The state of Maine has tremendous problems in the way it is being managed. I am running for the Legislature because I believe my years of experience and service will help make a difference in solving the problems we face.
I have walked the streets and made hundreds of calls. I discussed in groups and shared thoughts on neighbors’ doorsteps. It’s amazing to me that nearly everyone I meet has the same concern. They wonder why so many taxes come out of their paycheck — a paycheck they work hard to make — and go into a wasteland of red tape.
We all know taxes are necessary. It is the revenue stream that enables our areas of government to function. From public safety to sidewalks and schools, taxes are the way we ensure the services we rely on are there when we need them.
Most people I’ve talked with feel there is not enough accountability and not enough respect for the money that already is coming out of their paychecks. And they are furious when they hear about lawmakers saying that they want to take even more.
That needs to change.
I believe I have the skills to serve and make a positive difference. I have a proven record of service and a resume full of relevant experience and I am ready to put them to work in Augusta.
During my career, I’ve gained a unique combination of private sector, public sector and military service skills. For nearly 16 years I was the president of Seven Islands Land Co., which managed nearly a million acres of timberland for the Pingree family.
I directly provided jobs for 200 to 300 loggers, operators, truckers and support staff and indirectly supported many manufacturing jobs at sawmills and paper mills because we harvested and sold wood to upwards of 40 markets. In addition, I started a hardwood mill in northern Maine providing 60 jobs and purchased a chip plant that has nine more employees.
Before Seven Islands, I was the director of the Maine Forest Service in the McKernan administration. I was on the authority of Baxter State Park for more than five years and served as its chairman. We closed gates, improved the perimeter and changed sites back to rustic camps for the people of Maine rather than for private leases for a few.
I served on the City Council in Calais and later in Bangor — eventually rising to serve as mayor in both cities. I worked hard in both communities to work in a nonpartisan way to set and meet objectives.
I have served my country as a helicopter pilot during two wars, Vietnam and Desert Storm. I was 19 and a single high school graduate when I went to Southeast Asia. I was 43 years old, a husband and a father of two daughters when I left for Desert Storm. I served a total of 26 years in the active Army and Army Guard.
I do not have all the answers, but I have a lifetime of experience to work on your behalf to make the future of this state brighter.
Maine is a great state — a fantastic place to live and raise a family. I have had the good fortune to call Maine home and it’s where I want future generations to call home. But the state of the state is not good. And to change that will take hard work from experienced people who want to make a difference.
These are tough times and I believe I can help.
John Cashwell is the Republican candidate for Maine House District 17 in Bangor.