Local business owner and retired marine engineer Republican Bradley “Scott’ Ducharme will challenge incumbent Democrat Joseph Rafferty, the longtime Kennebunk High School football coach and retired schoolteacher, for Maine Senate District 34 on Nov. 8.

The district, reconfigured during reapportionment in 2021, includes Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Berwick, North Berwick, and Wells.

Both men are 67 and are married. Rafferty has three adult daughters and one grandchild. Ducharme has four children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Rafferty is finishing his first Senate term. Ducharme, who has made prior bids for legislative office, recently completed a term as a Kennebunk Light & Power trustee.

Candidates were asked about themselves, their legislative priorities, and why people should vote for them.

Bradley “Scott” Ducharme Courtesy Photo

• Ducharme said his top priorities include addressing inflation, education, veteran and seniors’ issues and addiction. He said they can be accomplished without increasing taxes, “and in fact, with even lowering taxes by controlling spending, and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in government programs,” he said.


Ducharme said he would, if elected, immediately address increased energy, heating oil, and food costs by temporarily halting the state tax on heating and diesel fuel. “This will reduce costs of heating oil, goods, and services by cutting transportation costs,” he said.

“Educating our children for the future by giving them the skills needed to join today’s workforce,” is a priority as well, he said. “This would be accomplished by expanding technical, trades, and vocational training programs.”

“Providing needed support for our veterans and vulnerable seniors by addressing their housing, nursing home, and long-term care facility needs,” is on his priority list, said Ducharme.

“Lastly, but very important, is the need to expand access to long-term care facilities to help our citizens with addiction issues,” he added.

Ducharme earned a bachelor’s degree in marine engineering and ocean sciences from Maine Maritime Academy. He retired from the Marine Engineers Beneficial Association in 2016 after 39 years as chief engineer for American shipping companies, and continues to take on assignments. He owns a guest resort in Kennebunk and developed a condominium complex at Sugarloaf.

He said his experience as marine chief engineer, utility trustee, small business owner and family man has given him the background to do the job.


“I am a troubleshooter that finds the best solutions to issues using common sense and then gets the job done,” said Ducharme.

Joe Rafferty Courtesy Photo

• Rafferty said there is unfinished businesses and wants to return to the senate to get it done.

“As proud as I am of our accomplishments, such as tax relief for property owners, veterans and retirees, I think we can do more,” said Rafferty. “As the senate chair of Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, education is my passion and I feel public education needs our continued support for our schools.”

He pointed out two specific outcomes of the 130th Legislature:

“For the first time ever, we met the people’s mandate of 55 percent education funding, which offered some tax relief statewide,” he said. Rafferty said he would push for funding to continue the free breakfast and lunch program in Maine’s schools. “Feeding all students is a benefit to all,” said Rafferty. “In addition, I will continue our efforts to create more affordable housing and attract a qualified workforce to meet the needs of our business community now and into the future. Maine is a vibrant state and I’ll work to provide opportunities for our young families to stay and prosper while enjoying our many natural resources.”

Rafferty has been a football coach at Kennebunk High School for 44 years, and retired in 2018 from a 40 -year teaching career at RSU 21. He holds a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education.

“I’ve been vested in Maine for the last 45 years,” said Rafferty. “I’m here to stay and I want to see our state continue to prosper. My career choice offered me opportunities that allowed me a close-up view of families throughout our state. I have children and a grandchild (and one on the way). My ability to share their challenges, communicate concerns and bring people together to find solutions are valuable tools for a legislator. As a retiree, I’m living on a fixed income and along with my wife, share the same worries most households have. Throughout my first term, I’ve been available, accessible, and willing to help. That won’t change.”

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