Newcastle Republican Merle Parise has filed paperwork to run for House District 90, which includes Bremen, Bristol, Damariscotta, Monhegan, Newcastle, and parts of Nobleboro and South Bristol.
Parise is a former chair of the Newcastle Planning Board, serves on the town’s appeals board, owns a local forestry consulting business, and operates a sheep and horse farm with his wife.
“I am a strong believer that Maine’s environment and natural resources economy go hand in hand,” he said. “Whether it’s sustainable farming, fishing, or forestry, it’s critical that Mainers of all ages can earn a living outdoors, and that we pass our strong tradition of conservation on to our children and grandchildren so that they too can enjoy the same quality of life Maine has become best known for.”
Parise has a strong connection to the University of Maine System, having graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a degree in forest management and the University of Southern Maine with a degree in environmental science and policy before going on to Columbia University, where he earned a research master’s in climate and society.
“Maine’s universities have a lot of great things going,” he said. “They provide opportunities for our young people in fields that many of them, and their parents, grew up in.
“I am proud of that, and think we as a state need to be doing a better job of telling that story, of showing our young people that there are opportunities right here in their backyard, that they don’t have to go away to school, but if they do go, they can come back and invest in Maine. I believe we need to help them do that if we are going to create a more sustainable, dynamic economy, the type of economy Mainers of all ages want.”
Parise said community planning is as critical to Maine’s future as anything going on in Augusta.
“I think sometimes we tend to look to Augusta for answers when we really should be looking in our own communities,” he said. “We have talented, qualified people right here who are contributing a lot.
“I’ve met and worked with a lot of them during my time on the planning board, and believe that locally we can help address some of the long-term economic and community development issues by working together – oftentimes better than folks in Augusta or Washington, D.C.”
Parise also discussed his love of farming.
“Maine agriculture is very diverse,” he said. “Whether it’s growing produce, sheep, horses, chickens, or producing your own maple products, Maine’s farming industry has a lot to offer our communities, our state, and our economy.
“With the way things are internationally right now, it is more important than ever that we do so, and that we find ways to make it easier for all our natural resources industries to flourish. I am committed to that, and looking forward to working with folks on both sides of the aisle when I get to the State House on bringing economic development and conservation together, just as I have done in the Peace Corps and serving with the (U.S. Department of Agriculture) helping to rebuild Afghanistan.”
For more information about Parise or to get involved with his campaign, contact him at 563-5778 or firstname.lastname@example.org.