Voters in Raymond won’t be meeting in person this year on June 8 for the town’s annual meeting due to coronavirus precautions, but there will still be plenty of decisions for the electorate to make in terms of the funding for town departments next year, how much to allocate to capital improvement projects and who will be representing them on the Raymond Board of Selectmen and the RSU 14 school board.

Incumbent Kate Levielle is running unopposed for a three-year seat on the RSU 14 Board of Directors, and Robert Gosselin and Kevin Oliver are uncontested to return to the town’s Budget/Finance Committee.

There is, however, a three-way race for an opening on the Raymond Board of Selectmen between Joseph Bruno, Dana Desjardins and Abigail Geer.

Bruno, a longtime former Raymond selectman and former state legislator, said his priorities, if reelected, would be to make sure Raymond maintains good roads, an affordable tax rate and a plan for its future.

Geer, who is running for public office for the first time, said her focus would center around building community connections that have been “frayed” by the pandemic through town-sponsored events and programming, ensuring high-quality internet in town and building a long-range plan for Raymond’s future.

“Raymond needs to think about where we’ll be in 20-30 years,” Geer said. “How will we attract families, how will we ensure they stay? We need to think long-term about things like a community center, making sure our incredible natural setting is built up thoughtfully and making sure that the services that we need to have easy access to, like medical care, are in place and able to serve everyone in town.”

Desjardins, a former selectman, did not respond to several Lakes Region Weekly requests for an interview about his candidacy.

Continuing to rebound from the pandemic will also be a focus for Bruno.

“I have personally vaccinated thousands of people during this pandemic and have spoken with them about all the issues they have dealt with,” he said. “It’s one of the reasons I am running again. I can’t wait for Raymond to open up again to allow its citizens to address its government in an open manner on an in person basis. It is a much more effective way to have an impact. My experience of living in Raymond for over 40 years and serving the citizens for a long time will allow me to step right in without missing a beat. I still have a very good relationship with many elected members and employees in town.”

Geer is “optimistic that the end of the pandemic is on the horizon” and thinks “the town has done a great job handling it so far.”

One thing that Geer wants to see Raymond work on is racial justice, something she said that is constantly on her mind.

“Since 2011 I’ve worked to better understand race and what racial justice means in America. At the end of the day, I think it’s the most pressing issue nationally,” she said.

Work starts with strengthening social connections to build “the understanding and empathy necessary to see another person’s point of view” and “make our community more welcoming, more inclusive and more livable for all residents, including our current and future residents of color.”

I’ve worked really hard over the last year to understand what people mean when they talk about things like white privilege and have been working to increase my ability to hear uncomfortable information without having a defensive response,” she said. “I want to bring that to the select board so everyone in town knows they have someone who will listen to them, understand them and advocate for them.”

Polls will be open in the Jordan Small Middle School gymnasium on June 8 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Absentee ballots are available through the town clerk’s office through June 3. The deadline for returning them is 8 p.m. on June 8.

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