The St. John Valley Times/Fiddlehead Focus papers sent a candidate profile request to me this week for an article to be published soon. Here’s my reply to them:
October 21, 2020
Candidate Profile: Kevin Bushey for Maine House District #151
For: Jessica Potila, Fiddlehead Focus/St. John Valley Times
What is your background (career, family etc…..)
I am an Ashland native and completed my undergraduate business degree from the University of Maine at Orono in 1977. Upon receiving my U.S. Army commission, I entered active duty and served 5 ½ years before returning to Maine. I married my wife Mary in 1980, and we have two adult daughters. During my military reserve career I also served over 21 years with the U.S. Air Force, retiring as a Colonel in 2006. My professional positions and skills include emergency management, nuclear, biological, chemical trainer, strategic planning, medical administration and real estate sales.
How long have you lived in this district?
I have lived in Ashland 27 years over the course of my working career. We moved back from Triangle VA, in 2014, where I spent 15 years working for the Department of Defense and several Defense contractors supporting clients including the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Why are you running for this seat?
The long serving bureaucrats holding public office in Augusta are mostly out of touch with northern Maine. For years we’ve seen an out-migration of our youth, multiple business closures, especially along the Route 11 corridor, and a poor balance between forest and wildlife management. I aim to work at fixing and improving these issues so that northern Maine is more than a vacation destination and is also a great place to work, raise a family and pursue dreams.
I also plan to address the problems with Title 37-B, the Department of Emergency Management statute, that abrogated the co-equal powers of the Legislature and Judicial Departments to the Governor during emergencies. It is unconstitutional and must be fixed.
The State Legislature needs to return to constitutional governance, and I will support restoring the Governor’s Executive Council to its role in assisting the Governor in determining whether legislative bills are repugnant to our Maine Constitution. As Speaker of the House, my opponent Mr. Martin, misled the Legislature and Maine citizens regarding the Constitutional role of the Governor’s Executive Council during the 1973-1976 deliberations. This resulted in the abolishment and removal of the Governor’s council from the Maine Constitution and empowered 10 legislators to control law making in Augusta. For an in-depth discussion, readers can listen to a discussion on this subject at: https://www.talkshoe.com/episode/4555616
What do you see as the biggest challenges faced by voters in this district?
District voters are misled by so many voices in main stream media, in government, in education and by others that wish to change our freedoms and our culture. These voices have no desire to see job growth here. We must begin an open dialogue to re-educate our citizens on returning to what our founding fathers articulated in our founding documents. The U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land, and in Maine, the Maine Constitution is also the supreme law of the land. We must get back to our roots and the blueprint left to us by our forefathers, the pilgrims.
They left us the blueprint in the form of a statue at Plymouth, MA, that lays out these five elements for a nation’s success: Faith, Morality, Law, Education and Liberty. Until we get back to the basics, our way of life and our culture in northern Maine is at risk of further decline. I will work to overcome this challenge and get Maine back on track with the pilgrims’ plan for America.
Another major challenge is Aroostook County seems to be left out of the efforts in Augusta to include us in any meaningful statewide economic development and energy strategic planning. For example, a group of investors have worked over 20 years and have invested millions of “at risk” dollars to build a co-generation heat and power plant at the former Loring AFB. They have had no success under three different administrations in Augusta. The need for safe and secure electrical power for northern Maine is paramount to our future. As one investor shared with me, when the lights flicker in Canada, they go completely out in northern Maine. We must fix that and the quicker we do, the more attractive northern Maine will become for industries to locate their companies here. Jobs attract workers, workers have families. We need Augusta to help and not hinder these efforts. I will push for comprehensive planning to overcome this challenge in northern Maine.
Many hunters live in northern Maine and others travel here and in doing so contribute to the local economy. Where do you stand on the issue of gun control?
I am pro second amendment and have witnessed the decline of hunting revenues given the extreme drop of the deer herds in this district. From 2005 to 2019, we experienced a 41% + drop in the deer harvest. We must do a better job of balancing forest harvesting and wildlife management. Many small direct and indirect businesses have closed in the last 20 years due to the declining deer population. We need to recover those tourism dollars derived from hunters and fully support the 2nd Amendment as part of that effort. Coupled with better wildlife management and forest practices, we can re-build this industry.
What is your opinion about a proposed regional high school in the St. John Valley?
The estimated demographics through 2022 that were used during the discussions in the last two years for grades 9-12 are not encouraging. I am supportive of additional options being investigated to compare with the relatively high price tag to build a new school with less than 400 students per year attending it. As a youngster, I recall Fort Kent High School had a capacity of close to 500 students. Let’s continue to look at options that may be more economical and within the taxpayers of Maine budget.
To what do you attribute the low numbers (to date) of COVID-19 infections in this district?
Northern Maine is a rural area and the spread of this virus never became “beyond local control”, as attested by our County Emergency Management Director, Darren Woods, in May of this year.
It appears the COVID was never any worse than the normal incidence of the flu virus. Better sanitation, hand washing, and distance may also be contributing to better results here.
How familiar are you with QAnon? Do you think its theories have relevance to our area?
I am familiar with QAnon theories. As a former military officer with a top secret clearance and working over 12 years at the Pentagon, as well as several years involved with this country’s Continuity of Government (COG) classified programs, I have some insights to how our government works and how it is to survive under national security threats. Every state has the same responsibility to ensure its ability to operate whether there are internal or external threats to its government. QAnon is one source along with other open sources that are providing those analyzing threats to this country (and to our own state) data that bypasses main stream media bias. Military officers swear an oath to defend our Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. No one is relieved of that duty unless they resign their commission. My oath is still in effect. QAnon is one source that mainstream media attempts to discredit, yet QAnon provides data that is confirmed through multiple sources. There’s a strong likelihood our nation’s military is part of the QAnon effort. I recommend voters read author Garrett M. Graff’s book, Raven Rock, especially chapter 17, 9/11, for insights on how our government deals with COG during national crisis.
I’ve witnessed first-hand the presence of BLM sympathizers in Fort Kent. The BLM movement founders proudly display their Marxist training in their propaganda videos and on the web. Those who wish to subvert our current government structure are in every area. District #151 is not immune from their presence.
Is there anything you would like to see changed about the law enforcement agencies in this district?
I am interested in discussing further with the law enforcement community the role of our county Sheriffs. In dialogue with our former Governor Paul LePage and Sheriff Shawn Gillen, there are areas regarding state government oversight, budget, training, and coverage that should be discussed for improvement. I am in favor of a task force being implemented with appropriate stakeholders to tackle these issues and prepare a report for the governor.
Substance use disorders, including alcoholism and addiction to methamphetamine, are more common in The County than in other parts of Maine. What would you do to combat that?
Rural living, inadequate infrastructure, lower paying jobs, and other issues contribute to addictions in all age groups. As I discussed in another question, a return to educating our citizens on how faith, morality, law, education and liberty go hand in hand, is needed. Faith is first and the element that can lift people’s spirits and have hope for their future. We had a bustling county just 70 years ago. Working together, we can return to faith, family and keeping our Franco American culture intact. Efforts by various health organizations and others to assist substance abusers must be part of future solutions to aid those to break the bonds of addiction.
Submitted by Kevin Bushey
Ashland, Me 04732