Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate running for the Rockport Select Board, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the town and region. The candidate responses are posted as they are returned, and are collected on the Pilot’s June Town Meeting/Elections Resource Page.
1) Please provide a concise biography of yourself.
I am Jeff Hamilton and I am running for one of the open seats on the Rockport Select Board to be voted on this June. I am a Maine native and have lived in Rockport since September 2015. I am a University of Maine Chemical Engineering graduate and did master’s level work in Administrative Science at George Washington University.
I held management, operations, and technical positions in the Pulp and Paper Industry for nearly 35 years. I worked in 10 facilities for 7 different companies in four different states. Six of those facilities were in Maine. In addition, I was national president and board member of several international industry associations for many years. When working in a difficult business such as primary manufacturing, business perspective has now become a core competency, a competency always needed at the municipal level in any town.
I am now the plant manager at DuPont’s (formally FMC’s) facility in Rockland. In this business, it is all about delivering results through people, safety and environmentalsustainability, customer focus, and financial performance...skills and experiences I wouldmost certainly bring to the role of Select Board Member. Regarding civic activity, I am member of the Camden Rotary, the PenBay Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, andthe Town of Rockport’s Harbor Committee. I am also active on several UMaine School of Engineering accreditation boards and foundation executive committees.
My wife Diane and I enjoy living in Rockport very much. It is now our home. Our four grown children all have very active lives in other parts of the state, the country, and the world so we now ‘parent’ the two dogs you see in the picture above. We recently became new members of the Rockport Boat Club. Lastly, my passions include sailing, skiing, powerboat racing, and playing guitar.
I can contribute significantly to the success of Rockport. It is time to focus on the future in our town. There are old issues to bring to closure and new issues to move forward. As a select board member I can help with this. I ask for your support on Tuesday, June 12th.
2) What are the 3 most pressing issues facing Rockport today, and how would you like to see them resolved?
Three immediate issues facing Rockport today involve 1) Moving forward with the resolution of the Library, 2) School system funding and support, and 3) Providing proper support to, and funding for, infrastructure needs such as road maintenance and sewer/water system upgrades. These issues must be clearly communicated and presented to the voters of Rockport with proper transparency such that it is the voting population, on Election Day, that decides path forward.
3) How will you protect the Rockport taxpayer as you shape and govern a municipal budget, and juggle various interests that request municipal funding throughout the year?
Penobscot Bay Pilot has posed questions to each candidate running for the Rockport Select Board, providing the opportunity for the public to better understand their position on issues important to the town and region.
There are three seats available on the Select Board: two three-year terms currently held by Owen Casas and Ken McKinley.
There is also a one two-year seat available, following the resignation of Tom Gray last winter.
Ken McKinley is seeking that seat.
The candidates are responding with their individual written answers.
The three priorities of town government are to provide emergency services, maintain and improve infrastructure, and provide funding for the education of our youth. Those priorities need to be funded at an appropriate level. I am extremely concerned that the funding for our police and fire departments must be appropriate going forward. They need proper equipment and facilities to do their jobs in the best way possible. When you are in need, our first responders are the people you want with the tools and training to do the job well.
ALL other financial needs and requests must be evaluated very carefully such that the tax burden of Rockport does not escalate beyond reason. Few things in life are free. Spending must be prioritized, support the intent of the Comprehensive Plan as needed, and be 100% aligned with the will of the majority of voters and residents of Rockport.
It likely goes without saying that the residents of Rockport must first decide library/no library in their own mind. If it is the will of the voters to have a library, and there are many good reasons to do so, the current proposal for a new library at 1 Limerock is very appropriate and will make an excellent addition to the community. If the voters are in support in November, my job is to help execute their will the best I can.
5) Should Rockport invest in a municipally-owned fiber network so that all residents have access to high-speed internet?
Excellent high speed internet access will quickly (1-2 years) be available to those that wish to have it via current advances in cellular based technology. I am not a proponent of a municipally-owned fiber network system paid for via tax dollars.
6) How do you see Rockport positioned in the larger regional Midcoast economy?
Rockport hold's it's own in this economic region of Maine. A revised Comprehensive Plan will further define the desired position of our town.
7) Is Rockport's zoning adequate enough to sustain economic vitality and quality of life?
Ordinances and zoning laws appear to be adequate. Recall that there is an appeals process for individuals and/or companies that is used to address desired exceptions if needed.
8) What municipal committee would you like to be a liaison to, and why?
The Capital Improvement Committee is a committee that I would be pleased to be a liaison to. Identifying, prioritizing, planning and managing capital expenditures at the corporate and facility level is an activity I have been engaged in for over 35 years. Additionally, the Comprehensive Plan Committee is in need of support. I could help that effort. My campaign sign says 'focused on the future'....that is what the Comp Plan is all about.
9) Camden and Rockport now share a police chief and an assessor. Are there other cost-sharing arrangements that Rockport could do, with Camden or other towns, to spread the staffing responsibilities; e.g., share a planner? Public works director?
To be determined and only where/when it makes proper financial AND community sense.
10) How will you approach developing a vision and plan for the 4.5-acre RES site?
This site, or any other site for that matter, should be developed in alignment with the town's soon-to-be-revised Comprehensive Plan and developed with the support of the community.