Harrison Selectmen Race: Bean, Belanger, Dumont, Hudson in the running for two seats

Penny Bean

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

HARRISON — Four candidates will seek two seats on the Harrison Board of Selectmen as voters go to the polls this coming Tuesday, June 12, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the town office meeting room.

The ballot lists incumbent Achille F.S. Belanger along with challengers Penny Bean and Henry Dumont. Henry Hudson Jr. has announced he is a write-in candidate.

“I do not plan to campaign. If people write me in, I will accept the job,” said Hudson, who served as a selectman about 20 years ago. He was encouraged to seek a return to the board for a three-year term.

Hudson says he brings years of experience running a business, will act in what is in the best interest of the town, and has “no axes to grind.”

Achille Belanger

The News reached out to the other three candidates, who provided the following background profiles and answers to four questions:

  • Responses are arranged alphabetically.

Background

Penny Bean: I grew up in Harrison and attended schools here. After graduation, I began a 15-year career in banking and moved to the Portland area. It didn’t take me long to realize I missed Harrison. I moved back home and continued to commute. In 2002, I changed careers and accepted a job as Deputy Town Clerk in Harrison while starting a family. In 2015, I accepted a position at the City of Westbrook, and worked there until January of this year when I became the Town Clerk in Casco. I currently reside in Scribner’s Mills with my 15-year-old daughter, Danielle.

Achille Belanger: Completed first term as selectman; 16 ½ years working at the Harrison Transfer Station; 45 years residing in Harrison; bachelor’s degree in Communications.

Henry Dumont

Henry Dumont: I was born, brought up and have lived in Maine most of my life. I married, brought up six children and have 11 grandchildren. I have been a widower for 21 years. I was in the military, owned my own business, worked in the post office and was a postmaster in Atkinson, N.H., which is the only time I lived outside Maine (13 years out of my 84 years). I love the outdoors, whether it is walking, hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, etc. I am still very active and love to keep busy. Love to spend time with my children and grandchildren.

Candidate Questions

Why did you decide to seek office?

Penny Bean: Since leaving the town office in 2015, I have missed the interaction with the taxpayers and residents of Harrison. This as an opportunity to serve and represent the people of Harrison once again.

Achille Belanger: Because I care deeply about our town and our way of life.

Henry Dumont: I think the town selectmen have been doing a good job. There were a couple of free seats, I finally have some free time and thought I could help keep the town running smoothly. It just seemed like the perfect time.

What strengths and experiences would you bring to the position?

Penny Bean: I have spent almost all my life in Harrison and my family has deep roots here. I have worked in municipal government for 16 years, 13 of those years here in Harrison. This experience has given me a good understanding of how the town operates.

Achille Belanger: Three years of service as a selectman, so far.

Henry Dumont: I think my varied background will bring a good mix to the board of selectmen. I have experience in business and management along with experience in a variety of other work, which will help in running the town. I was in the military, have run my own business, worked in management most of my life, worked in the post office, was a postmaster in Atkinson, N.H. (only time I lived outside Maine), retired and have been doing odd handyman type jobs. I have also been involved in a variety of public service-type organizations throughout my life and thought it was time to get involved in public service again.

What do you feel are some of the main issues facing the town?

Penny Bean: Keeping taxes at a point where they don’t continue to rise and watching spending.

Achille Belanger: Taxes. School system (and lack of our say in it). Road repair. Affordable housing for young people. Good paying community jobs that would allow a living wage.

Henry Dumont: The town is doing a good job and with the change of town manager. I would like to help the town keep going in a positive direction. I would like to keep the town maintaining roads, schools and helping elderly to stay in their homes.

Why do you feel public service is important?

Penny Bean: It is just something I have always done, starting at an early age. I love helping people from tutoring kids when I was in high school, to being a part of the Big Brother/Big Sister program, to being a Brownie and Girl Scout leader, to managing the Christmas for Kids program. I enjoy every minute of it.

Achille Belanger: It is a right and a privilege, only allowed in a democracy.

Henry Dumont: I feel public service is important because it takes a village to get involved, even just one person at a time. It is my time to get involved. There is a great need for local people to get caught up and be informed in what is happening in town and the area. I usually am the person that helps behind the scenes, but feel it is the right time to get involved more myself.

Also on the Ballot

Planning Board: Two members, three-year terms — James Dayton, Elizabeth Perron

Appeals Board: One member, five-year term — John Strickland

School Board: One member, three-year term — Albert Lisowski

School Board: One member, one-year term — Kathleen Laplante.

Town Meeting

The annual town meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 13, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Harrison Elementary School gym.

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