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October 24. 2012 9:55PM

Carroll County Commission candidates meet at forum

TAMWORTH — Some faces were missing from a Candidates Forum held at the K.A. Brett School on Monday evening, but those who attended shared their platforms with about 50 residents.

Due to a meeting with the New Hampshire Association of Counties, Carroll County Commissioners David Sorensen, a Republican from District 1, and Dorothy Solomon, a Democratic candidate from District 2, were unable to attend. Carroll County sheriff candidates Francis Lord, running as an independent against Domenic Richardi of Conway, did not attend. However, a separate sheriff’s race debate is scheduled to be held on Monday, Oct. 29, at the Good n’ Tasty Restaurant in Wakefield.

Solomon is running against former state Rep. David Babson Jr., who has become a fixture at county commission meetings.

Babson, R-Ossipee, served as a state representative for 14 out of the last 18 years. If elected, he said he will work to reduce the number of labor grievances, require employees to follow the chain of command, support the UNH Cooperative Extension move to the county complex, and improve the budgeting system for the county’s legislative delegation. He advocates expanding use of the 900-acre complex to include hiking and wheelchair trails so that residents and the public can use the property and a cross-country ski trail.

Erik Corbett, a Democrat from Glen running for Carroll County Commission District 1, said that if elected he would put party politics aside. He supports looking for ways to utilize the old nursing home building. He said the Carroll County Board of Commissioner has been dysfunctional since 2010, and his experience in managing a nonprofit and running his own business will enable him to repair “some of the frayed relationships in Ossipee. Corbett is running against Republican incumbent David Sorensen, who did not attend the forum due to a county association meeting.

Moderator George Cleveland did read a prepared statement from Solomon.

Solomon, of Albany, is running for re-election to District 2, County Commission. She took office in 2009. She stated that the county’s portion of the property tax rate for a number of towns was $1 or under. The commission headed a $23 million construction of a new energy efficient nursing home, the Mountain View Community, which offers a homelike living environment for residents. She said the choice to build in 2009 saved the county money due to low bond interest rates, resulting in a $2 million savings. Solomon’s goals if elected include utilizing part of the old nursing home as a Veterans Administration-funded shelter for homeless veterans. Solomon also supports moving the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension in Conway to the county complex in Ossipee, a move that could save the county $40,000 in annual rent.

In the county attorney’s race, Assistant County Attorney Stephen Murray, a Republican from Wolfeboro, is running against former Carroll County Attorney Robin Gordon, a Democrat from Tamworth.

Murray said his goal is to seek justice for the community.

“I’m willing to take the time and effort on each case. He said he worked under Gordon for three and a half years and during that time he took on a child sexual assault case that Gordon didn’t want to pursue. The case involved a male church member who confessed to police that he fondled a young child. The church elders had known about the case for some time and had disciplined the perpetrator. The elders were reprimanded for not reporting the abuse, but Murray said he and Gordon disagreed over prosecuting the perpetrator. Ultimately, that man was charged and is now on the sexual offenders list.

Gordon, who served as county attorney from 1999 to 2010, said since she’s been gone “things haven’t gone as well as they could.” She said she gets calls from jurors, victims and others complaining about the county attorney’s office.

She said she hired Murray for his expertise in financial cases and research, but that she has more background in criminal cases on both sides since she’s worked as a defense attorney and prosecutor. She said current County Attorney Tom Dewhurst secured substantial salary increases for most of the staff, but that she would seek raises for those who didn’t get raises who are taking home less pay. She would also work with the sheriff’s department to control extradition expenses, and set aside money for staff to attend national conferences.

Aspiring Carroll County Sheriff Domenic Richardi, a Republican from Conway, told the crowd that with his 17 years of experience at the sheriff’s department, he knows the job and the staff. This is his second time running for high sheriff. He defeated incumbent Chris Conley in the primary, and faces independent candidate and former State Trooper Francis Lord.

Richardi said he has good relationships with local law enforcement and could improve morale instantaneously if reelected.

“I have a vast knowledge of what the sheriff’s department does,” he said.

For the full videotape of this forum, go to www.governmentoversite.com.

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Larissa Mulkern may be reached at LMulkern@newstote.com.


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