Newcastle Forester focus on inflation and natural resources


Newcastle forester Merle Parise is running for House District 46 as a Republican candidate. (Photo by Nate Poole)

Merle Parise is a Republican candidate for House District 46. He is focused on fighting inflation, stewardship of natural resources, and reducing the tax burden on Mainers.

House District 46 includes Bristol, Damariscotta, Monhegan, Newcastle and parts of Nobleboro and South Bristol. House District 46 was previously HD 90 and included Bremen before the state was re-divided in September 2021.

Parise will run against social worker and incumbent Democratic candidate Lydia Crafts.

Parise previously lost in their 2020 run for the same seat to Crafts. In a March 21 interview, he said he lost many voters in previous elections because he publicly supported Donald Trump.

“This time I don’t have to worry about it because Donald Trump is not here,” he said. “I think it will be more enjoyable.”

He said the key to winning the election this year will be connecting with undecided voters and moderate Democrats in the district.

“It’s an uphill battle…but I’ll be there for these people. I will work for them, and if they bring an issue to my table and I don’t understand it, I will find out,” he said.

Parise holds a bachelor’s degree in forest management from the University of Maine, a degree in environmental science and policy from the University of Southern Maine, and a master’s degree in climate and society research from the Columbia University.

He has farmed with his wife, Dr. Christine Welch, since 1983 and has owned and operated a forestry consulting business, MJP Forestry, since approximately 1984. Welch owns Damariscotta Veterinary Clinic.

Parise worked for the Peace Corps in Mexico from 2007 to 2009, training citizens in business and environmental sciences. He then participated in counterinsurgency efforts in Afghanistan with the United States Department of Agriculture from 2009 to 2013, training Afghan civilians in agricultural skills.

If elected, Parise would like to serve on the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry because, for his part, he sees good forest management as an ongoing issue in Maine, especially given the declining of the pulp and paper industry in the state.

“(I will) sit down and listen to what people have to say, listen and listen some more, then if I can give advice and help and use my experience, I will use it,” he said. .

Inflation is a major issue across the country that Parise would like to address. Inflation in the United States has risen more than it has in any other one-year period since 1982 to March 10, according to the Department of Labor.

Parise said that, to combat this problem, he would like to see trade and production concentrated locally; he added that the state should work with its farmers, foresters, logging companies, fishers and other food producers to that end.

“When I sell a piece of wood from my property, it goes into the community. This money goes back into the community,” he said.

Parise said he would also like to see higher education, including opportunities in vocational and trade schools, become more available in the House 46 district.

“We need electricians, we need plumbers, we need labourers,” he said.

Parise said he recently spoke with the owner of a local car dealership who told him that it costs around 0,000 to get a fully trained car technician with no prior experience, but that it costs half as much to train someone who has completed a vocational or trade program for motor vehicle repair.

To that end, he would like to see more vocational courses and programs available within local school systems, rather than contracted out to school systems in cities like Bath or Augusta.

At the same time, Parise said he would seek to reduce property taxes in Lincoln County and the state. In particular, he would like to see people over 70 who have homesteads pay less towards the local school budget, compared to the rest of the residents in their communities.

He would also like to see the block property tax exemption on homesteads increased.

In the vein of conserving public funds, Parise said he believes in climate change, but that the state should direct its efforts more towards infrastructure adaptation rather than mitigation, as he believes it more feasible to predict the financial implications of adapting to climate change. .

“(With) mitigation, you can’t predict the cost; it’s so random… But (with) adaptation, you can predict the cost,” he said.

He said mitigation policies such as imposing an additional gas tax to reduce carbon are “regressive” and that in general he opposes taxes that will have a negative impact on the economy. American working class.

“Who will this affect? It’s going to affect the guy…who makes $15 an hour…in North Jefferson, who has to commute to Edgecomb here for work,” he said.

Other environmental issues Parise would like to address include the containment of PFAS chemicals on Maine farmland and the regulation of large solar farm installations.

Parise said he also sees the opioid epidemic as an issue that demands greater attention in Home District 46 and across the state.

“The problem I see is that it’s a revolving door,” Parise said. “I can’t tell you how many people I know now who … (in) their families have had a substance abuse problem, with a child or an uncle or a father or a mother.”

Parise would like to see long-term supervised treatment or a community living option for those who have struggled with opioid addiction. He said a major challenge facing these treatment options is community support.

“Nobody really wants one of these centers next to their house,” he said. “It’s sad but it’s true.”

In his spare time, Parise volunteers with the local food pantry and HART, Help Addicts Recover Today, an organization he helped found that is dedicated to reducing drug addiction in Maine.

He also enjoys salmon fishing, horseback riding, walking in the woods and dining out with friends.

For more information on Parise, contact him at 563-5778 or

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