Nathan Carlow, 21, left, of Buxton and Stavros Mendros, 52, right of Hollis vie to be the Republican candidate for House District 16 in the July 14 primary. Courtesy photos

SACO — A political science major in university who was a high school senior when he won election to the school board and a former state legislator and city councilor are vying to be the Republican candidate for House District 16.

In the running in the July 14 primary are Nathan Carlow, 21, of Buxton and Stavros Mendros, 52, of Hollis. The winner will face Democrat David Durrell for the open seat in the November contest.

House District 16 includes Hollis and parts of Saco and Buxton. Rep. Donald Marean, a former Republican who has served as an independent since January 2019. is term-limited as he winds down his fourth term.

Mendros, a marketing consultant, was a Maine legislator from 1998 to 2002, ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Congress and served on the Lewiston City Council and the School Committee. Married, he has two daughters. He earned a bachelor’s degree in creative writing at the University of Maine.

Mendros said Maine needs to focus on moving forward to recovery.

“The biggest issue facing the state will be helping businesses recover from the impact of Covid and the shut down,” said Mendros. “I plan to use both my legislative experience and my decades of small business knowledge to get the state moving in the right direction.”

He forecasts a push to raise taxes because of the state’s lost revenues, but said doing so would hurt Maine’s small business owners.

“The sales tax rate is 6 percent (8 percent for meals and 10 percent lodging), so for every dollar lost in state revenue, our businesses lose roughly $12,” Mendros said. “Small property and businesses owners most certainly cannot take a tax hike on top of everything else.”

He said he believes the best thing government can do is “get out of the way and let business prosper.”

“We need to focus on helping those in need, be they struggling with loss due to the state shut down or addiction, which has only been made worse with a shut down that has taken away group meetings and structure,” he said.

In addition, Mendros said the opioid crisis has produced relapses and higher incidences of suicide.

“These are the unforeseen consequences of the draconian measures taken to combat Covid — measures that were unnecessarily harsh in the rural parts of the state,” Mendros said.

He has had past legal troubles that were resolved.

“Fifteen years ago, in 2005, I wrongly notarized a petition without making the person raise their hand,” he said. “I verified their identity and took their oath but I did not make them raise their hand. I admitted this and when I realized it was a mistake, I paid the fine.”

A judge ruled in Mendros’ favor in 2015 when she overturned a state ruling that had questioned variations in his signature on 17,000 petitions he had notarized.

Mendros said he’s employed several hundred petitioners over the years, had been  defrauded by some whom he said turned in forgeries, and brought those to the attention of municipal clerks and the Maine Attorney General’s office.

Mendros said as a legislator, he enjoyed helping people navigate what he described as “the mess of state government,” helping small business owners cut red tape or struggling families needing resources.

“I absolutely loved being able to light a fire and get people the help they needed,” Mendros said.

Carlow, 21, is studying political science at the University of Southern Maine, and is on a leave of absence from his job as a customer service leader at Hannaford, where he worked for three years. As a Bonny Eagle High School senior, Carlow waged a successful campaign against an incumbent school board member. He has served as vice chair on the board’s policy committee, and as co-chair of the budget advisory committee. He served on Buxton’s Charter Review Commission and as chairman of Buxton Republicans. Carlow is single.

“Our district is facing many challenges, some of which have originated from the coronavirus, and others that have predated it,” said Carlow. “In part due to rising costs, farms and businesses in our community are struggling to keep up with large out-of-state corporations. If these small companies are to survive, particularly during the aftermath of the coronavirus, we must work hard to make Maine a place where innovation is rewarded, not discouraged, and highly taxed.”

He said Maine must invest in vocational programs, career training and public colleges to provide more opportunities for younger Mainers, and incentives for older people to remain in the workforce. He noted hospitals, schools and businesses have experienced hardships filling vacancies as workers retire.

“Broadband is another major initiative that I would work hard to promote,” said Carlow. “In the 21st century, I believe that every Mainer should be able to have access to this important technology.”

Carlow said he is concerned about the economic fallout caused by the Mills administration’s response to the coronavirus.

“I believe strongly that Sara Gideon was wrong to adjourn the Legislature early, partially, I’m sure, to have more time to campaign for U.S. Senate,” he said. “Right now, we have only one person making the decisions in Augusta, and that should be alarming to everybody. If I were a legislator during this crisis, I’d be the loudest voice pushing for Sara Gideon to reconvene the State House so that we could do the important work of preparing for what is likely to be a very tough financial recovery. I would have requested that the Department of Labor hire additional third-party assistance to help with the influx of calls, and I would have authored legislation aiding businesses as they respond to the economic effects of the virus.”

Carlow noted his election and reelection to the school board.

“I’ve worked hard to cultivate a respectful and diligent reputation; these qualities, as well as my experience, will be an asset to our district in Augusta,” Carlow said. ” I have been endorsed by several current and former Republican lawmakers because they know that I have what it takes to win.”

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: