RAYMOND – Sam Gifford, Julie Sutherland and Lonnie Taylor will vie for two open seats on the Raymond Board of Selectmen at the June 10 town election.

In Sutherland, incumbents Gifford and Taylor will face a controversial figure scheduled for a June 11 arraignment in Portland’s Unified Criminal Court on five charges stemming from an incident in which police say she portrayed herself as a federal animal welfare agent and took possession of a horse.

According to the Portland Superior Court Clerk’s Office, Sutherland, a longtime animal rights activist who made news several years ago when a neighbor became frustrated with noise from 25 roosters she rescued, faces two counts of impersonating a public servant, one count of theft by deception, one count of forgery, and one count of tampering with a witness, informant, juror or victim.

Sutherland, 52, is a resident of 51 Ledgehill Road and has no formal political experience. She said she is running for a seat on the five-member board in order to give voice to the residents of Raymond.

“Everybody should be heard and not just a selected few,” Sutherland said. “I believe that it should be an open government and no backdoor deals.”

“People need to stand up for their civil rights and their liberties, to be able to do what they want with their property, as long as it’s according to local and state regulations, without government interference,” Sutherland added.

Sutherland said she hopes to maintain the town’s rural environment, and to prevent efforts to pave the shoreland a reference to the proposed park-and-ride facility on Raymond Cape that was recently rejected by the Planning Board.

Sutherland declined to comment specifically about the pending criminal charges.

“It’s not the first time that I’ve been falsely accused of something,” she said.

Gifford, 79, lives at 546 Webbs Mills Road. Gifford was elected to the board in 2011, and serves as the chairman.

It is important for the town to “keep moving ahead,” Gifford said.

“This is a very lovely town as it is,” he said. “But we have to move forward. We have to attract businesses.”

Gifford said that he was proud of the board’s record over the past few years.

“The board is beginning to move in a good direction now,” Gifford said. “The Raymond Shopping Center has come around, and we have some other projects that we’re looking at. For example, even though we are out of the Egypt Road project this time because of the vernal pools, we’re beginning to look for other opportunities that we can take advantage of for a recreation site.”

Gifford said that his top priority was to increase the rate of economic development in Raymond.

“When we attract new businesses we want to be careful not to bring in businesses that will hurt our resident businesses,” he said.

Gifford said he believes the town should maintain “top grade” services, and invest in road improvements and beautification efforts.

Taylor, 43, lives at 92 Stiller Hill Road, and is vice chairman of the board. He has served on the board for three terms, or nine years, in total.

“I feel that the town is on the right track, and I still have more to give,” Taylor said.

Taylor said his top priority was to keep the property tax rate stable.

“I hate seeing families move out of town because either the taxes are too high or something to that effect,” Taylor said. “Throughout time the taxes could become higher, and I do my best to keep the mil rate down.”

Born and raised in Raymond, Taylor said he hopes to keep Raymond’s longtime residents in town.

“I grew up with a lot of people that are still in Raymond and as we all know the economy is tough,” he said. “By keeping the mil rate down it keeps the people that have grown up in the town still in the town and not going to Casco or a different town that has a lower mil rate.”

“I take a lot of pride in our mil rate and always fight to consolidate just run the town like it’s a business, because that’s what it is,” Taylor added.

The municipal election, as well as the Regional School Unit 14 budget referendum, will be held on June 10 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Jordan-Small Middle School, which is located at 423 Webbs Mills Road.


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