ALFRED — Incumbent Democrat Sallie Chandler of Lebanon is facing a challenge by Republican Robert Andrews of Acton in the race to represent York County Commission District 1.

The sprawling district includes the towns of Acton, Berwick, Cornish, Lebanon, Limerick, Limington, Newfield, North Berwick,. Parsonsfield and South Berwick.

Chandler is seeking her fourth, four-year term on the five-member commission. She has served as chair, elected annually by her peers on the board, since 2008.

Sallie Chandler

Andrews, a clergyman and printer, said he believes he’ll bring a fresh face to the county commission.

The candidates were asked why they feel they are the best person to represent District 1:

“The reason I feel that I am most qualified to continue my role as county commissioner is my knowledge of the operations of the departments and the relationships I have developed in working with the personnel of these agencies,” said Chandler.

“Too often it is easy to fall into a rut of business as usual and not look at new approaches to improve our county,” said Andrews. “My community considers me to be a person of integrity, because I stand up for what is right, even if it is not popular. I have a strong moral character and I am reliable, caring and trustworthy, traits that are necessary for public service.”

Robert Andrews

Andrews attended University of Arizona, is a graduate of Faith Bible Institute, and is attending New England Bible College/Grace Evangelical Seminary. He is pastor at the First Congregational Church of Lebanon and also works as a printer.

Chandler is a graduate of the School of Paralegal Studies and is the CEO of Chandler Septic Service. She was formerly a licensed Maine and New Hampshire real state broker. She was named a Catalyst for Change by the Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity at the University of Southern Maine in 2009.

Candidates were asked their qualifications for the position:

“In my tenure as county commissioner, and particularly in my role as chair of the Board of Commissioners, the county has achieved a remarkable record of efficiency and financial stability,” said Chandler. “As a result, we have been able to maintain a consistently high level of service while imposing almost no increase in taxes to our citizens in the last decade. Additionally, I feel I have devoted myself to my position making myself available 24 hours a day when called upon and often attend functions and hearings throughout the state as an ambassador for the people of York County. I am well respected at the State House and have served on several commissions including the Maine Human Rights Commission and Coastal County Workforce Board representing York County, having been appointed by both Republican and Democratic governors. If re-elected to my position I pledge the same level of dedication and involvement.”

“I have owned and managed businesses, as well as served on church boards,” said Andrews. “Budgets are important, and I have leadership experience with keeping an eye on the bottom line. I am a member of the Acton and York County Republican Committee and have kept informed on community issues. While I am comfortable with public speaking, I feel that listening is just as an important part of communication necessary for this office.”

We asked candidates what they have accomplished or hope to accomplish if elected:

“Maine, as well as the rest of the country, is experiencing a epidemic of dangerous drug addiction,” said Andrews. “This issue is affecting our courts and jail. The York County Jail has a unique drug recovery program, and because of my experience as a pastor working with other addiction programs, I have a keen desire to see such a program succeed in York County.”

“I am very proud of our substance abuse and recovery center,” said Chandler. “This program diverts certain offenders from jail and gets them the help they need. We are also committed to creating a fair outcome with the state regarding space for the District Attorney’s Office at the proposed Biddeford courthouse. We are proud to be a partner with the Child Advocacy Center and proud to have elevated the recognition and importance of county government.”

Candidates were asked what they saw as the primary role of county government:

“The role of county commissioners is to provide financial and administrative oversight of the departments providing services to the residents of York County,” said Chandler.” These departments include Registry of Probate, Registry of Deeds, Emergency Management Services, District Attorney’s Office, County Jail and the Sheriff’s Department. The Commissioners provide this oversight through the county administrator, finance director and heads of the various departments.”

“The county government, with the exception of town government, is the closest governing body to affect the voters,” aid Andrews. “Agencies such as the Sheriff’s Department (whose policy decisions are ultimately under the responsibility of the commissioners) are offices that can effect the citizens of York County on a personal level. The voter needs to have a local advocate who can represent their concerns.”

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 780-9016 or [email protected]

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