ELLSWORTH, Maine — With the announcement that longtime District Attorney Michael Povich plans to retire, multiple candidates are emerging in the contest to take over the office.
Deputy District Attorney Carletta “Dee” Bassano, who has worked under Povich for more than two decades, announced Tuesday she intends to run for the post as a Democrat. The last time a Democrat sought the top prosecutor post in Hancock and Washington counties was in 1975, when Povich first was elected to the position.
A native of Aroostook County, Bassano indicated in a prepared statement that she has experience prosecuting complex felony cases and in supervising prosecutors and staff in the district’s three offices. She has worked closely with law enforcement, having instructed police on the law about search and seizure, arrests and confessions.
“The job of DA is to make sure that the people in our two counties feel that their justice system is protecting them and that we use their resources wisely,” Bassano, 54, said in a press statement. “My philosophy has always been to be fair, be honest and do the right thing.”
Bassano grew up in Mars Hill, where her family owned and operated a farm. She graduated from Central Aroostook High School, attended what is now known as the University of Southern Maine, and got her law degree in 1980 from Dickinson School of Law in Carlisle, Pa.
She joined the District Attorney’s Office in Machias in 1985, left in 1991 to work at a Machias law firm, and rejoined the District Attorney’s Office in 1995. She lives in Ellsworth with her husband, Louis Bassano.
Bassano can be contacted by e-mail at electbassanoDA@gmail.com.
Povich, a Republican, said Tuesday that he is supporting Bassano’s candidacy. The office of district attorney, though elected, is like other county positions such as sheriff or registrar of deeds in that it really is nonpartisan, he said.
“She’s the most qualified person I know of to succeed me as DA,” Povich said. “I’m delighted to see she is running for DA.”
Other candidates in the race include Republican Don Brown of Bucksport and Steven Juskewitch of Dedham, an independent.
Juskewitch, who ran against Povich in 2002 and 2006, has filed as a candidate for district attorney with the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, as have Brown and Bassano.