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Wednesday, June 29, 2016 Serving Maine and Lincoln County for over a century. Volume 141 Issue 26


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7/16/2014 2:00:00 PM
New Republican Candidate Selected for House District 80
Ray Bates is the new Republican candidate for House District 80. (Photo courtesy Ray Bates)
Ray Bates is the new Republican candidate for House District 80. (Photo courtesy Ray Bates)
By Dominik Lobkowicz

The young Republican candidate for the new House District 80 withdrew his candidacy in recent weeks and Windsor's town committee chair was chosen to take his place.

District 80 covers Somerville, Hibberts Gore, Vassalboro, Windsor, and roughly the northeast third of Augusta.

Andrew Fowler, a 23-year-old law student, started running for the House seat in February, challenging incumbent Rep. Lori Fowle, D-Vassalboro. Fowle is the state representative for the current District 53.

"However, shortly, after that, I made the decision to join the National Guard and the race was going to be in the fall and that's when I was headed to basic training," Fowler said. He plans to put law school on hold while he gets into the Maine Army National Guard.

To replace Fowler, Republicans from the district's towns unanimously chose Ray Bates at a meeting held July 9, according to Bates. He also serves as the chair of Windsor's Republican committee and board of selectmen.

Bates was born and raised in Winthrop but has lived in Windsor since 1981. He lives there with his wife and two children and works in water and wastewater treatment.

Bates has held a number of positions in town and says selectman is, so far, the peak of his political career.

"I've always felt that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem, that's why I became a selectman - to try to solve some of the problems," Bates said. "Now I'd like to try to solve problems at the state level if I can be rewarded with the position."

In addition to eight years on the select board, Bates served six years as chair of the town's budget committee, and on the planning board back in the 1980s.

"I've been involved in budgeting for a long time connected up with the town," Bates said. "I think I can help in terms of spending issues."

Bates describes himself as a sportsman and says both that and his employment contribute to his interest in the environment.

"I'm very environmentally conscious, specifically about the water side of things," Bates said.

One area of interest for Bates in the Legislature is welfare reform, but he declined to specify exactly what reforms he hopes to see.

"That's as tight as I'd like to get on it at the moment. I need to see it from the inside to see what can be done and what is doable and what is a pipe dream," Bates said. "I think there are ways to improve it without losing the people who truly need it and to protect their well-being while at the same time finding those who are maybe taking advantage of the system a little too much."

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