James Heard said May 16 that he is running for a seat on the Camden Select Board because he has always wanted to do it.

“When I moved back to Maine in 1983, one of the reasons was because I wanted to play a part, no matter how small,” he said. “I’ve done lots and lots of things.”

Heard is one of three candidates seeking the Select Board seats currently held by Chairwoman Karen Grove and Vice Chairwoman Deborah Dodge. Select Board members serve three-year terms and are also members of the Board of Assessors.

Heard has been president of the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville Chamber of Commerce and was a founding member of the West Bay Rotary Club. He is in his second term on the Budget Committee and is currently chairman of the Parking, Transportation and Traffic Committee.

At the same time, he said, he has raised four children in the community, all of whom went through the local school system. Two of Heard’s children and two grandchildren still reside in Camden. Another lives in Lincolnville and the fourth is in Portland.

“I think it’s important, if you live here, that you make a contribution,” he said.

“I think we need to look through the eyes of [the Camden Economic Development Advisory Committee] and bring new jobs and new businesses to town,” said Heard.

“We have a huge opportunity to do things. The town could use a little kick in the rear end,” he said.

He said positive additions to Camden might not be new businesses, but could instead be infrastructure improvements such as a proposed footbridge from Harbor Park to the public landing.

“I’m a proponent of getting cars off the public landing,” he said. “That’s an expensive piece of property.”

“It could be a place that makes money,” said Heard. He said the town could rent space for kiosks that sell food and that it was important to use the public landing as a place for people to meet, “not unlike Rockland’s Harbor Park, where they can have festivals and other places for people to gather.”

“The town was given the property by Mrs. Bok and has chosen to use it for parking,” he said. “She also, during the Depression, paid men in the town, who had no work, to build the sea wall there.”

Heard said Camden has always been home to philanthropists.

“I think there are things that can enhance our town and make it special that don’t necessarily employ people,” he said.

Heard said one possible use for the vacant town-owned property where the Apollo Tannery used to be would be a public park.

“Millville is its own little part of town,” he said. “It doesn’t have something that attaches it for the people that live there. Is that the ideal thing? I don’t know. But it would be nice to have places for picnics.” Heard said residents were already using the property that way.

“I would get behind it being a permanent home for the farmers market,” he said. “I could get behind some kind of company involved in a green industry.”

Heard said he was interested in net-zero home construction, a type of building that incorporates methods of producing energy that can be sold to utility providers. The goal is to have the cost of purchasing energy balanced by income from sales of electricity generated on-site.

“Why couldn’t we have a little manufacturing company that builds components for green living?” Heard asked. He said all Mainers had to deal with high energy costs in winter.

“I’m not enamored with the [proposed design for the lodge at the Ragged Mountain Ski Area], but that’s a personal thing,” Heard said. “We all have our favorite parts of town. The Snow Bowl is one of those things that makes our town different.” He said the facility brings money in, with events such as the toboggan nationals.

He said that building the lodge and redesigning the ski area were only the beginning of the costs involved.

“It’s what happens after you’ve created the new Snow Bowl that is a big concern,” said Heard. He said maintenance costs over the long term were an important issue.

“Generally, I think it’s positive,” he said. “It’s one of the things that endears people to our town.”

Heard said the town’s obligation to provide affordable housing depended on what was meant by the word “obligation.” He said it could mean making inexpensive land available, assisting with building homes, or providing part of the maintenance of those buildings and land.

“The low-income people are as important to our town as middle-income and high-income people,” said Heard. “We all need to look after each other. That’s what community is.”

“I would be in favor of the [Camden and Rockport] fire departments consolidating,” said Heard. “We do it already with mutual aid. We’re two miles apart from town center to town center.”

He said decisions like a recent one made by the Budget Committee to approve a $500,000 fire engine might be avoided or shared if the towns were able to draw on one another’s resources.

“I can’t see why the police couldn’t have that discussion too,” he said.

He said public works was another area where consolidation might be considered.

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