Shelby Chadwick is the Democratic Party candidate for Maine House of Representatives District 49, which includes Cushing, Friendship, Union and Warren.

“I was approached by current legislators who were looking for someone with an agricultural and fishing background to run for this seat,” Chadwick said Sept. 21. She said she had not previously campaigned for elected office.

After thinking about it and talking with friends and family, she decided to run for the seat.

“I’m interested in giving back to the community and supporting the industries that are here,” she said.

Chadwick said she learned public service from her parents who are active in the Knox-Lincoln Soil and Water Conservation District, the Maine Farm Bureau and the American Angus Association, and that she has attended meetings of those organizations. She said she learned a lot about fisheries from her father, a former lobster fisherman and mussel harvester.

“Right now I’m not tied to anything,” she said.

Chadwick served as Maine Blueberry Queen in 2008 and 2009.

“That puts you in the spotlight as an ambassador for the blueberry industry,” she said.

Chadwick said that she didn’t think her role in Augusta would be that of a persuader, but rather as a voice for those she was meeting as she knocked on doors during her campaign. She said it was a matter of having the district’s agenda in mind, rather than one of her own.

“They can educate and guide me,” she said.

“I’m so excited by the support and network I’ve established,” she said. She said she enjoyed meeting and reconnecting with people in the community and that she’d be honored if she had the opportunity to represent them.

“No matter what the outcome it is such a wonderful experience,” she said. “The hard work and long days are worth it.”

When there are differences of opinion, she said that respectful conversation was the best path.

“We’re not always going to agree,” Chadwick said. “I try to get information from all sides.”

Chadwick, who received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Orono in 2008, said she worked her way through college.

Chadwick said she was not active in the Democratic Party and did not attend the party’s convention that was held in Lewiston May 21 and May 22. She said she had not read the party platform but studied the Knox County Democratic Committee’s Web site and attended its meetings.

On the topic of wind energy, she said she supported research and funding for alternative energy but was still seeking information on the impacts of wind energy development.

“I am all for alternative energy,” Chadwick said. “I don’t know enough about the specifics and am not sure yet if [wind turbines are] good for Maine.”

Chadwick said she supported making marijuana accessible for those with a medical need.

“If people need it and are in pain, and if their physician and medical team support it they should get it,” she said. Chadwick also said that those patients who were near death should not be denied remedies that would make their final days better.

“I’m not sure that consolidating schools and classes is the way to go,” she said. “When you have superintendents that make $120,000 a year and smallish districts consolidation is one way to go.”

Chadwick said that she supported increased efficiency in government, especially in terms of saving resources and reducing manpower, but that such decisions should be made with an eye to maintaining needed services. She said she had heard from independent business owners who feel they have lost their voice in Augusta due to consolidation of state offices.

In regard to a proposal to eliminate the Bureau of Environmental Protection, made by independent gubernatorial candidate Eliot Cutler, Chadwick said she did not see a good reason to do that. She said regulation and oversight were necessary and that reforming the bureau, rather than disbanding it, would be a better way to ensure that the environment is protected without obstructing appropriate business growth.

She said she did not have information about Democratic gubernatorial candidate Libby Mitchell’s proposal to consolidate the Department of Economic and Community Development with the State Planning Office.

Chadwick said that health care was one of the issues she heard most about while knocking on citizens’ doors.

“A lot are unhappy with Dirigo,” she said. “I think we need to look at getting affordable, accessible health care for everybody, but I’m not sure about the route to get there at this point.”

Chadwick said federal fisheries regulators, the Department of Marine Resources and local fishing communities should be working together to preserve the communities and the resource.

She said Maine should weigh in on national and global issues such as climate change.

“Especially with an issue like global climate change because Maine is seeing the effects sooner and faster than other parts of the world,” she said. “For example, sea levels are rising and the tectonic plates Maine sits on are sinking. So with much of our state being involved in marine industries these changes are very important to us.”

“When I go door-to-door, people are talking about the state budget,” she said. Chadwick said she would like to see state government return to a balanced budget.

“Because of the makeup of this district, I am interested in helping farmers, fishermen and owners of mom and pop businesses,” she said.

“A lot of people find it hard to make a living,” she said. Chadwick said it was especially difficult for young people to gain and hold jobs in Maine and that helping them stay in the state was crucial.

Chadwick said she was undecided in the race for governor.

The Herald Gazette Reporter Shlomit Auciello can be reached at 207-236-8511 or by e-mail at sauciello@villagesoup.com.

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