of deeds and was hired. In the time she has worked for the registry, she said she has worked in every position, so she is able to fill in if needed.

C. Diane Wilson

Wilson was appointed to serve as register in 2021, after Beverly Bustin-Hatheway, who had held the seat for 19 years, retired in December of that year, citing her health.

“Many of the people I have worked with over the years have encouraged me to run because they want to see me stay here in this office,” Wilson said, “and they know that I am very committed to my position as register of deeds.”

The most important part of her job is ensuring documents are correct and accessible to the public, she said, and that they are processed correctly.

Wilson said she does not see a lot of title fraud happening in Maine, noting there are fraud alert services that will notify title holders in the event of a problem.

“It’s never been an issue,” she said.

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