Chenette announces his candidacy for York County Commissioner


Former Maine lawmaker Justin Chenette has announced his candidacy for York County District 3 commissioner in the 2022 election. Courtesy Photo / Eduard Chenette

CESO – Former Maine lawmaker Justin Chenette has put out a bid for the position of York County Commissioner in District 3, representing Old Orchard Beach, Saco, Buxton and Hollis in the 2022 election. The district currently includes Dayton, but won’t be next year, when it becomes part of District 4 following a reallocation.

Chenette, 30, said he wanted a more accessible, transparent and accountable government.

“The county commission should not be Maine’s lost level of government,” he said in a press release announcing his candidacy. “Unfortunately, we don’t see a lot of attention given to county government actions and this stems directly from the fact that our elected officials do not involve the public throughout the decision-making process. I am looking to change that with a new generation of leaders on the commission.

The seat is currently held by Commissioner Allen Sicard, who is serving his first four-year term on the County Board of Directors.

Sicard and Chenette are both Democrats and each live in Saco. If the two run, they will face each other in a primary in June 2022, with the winner standing in the November election of the same year.

Sicard said he would announce his plans by the end of the year.

“(It’s) too early to talk politics,” Sicard said in a post. “We are focusing on county business and dispersing the $ 40 million US bailout funds.”

Chenette said he will hold monthly office hours, attend community events and provide frequent updates via social media, email newsletters and newspapers to keep the public informed and get feedback. To encourage greater participation, he said, he would also like meetings to be held in the evenings; they are currently scheduled at 4:30 p.m. on the first and third Wednesday of the month.

When he was first elected to the Maine House of Representatives, Chenette was 21 and the youngest lawmaker in the country at the time. He served two terms in the House and two in the Senate of Maine – and had run for a third term in the Senate in the 2020 election before stepping down in August of the same year. At the time, he pointed out that he had served eight consecutive years in the legislature. “After spending nearly a decade in power, this decision will allow me to amplify my impact in whatever I decide to do next,” he said at the time. Among his legislative functions, he held the post of Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee.

He is a member of the Maine Right to Know Advisory Committee.

The York County Council of Commissioners is made up of five members representing the county’s 29 municipalities in five districts. Two more terms expire in 2022: District 2, currently represented by Democrat Richard Dutremble of Biddeford, includes Arundel, Biddeford, Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. District 1, currently represented by Republican Robert Andrews of Lebanon, includes Acton, Berwick, Cornish, Lebanon, Limington, Newfield, North Berwick, Parsonsfield, Shapleigh and South Berwick.

The departments under the direction of the county government include the County Deeds Register, the Estates Register; York County Sheriff’s Office, which includes Rural Patrol, Jail, and Civil Procedure; the county emergency management agency, administration and its associated functions and facilities. In the York County District Attorney’s Office, all ministerial support staff are made up of York County employees; the salaries of the elected district attorney and his deputy attorneys are paid by the state, as in all of the state’s eight prosecution districts.

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