CHINA: Only three of six candidates take part in forum

Albert Church Brown Memorial Library in China Village.

by Mary Grow

Three of the six candidates on China’s Nov. 7 local election ballot attended the Oct. 28 candidates’ forum at the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library, in China Village.

Moderator Louisa Barnhart, chairman of the library’s board of trustees, asked about the candidates’ favorite charities, their reading preferences and their positions on local issues.

  • Jeanne Marquis, candidate for select board, lives on Neck Road and described her occupation as an organizer for Mobilize Recovery (see Box below).

Mobilized Recovery explained

Mobilize Recovery is a national organization with a branch in Augusta. Its purpose is to deal with the national addiction crisis, including preventing addiction and helping people already addicted to survive and to recover.

The Maine Recovery Advocacy Project Facebook page says:

“We are thrilled about the level of support we have received by Kennebec County and our awesome volunteers. We are now beginning to see that our first year’s goal of visiting 5,000 homes is well within our reach. We want to thank the Kennebec County Commissioners who provided the grant to enable us to do this project and thank all the 3,882 homes we have visited so far.

“We are encouraged to see so many people realize the importance of carrying Narcan in their purses, back packs, brief cases or glove compartment of their cars – even if they don’t know someone who uses drugs. You’ll never know when you might be able to save someone’s life.”

It adds details about achieving the 2023 goal:

“So far this year, we visited 3,882 homes, trained 1,592 people to use Nar[c]an and distributed 3,510 boxes of Narcan.”

The Facebook page says the physical address is 59 Bangor Street, Augusta; the telephone number is (207)593-6251; and the email address is

Nonprofit groups she supports include local organizations (China Lake Association, the volunteer fire department and China for a Lifetime); environmental organizations (Nature Conservancy and Sierra Club); and addiction recovery organization (Maine Recovery Advocacy Project and Mobilize Recovery).

Her favorite living author is non-fiction writer Johann Hari. Her favorite writer is the late Toni Morrison, especially her poetry.

  • Elaine Mather, planning board candidate, lives on Weeks Mills Road and is retired from her job as a prosecutor for misdemeanors in Henderson, Nevada. She moved to China to be near family members.

Mather’s charities include the American Diabetes Association, the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts of America. Her favorite writer is Brad Thor, author of the Scot Harvath thrillers.

  • Thomas Rumpf, budget committee candidate, lives on Hanson Road and works as a bridge estimator. He devotes volunteer time – up to 60 hours a week, he said — to the China Four Seasons Club, of which he is president.

He also supports the Masons and is a member of two local lodges; and the Red Cross, including as a platelet and blood donor. He spends his working hours reading blueprints and has little time for leisure reading.

The two policy questions Barnhart asked were about the proposed LS power line and about a future public beach on China Lake. Candidates added two more issues, lack of volunteers for town boards and organizations, and the need to entice more businesses to locate in China.

None of the three supports the LS powerline. Rumpf’s principal objection is “the very sneaky way it came about – the landowners were all taken by surprise.”

Marquis and Mather were concerned about the effect on China’s rural nature and environment, especially the potential loss of good farmland. Marquis emphasized she was speaking personally, not for the select board. Mather said her decisions as a planning board member would be based on ordinances, not on her personal views.

No candidate had a plan for providing public beach access to China Lake. All agreed a town-owned beach would make more work for the town’s public works department and would require additional insurance.

Marquis praised the Four Seasons Club beach on China Lake’s east shore. It is open to club members for what the club website says is an annual $35 general membership fee.

All three regretted the lack of volunteers for town boards and local organizations. Rumpf praised the excellent volunteers who keep the Four Seasons Club active, and said if there were more, the club could add projects and events.

He raised the issue of attracting business, calling China “business-unfriendly” and naming businesses that have moved to other towns. China officials do not offer tax breaks to new businesses; and they collect the state-mandated personal property tax on businesses, a requirement he said some Maine municipalities ignore.

Rumpf’s main argument was that more businesses would increase the local tax base. He acknowledged the need for regulation to protect local values.

Librarian Miranda Perkins’ video of the forum is available on line for interested voters, via a link on the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library website.

No contests on China ballot

There are no contests and no new names on China’s Nov. 7 local election ballot, though there are lines for write-in candidates.

For the board of selectmen, Wayne Chadwick and Jeanne Marquis seek re-election.

For planning board District 3 (southeastern China), Elaine Mather, appointed in late August to finish Michael Sullivan’s term, is a candidate for re-election. There is no candidate for District 1 (northwestern China).

For the budget committee, chairman Thomas Rumpf and District 1 candidate Kevin Maroon are unopposed for re-election. There is no candidate for District 3.

The position of budget committee secretary is also open, Trishea Story having resigned some months ago. Because that term does not end until 2024, it is not on the ballot.

Anyone interested in serving in an unfilled position is invited to call the China town office at 445-2014.

On Nov. 7, China polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the former portable building behind the town office on Lakeview Drive.


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