June 6, 2014
David Bright of Dixmont is running as an independent candidate in the November general election for Maine Legislature in newly formed House District 100. The seat is currently held by Republican House Minority Leader Kenneth Fredette of Newport, who is seeking re-election. Starting with the 2015 session of the Maine Legislature, House District 100 will include Dixmont, Plymouth, Newport, Corinna and most of Etna.
Bright said he is running as an independent candidate because “in recent political times we have seen too much rancor and not enough representation coming out of Augusta. I believe the only way to end the dysfunction and disrespect is to not be part of it – hence my candidacy as an independent.”
“My objective will not be to make the Governor or a political party look good or bad, but to work on behalf of towns in the district that are feeling the effects of the mismanagement in Augusta through decreased revenues and state services and increased local taxes.” Bright said.
Bright, 66, and his wife, Jean Hay Bright, own and operate BrightBerry Farm, a small organic fruit and vegetable farm in Dixmont. Bright is a member of both Maine Farm Bureau and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, and through his involvement in those organizations was one of the founders of Maine’s Own Organic Milk company (MOOMilk), formed in 2009 to provide a market for small Maine organic dairy farms.
Bright said he learned a lot about rural economic development in Maine with his recent experiences helping to build MOOMilk up and then having to watch it cease production because all the resources needed to take it to the next level weren’t readily available.
“There are good people in Maine looking to help the local food movement and improve the state’s rural economy, but right now all the pieces don’t always fit together, and the business plans often don’t work well with season-sensitive businesses. I think we can fix that if we listen to the folks actually working the land,” he said.
Bright also seeks a system of income and property taxes that treats everyone fairly, is based on ability to pay, is easy for taxpayers to understand and towns to administer, and doesn’t overburden farmers and other small businesses who need a lot of equipment to earn their living.
“The person working in a food processing facility or paper mill may need to invest in a pair of steel-toed shoes and a lunch bucket in order to earn a living, but the farmer or logger supplying food and fiber to make those jobs possible often requires hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxable equipment in order to net the same income,” Bright said. “We need to find a better, fairer, way of taxing those businesses.”
Aside from being involved in agriculture, Bright is also a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981, AFL-CIO. Prior to working on the farm full-time, Bright was a reporter and editor at the Bangor Daily News for 26 years, including stints as environment and agriculture writer. After leaving the BDN in 1996 he worked 10 years for two software companies specializing in newspaper and magazine production. His clients included Newsweek Magazine, the Concord (NH) monitor, the Cape Cod Times and Christianity Today, as well as other publications in New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota and California. He and his wife have four grown children.