June 24, 2018
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Reviving Dexter key theme for candidates

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

DEXTER, Maine — David Giles, Ella Munday, Peter Haskell, David Clukey and incumbent Roger Brawn are seeking election to the two three-year Town Council seats in the Nov. 4 municipal elections.

A computer repair and networking instructor at TriCounty Technical Center, Giles, 38, said he hopes to help the town integrate technology for savings, just as he helped streamline technology at the technical center.

Giles believes the town should reopen the Lake Wassookeag campground, offer a few seasonal lots at the facility, and promote the lake, campground and town. A campground with a boat launch would encourage people from around Dexter to visit the town and, as a result, spend money in its stores, he said. The lake, campground, airport, golf course, theater and public beach are the town’s greatest assets, yet little has been done to promote them, Giles said.

“I hope that residents of Dexter will vote for me because they believe I have the ability to work with others in order to bring a prosperous economy back to Dexter,” Giles said. “I realize that the state and federal economy is sliding right now, but I think that with enough help and enthusiasm from Dexter residents we can use this time to rebuild our town.”

Munday, 69, owner and operator of an art studio and wholesale-retail business, serves as co-chairwoman of the regional school planning committee, and she participates in other town committees and functions.

The council needs to work cooperatively to fill empty storefronts and to keep the mill rate as low as possible, Munday said. Her interest in town government and her work experience would be positive assets for the council, she noted.

Munday said economic times are tough but the town should work harder to “package” its assets, such as its lakes, town services, the downtown area, and the people and their talents.

“I do have the experience as well as an open mind to listen to everyone and not act in any kneejerk, reactionary way,” Munday said. “It takes a lot of thought and coming together as a whole to get done what needs to be done and can be done.”

Haskell, 65, who retired from the Bangor Daily News in 2006, previously served on the council for several terms and has been involved in other functions, such as the local Fish and Game Association.

More effort should be placed on economic development to retain the businesses in town and make it more appealing to other smaller businesses interested in relocating, Haskell said.

He said the town’s biggest selling points are the airport, the lake, the friendly atmosphere of the community and its people, and the local businesses. Too many people have to travel out of town for jobs, and that has hit them particularly hard this year with the high price of fuel, gasoline and taxes, he said.

“I will be trying with great difficulty to keep Dexter’s community going with all its great programs and services,” but at the same time recognizing that cuts may be necessary, Haskell said. “All this means trying very hard to keep Dexter an affordable place to live.”

Clukey, no age provided, retired as Dexter’s police chief in 2003 after 42 years. He said he has experience in budgets, and was instrumental in the purchase and remodeling of the new police station.

Clukey said the town has lost major industry and other businesses over the years, and the existing businesses need the town’s support, help that could be offered through grants.

He also would work to help find alternative energy so the town can reduce its dependence on foreign oil.

“Dexter is a beautiful community with much to offer: We have access to lakes for recreational use; we have access to the railroad tracks for snowmobiling, four-wheeling, trail-riding and many other recreational activities; a wonderful school system; but more importantly, we have a community of caring people who want to see Dexter thrive,” Clukey said. “I will work hard on these key issues.”

Brawn, 71, who retired as the Dexter Regional High School history department head after 26 years of teaching, has served on the council for 30 years, most of that time as chairman. Maintenance of the town’s infrastructure — its roads, town buildings, downtown, airport and parks — are important to Brawn. He said good maintenance sets a positive example for the community and helps bring new business to town. He said he also hopes it will increase property values.

He said the town’s greatest assets are the downtown area with its traditional New England character and appeal, and Lake Wassookeag. Its worst problems are the empty storefronts and vacant homes, he said.

“Having taught history and government at the high school level for 26 years, I have an understanding of the role and function of government,” Brawn said. During his 30 years on the council, and while working in retail merchandising and the family’s real estate business, Brawn said, he has had contact with many Dexter residents.

“I know the town and its people well,” he said.

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