December 10, 2018
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State House candidate defends use of photos on mailer

Ioanna Raptis | The York Weekly
Ioanna Raptis | The York Weekly
Republican state House candidate Allyson Cavaretta mingles during a party event in York in May.

A campaign mailer sent out by Allyson Cavaretta, a Republican running for state representative from York, has raised concerns among some residents about the appropriateness of several photos that were reproduced in the advertisement.

Cavaretta, who is seeking the District 3 House seat, said concern is misplaced, saying the photos depict “simply a candidate out in the community, listening to the feedback on what needs to be done and supporting the amazing community work happening right here in York.”

The mailer, sent out at the end of September, contains a picture of Cavaretta with a man who is holding a turtle, standing in front of a Center for Wildlife poster. Another photo shows her flanked by two men who belong to the Redshirts — an organization that supports the town’s two fire departments. It was taken at the village fire department field day and muster last August.

In a letter to the editor that appears in this week’s Weekly, Redshirt Charles Steedman takes umbrage with the photo. He said the organization is “totally apolitical” and does not endorse political candidates.

“The mailer is troubling since it could easily be interpreted as an endorsement,” he said.

Courtesy of The York Weekly
Courtesy of The York Weekly
A mailer distributed by state House candidate Allyson Cavaretta has come under scrutiny for its photos of local groups who are concerned they could be seen as endorsing the candidate.

He said he spoke with both men depicted in the photo, and said Cavaretta didn’t ask their permission to use it in a political flyer, “which they would have declined to give.” Cavaretta says, however, that “verbal consent was given at the time of the photo.”

Moreover, she said, “nowhere does the mailer mention nor indicate an endorsement alongside these photos.”

Center for Wildlife Director Kristen Lamb declined to comment on the picture that shows Cavaretta in front of a Center sign. However, at the end of September, not long after the mailer was sent, Lamb posted the following statement on the center’s Facebook page and sent it in an email to supporters:

“While we appreciate and respect the electoral process both here in the state of Maine and nationwide, please know that the Center for Wildlife has no political stance or mission of advocacy,” Lamb wrote. “Any images or statements depicting the endorsement of a particular candidate or cause by our organization have been used without our permission.

“Our wildlife are 100 percent nonpartisan.”

[Maine Senate candidate’s mailer decried as ‘designed to sow fear’]

Cavaretta said she was simply trying to show the many facets of the York community in her mailer.

“Entities like these and so many others are all reasons to work hard in Augusta for our home,” she said. “Being among people is part of that role and I have enjoyed the positive reaction to a fresh start in Maine.”

Cavaretta is running to unseat incumbent Democratic State Rep. Lydia Blume in District 3, which includes most of York.

This is not the only campaign mailer to raise eyebrows this election season. Earlier in September, Republican State Senate candidate Mike Estes sent out a provocative mailer to residents in the York River watershed, telling them to question the York River Wild and Scenic Partnership stewardship plan.

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