Three-term incumbent Rep. Jennifer DeChant, D-Bath, hopes to fend off a second challenge from Republican Bil Weidner in the race for the House District 52 seat representing Bath.

Weidner, 56, is a U.S. Navy veteran who served on a destroyer built in Bath. He is a member of VFW Post 7738, and on the executive board of American Legion Post No. 21.

Owner of Mr. Bil Handyman Service, Weidner also has worked in medical sales with Five Star Surgical. His 2016 race against DeChant was his first campaign for an elected political office.

Rising taxes and affordable housing for the elderly are important issues in Bath and throughout Maine for Weidner.

“We are an aging state, and more and more we have people who are relying on Social Security and their small fixed income to find a place that’s decent … to live,” he said. “There should be a lot of planning being done, so this all doesn’t hit us at once eventually.”

DeChant, 50, became executive director of the Chocolate Church Arts Center in 2013, after time as a public relations manager for Sea Bags, a manufacturing company in Portland.

DeChant was also chairwoman of the Sagadahoc County Democrats from 2000 to 2004 and has served as treasurer of the Maine Democratic Party. She was a member of the Democratic National Committee from 2004 to 2008 and one of Maine’s eight Democratic superdelegates in 2008.

As a lawmaker, DeChant sponsored a controversial $45 million tax break for Bath Iron Works that became law in April and gives the shipyard an income-tax incentive in return for making investments in facilities and preserving jobs.

Renewable energy is a focus for DeChant, who would like to transition Bath’s landfill to a solar farm. Expansion of access to natural gas in the city is another goal.

DeChant is a Clean Elections candidate and had raised $6,880 toward her campaign as of Oct. 4, according to the Maine ethics commission.

Weidner had raised no funds, the commission reported. He said he has chosen not to accept funding, and has directed donors to the Bath Republican Committee.

Alex Lear can be contacted at 781-3661, ext. 113, or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: learics

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