Courtenay vs. Macdonald in Warren selectmen's race

By Beth A. Birmingham | May 16, 2018
Source: File Photo

Warren — Incumbent Carole Courtenay will face challenger Jan Macdonald in the only contested race for Board of Selectmen in Warren next month.

Courtenay said she moved to Warren in 1970 for "the quality of life," which she said "pleased my grandmother, as she recalled her weekend trips by trolley from Thomaston to buy fabric to make clothes in the early 1900s."

"I had no idea I was completing a mysterious family circle that began at Ellis Island a few years before that," she added.

Throughout the years, Courtenay said, she has always given back to the community, whether in Scouts as a den mother, or managing an aspect of the food co-op a group of families organized in the 1970s, or teaching hunter safety in Knox County for almost 20 years.

"Later on I helped facilitate CDBG {Community Development Block Grants} grants in Warren for critical home improvements, and was elected to several terms of the Board of Trustees of the Sanitary District to clean up the village and the Georges River," she said.

She served a couple of terms on the Zoning Board of Appeals until she had to give that up when elected to the Select Board to fill the balance of a term open due to a resignation.

Courtenay represents the board on the Warren Scholarship Committee.

"Balancing the needs of the town while maintaining an affordable tax rate is very important to me," she said. "We do not have any real control over the school or county budgets, and we keep a tight rein on our town expenditures.

Courtenay said she would like to see a more equitable shift in the school funding formula, and a clear resolution to the rifle range property, so that can be put back on the tax rolls and the property used to its full potential.

"While I have been on the board, we have upgraded the personnel policy, negotiated a renewal of a union contract, revalued cemetery contracts, and put in place an employee retirement plan," she said. "I want the taxpayers to know I am working in their best interest, and I want the employees to know I want them to be happy working for the town of Warren."

Courtenay is being challenged by Macdonald, who, along with her husband and daughter, runs Barley Joe Farm Greenhouse on Route 1 in Warren.

A graduate of Warren High School, Macdonald attended Eastern Maine General Hospital Nursing School. She lived in Washington State for 20 years, before moving back to Warren in 1991 to take over the family business.

Macdonald said she decided to run for selectman because the town of Warren has supported her in so many ways, from when she was a nursing student to the present time as a business woman.

"I have a good business sense and am active in the community," she said.

Macdonald said she would like to see the tax burden carried by the citizens lightened and further growth of businesses that contribute to the wealth of the community.

"An increase in the job market for our citizens, with livable incomes resulting in a decrease of dependence on the welfare system, would be ideal, although a long process," she said.

At present, Macdonald is president of the Historical Society of Warren and active as a member of the Knox Lincoln Leaders Association. She is also active in 4-H and church and many community activities.

"Teaching children the ways of planting and loving gardens has always been a large part of my life," she said.

Macdonald and her husband, Fred, have three grown children.

Candidates for other municipal positions being filled include James Kinney for Board of Selectmen, seat 3; Saralee Andrews for RSU 40 Board of Directors; Clayton Winchenbach and Edward Courtenay for three-year terms on the Warren Sanitary District, and Mark Waltz and Daniel Davey to serve out the remainder of their terms on the WSD board. All are incumbents.

There are also two other vacant seats available on the RSU 40 Board of Directors, one expiring in 2019 and the other in 2020.

Voting will take place Tuesday, June 12, from 7:50 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Warren Masonic Hall. Town meeting will be held Tuesday, June 19, at 7 p.m. at Warren Community School.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.

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