Newcastle voters will choose two selectmen from a pool of four candidates during the annual town meeting by referendum on Tuesday, June 8.
Joel Lind, the acting chair of the Newcastle Board of Selectmen, is running for reelection. The other candidates are Christopher Doherty, Karen Leavitt Paz, and Merle Parise. The top two vote-getters will win the seats.
Polls will be open at the Clayton V. Huntley Jr. Station on River Road from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 8.
Longtime Newcastle resident Christopher Doherty previously served two full three-year terms and one partial term on the board, starting in 2015.
Doherty resigned in August 2019 after missing several meetings during a leave of absence to help his son build a house in Colorado.
He said during an interview on Tuesday, June 1 that he intended to participate remotely in meetings but lack of adequate cellular service and the absence of a town policy allowing such participation at the time prevented him from doing so.
In the past, Doherty has been on the fire department, the Newcastle Board of Appeals, the Newcastle Planning Board, the Newcastle Local Planning Committee, and the Newcastle Land Use Ordinance Review Committee.
Doherty said he is running again for selectman because he considers the position “the most effective way to serve and contribute to my community in a disciplined way.”
“I’m conservative in policy-making and stand for individual property rights,” Doherty said.
Doherty was born in Massachusetts, the eldest of 10 children, and moved around frequently because his father was in the U.S. Air Force.
After landing in Maine at The Apprenticeshop, which was then located in Bath, in 1979, Doherty fell in love with the area and settled in Newcastle in 1986.
He has owned and operated his own residential construction and renovation firm for 44 years, now known as Doherty Built Inc.
Doherty enjoys traveling, taking his boat on the water, and spending time outdoors and with family.
Joel Lind has lived in Newcastle since 2009, when he began renovating an old one-room schoolhouse on Cochran Road that was previously owned by his grandparents, which he calls home today.
He is currently seeking his third consecutive three-year term on the board of selectmen.
Lind is a residential building contractor and owns Lind Building & Renovation Inc.
He grew up in Bremen and graduated from Nobleboro Central School and Lincoln Academy. He has an associate degree in resource management from Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vt.
During Lind’s first year on the board he was involved with the town’s dissolution of its interlocal public works agreement with Damariscotta and he took it upon himself to mow the grass in front of the town office as a result. His second year brought the search for a town administrator, which resulted in the hiring of Jon Duke, who became Newcastle’s first town manager in 2020.
With Duke on his way out, the next board of selectmen will have the task of finding a new town manager.
“I’ve been through a lot of changes in the town,” Lind said during an interview on Friday, May 28.
He said he is proud of helping to keep the town’s mil rate flat for the past five years and holding the municipal budget in check while still getting quality work done for the town, such as the reconstruction of Academy Hill Road and other roads projects. He hopes to continue that work if reelected.
“Everything I’ve done since I’ve been on the board, regardless of my personal opinions one way or the other, has been just looking out for the best interests of the town as a whole and making sure that that directive is being pushed forward,” Lind said.
Lind’s hobbies include fishing, working on projects around his house, and spending time outdoors.
Merle Parise has owned and operated a farm in Newcastle with his wife, Dr. Christine Welch, a veterinarian who owns the Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic, and has managed his own forestry consulting business, MJP Forestry, since 1983.
Parise has built a career managing natural resources, starting with his schooling in the University of Maine System. He has degrees in environmental science and policy and a degree in forest management. He also has a master’s in climate and society from Columbia University.
Parise served for 10 years on the Newcastle Planning Board, starting in 1993 and mostly as chair. He is currently a member of the town’s board of appeals. He also was president of the planning alliance for the Damariscotta River Estuary Project, an alliance of seven towns which promoted the health and economy of the river.
Parise said during an interview on Thursday, May 27 that one of his main concerns if elected would be to work to protect natural resources in Newcastle.
“My children grew up here. This area has good schools, clean water, clean air, and opportunities that we haven’t tapped yet,” Parise said.
Parise said he would like to look into starting a forestry committee for the town to manage its “unique forest system.”
He would also like to work to lower the town’s mil rate and amend the new Core Zoning Code, which he said has “divided the town.”
“We need to take a good look at how we spend our money on capital projects in this town, look at them from cradle-to-grave so we understand the true costs of these projects so that the expenses the town will incur are clear to everybody concerned,” Parise said.
In his free time, Parise enjoys spending time outdoors on his farm, fishing, and riding his horses.
Karen Leavitt Paz
Karen Leavitt Paz grew up in Maine, lived in Bristol, and graduated from Lincoln Academy.
She studied economics at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and worked in financial services for 10 years, moving throughout the country.
After having kids, she shifted her focus to raising her family and volunteering in the communities where she lived, picking up local government experience.
She chaired the solid waste advisory commission in Willington, Conn., where the commission succeeding in closing a landfill and opening a transfer station.
Paz spent time as a member of the certified emergency response team in Long Valley, N.J., where she assisted first responders in various emergency situations and also worked for 15 years as a disaster services supervisor with the American Red Cross in New Jersey.
Six years ago, Paz and her husband bought a house in Newcastle and moved here full time after the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. Shortly after, she joined the Newcastle Historical Society and is currently the group’s treasurer.
She said she doesn’t have any specific priorities if elected to the board of selectmen other than focusing on the “responsible allocation of the funds we have available” and working on the budget.
She believes her organizational skills and drive to “get things done” will make her an asset to the town.
“I’ve served in some capacity in all of the towns that I’ve lived in. I’ve done some kind of volunteer work and I just thought this was a good time to serve in a community that helped raise me essentially,” Paz said.
In her spare time, Paz enjoys hiking, gardening, cooking, traveling, and painting. She is currently training for a hike up Mount Katahdin.