SACO — Two Saco residents, incumbent Allen Sicard and former Maine legislator Justin Chenette are competing for the Democratic nod in the June 14 primary for York County Commissioner District 3.

There is no Republican in the primary, and barring a vigorous write-in campaign for the November contest, the winner of the Democratic primary would be elected to the four-year term, which begins Jan 1, 2023.

The district currently includes Dayton, but that community will shift to District 4 as a result of the state’s recent reapportionment when the new terms begin. County Commissioner District 3 will include the communities of Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Buxton and Hollis.

• Chenette, 31, is married to husband Edouard. He holds degrees in broadcasting and public administration and a certificate in public leadership from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He served eight years in the Maine Legislature. He chaired the government oversight committee and was a member of the criminal justice and public safety committee, among others; he is past president of Saco Main Street, serves on the Age Friendly Saco board and is currently a Maine-Canadian Legislative Assembly commissioner and member of the Right to Know Advisory Committee.

Justin Chenette Eduard Chenette Photo

He is communications director for a statewide mental health nonprofit agency.

County government is “Maine’s lost level of government,” Chenette said, as he called for more transparency and engagement. He said county commissioners should be holding office hours and town hall forums in local communities, sending out newsletters, volunteering in the community, and holding their regular meetings at a time more convenient for the public, rather than 4:30 p.m.


“We should expect a county commissioner who is visible and actively involved in the communities they are supposed to represent,” said Chenette.

Commissioners have recently discussed the prospect that Maine State Police, which currently provides primary coverage for Alfred, Dayton, Hollis, Lebanon, and Lyman, may at some point no longer do so. York County Sheriff’s Office provides primary coverage for nine other rural towns that don’t have municipal police departments.

Chenette said if the state no longer provides coverage, it will mean a greater strain on the county sheriff’s office and on taxpayers — a cost shift from the state to the local level.

“We must proactively work with our legislative delegation to ensure the state is part of the solution and hold ongoing public discussions with the towns possibly losing coverage to brainstorm possible strategies,” said Chenette. “Ultimately, it will mean needing more county personnel on call. The bigger question will be where does the money come from.”

Chenette said he was disappointed that the new York Judicial Center, which he said was “definitely needed,” being built in Biddeford couldn’t have included a larger York County District Attorney’s office. The new state court building will replace the district courts in Biddeford, Springvale, and York along with York County Superior Court, which sits in the county-owned courthouse in Alfred. The new Biddeford court has a small space for the district attorney, but was not designed to accommodate the entire staff of more than 40, which includes assistant district attorneys, victim witness advocates and clerical staff from the four courts.

In Maine, district attorneys are employed by the state, but clerical and other staff are county employees.


“This is an example of where relationships with our local delegation and entire Legislature are critically important to serving as a county commissioner,” said Chenette. “The Maine Attorney General’s office should be involved in these discussions as the district attorney’s office is an arm of their agency.”

Chenette said he is sure the district attorney’s office will be able to find a new location close to the new court.

• Sicard, 64, is married to wife Mary. The couple has two adult children, two grandchildren and are expecting another soon, he said. Sicard is president of Rocky Coast Marketing and said his career in advertising and marketing has spanned 40 years.

Allen Sicard Courtesy Photo

He earned a master’s degree in business administration from the University of New Hampshire.

Sicard is a board member of Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission. He previously chaired the Board of the York County Federal Credit Union where  he helped prepare the merger with Atlantic Federal Credit Union. Sicard served as board chair of Waban, an agency that serves developmentally challenged children and adults.

He is currently chair of York County Commissioners.


“I’ve enjoyed the challenges of the pandemic and am proud to say we never missed an in-person meeting during the crisis, as we worked to keep residents and 250 employees safe and vaccinated,” said Sicard. He said commissioners added audio and video improvements to their live and taped Zoom capabilities so people could attend meetings remotely – something he said that will continue.

In addition to keeping county taxes relatively low, he said, the commission is charged with vetting $40 million in American Rescue Plan Act fund. He said the process is not complete and will spill into 2023.

Commissioners have approved $1.5 million for a regional teen center in Biddeford, and $750,000 for a service hub to aid the homeless in Kittery. Proposed projects, like a regional dredge, are pending. Still others, like a regional training center and expanded recovery center options, supportive housing and more, are being contemplated.

“This is once in a lifetime opportunity to make a lasting difference and I believe we want an experienced board chair to help make these decisions,” he said.

Sicard said he believes his and York County Sheriff Bill King’s quick action has postponed a move by Maine State Police to cease patrolling the five rural towns, but that in the end it will be inevitable as that agency reorganizes.

“Hollis, which I represent, has several choices,” said Sicard, “to start its own police service, contracting with another town like Buxton, or pay for contracted patrol services with the County Sheriff’s Office, which also contracts with several other towns and school departments for service.”

He said the county is in negotiations with a Biddeford property owner to provide space and parking for the York County District Attorney’s Office when the York Judicial Center opens.

“Although not as good as being on site, it will put her and her staff of 40 a few miles down the road, as opposed to 12 miles away in Alfred,” said Sicard. “This would be a rent-to-own lease and cost the county money, but would be a long term solution for this important branch of county government.”

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