WALDOBORO — Former Waldoboro Selectman and Shellfish Committee chair Lowell Wallace (R-Waldoboro) has announced, through a news release, plans to run for House District 91, which includes Waldoboro, Friendship, Washington and part of Union.
Before retiring to help his son with his commercial lobster fishing business, Wallace worked as a store manager for several large department stores including 19 years for Reny’s at their Bath, Camden and Damariscotta locations.
“I am very concerned about the impact the coronavirus is going to have on our coastal communities,” Wallace said. “It’s devastated our fishermen and clam diggers. Their market collapsed overnight when restaurants closed, and people started staying home. And if tourism is slow to rebound, if people don’t have the money to take trips or go out to eat, it’s going to be a long, hard, fight back for guys who make their living on the water.”
Wallace, in the release, noted Maine retailers are also going to have a long road back amid the pandemic.
“Retailers of all sizes were hurting before the quarantine,” he said. “Mainstays like Sears and Macy’s have struggled as people shop more online. We are fortunate here in Maine to have strong brands like LL Bean, Marden’s and Reny’s, but even they’re going to find it challenging, and our small gift shops and independent stores that depend on a strong summer season are going to have an even tougher road back. This virus has thrown our economy and our state into a tailspin, and I think the next Legislature is going to have a lot of work to do to help everyone from the clam digger to the most recognizable Maine brand rebuild and recover.”
Wallace said, in the release, he is particularly concerned about fishermen as they struggle with what he sees as excessive state and federal regulations as well as a virus that has taken tens of thousands of lives across the country.
“Fishermen got a double whammy,” he said. “Between this virus and the ongoing feud with the federal government and environmental groups over rules to protect right whales that aren’t even in Maine waters, fishermen are frustrated, and fed up with state and federal mandates that cost them money and make their livelihood harder than it has to be.”
Wallace noted that during his time on the Waldoboro shellfish committee he worked with fishermen, scientists and community leaders to draft a new shellfish ordinance designed to keep the fishery strong for the next generation of diggers.
“We fought hard for what we believed in,” he said. “There were some very strong opinions about good shellfish management, good fisheries management, and we all wanted to see clamming succeed because its such a major part of our community, our region. We had differences, but we were able to come together and do what was right for the industry. You have to do that whether you’re on a local shellfish committee, Board of Selectmen, or a state legislator. You have to respect your constituents, listen to them, work with them to solve issues that matter to their community first and foremost. That will be my top priority when I get to Augusta.”
Wallace can be reached at 790-0015 or by email at email@example.com.