Boothbay Harbor candidate profile

Kenneth Rayle, running unopposed for three-year selectman’s term

Mon, 04/12/2021 - 8:45am

    Address: 15 School St., Boothbay Harbor

    Occupation: Retired.

    Professional and business experience: My wife (Cathryn) and I opened Sweet Bay, a gift shop in downtown Boothbay Harbor, in 2008. It was a vacant storefront in 2008 and we have expanded and grown the shop for 13 successful years. In 2016, we purchased The Footbridge Shop. Recently we sold both shops and are embracing retirement. In addition to the retail stores, I operated an independent investment management firm for 21 years. The investment business was sold in 2018.

    During the 1980s and ’90s, I held executive and senior positions as head of the Plymouth Home National Bank Trust Department (which merged into the Private Wealth Group of Bank of New England-South), and Bridgewater Savings Bank Trust Department.

    Education: MBA University of Toledo 1976 Economics; BBA Kent State University 1971 Economics & Finance

    Political history (boards, committees): Joint Economic Development Committee; Budget Committee – current; Broadband Committee – current. No prior elective political office held or attempted.

    Clubs/Organizations: Boothbay Region District Nursing Association, Board of Directors 2016, Treasurer 2018; Boothbay Harbor Chamber of Commerce, Member since 2009, President 2018-2019; welcomed cruise passengers at Whale Park as informal ambassador

    Considering the position you are running for, what do you feel are the three most pressing issues?

    One critical issue for Boothbay Harbor is housing or more accurately a shortage of affordable housing for working families who, if they could get a good job here, would traditionally live here. They would support local businesses, tradesmen, schools, artists, and charities. Currently, many seek housing “value” off the peninsula. The reasons for this housing dynamic are varied; the housing market did not get into this situation overnight and a remedy most certainly will not be present at daybreak, so we must determine what step(s) can be instituted first and take those steps which may involve zoning changes, incentives, or other practical ideas. Like any change, in any direction, there will be disagreement, some passionate. I hope we can agree, housing is critical to our town’s future. Doing nothing is an option, but an option that is, in my opinion, not in the best interests of the town.

    Another issue is one not limited just to the Selectboard. The undisputed and overwhelming driver of our economy is the impact of visitors, seasonal residents, day trippers, and snowbirds. We can all contribute by recognizing the importance of visitors and, if possible, help make their visit a positive experience. Be a good ambassador for Boothbay Harbor. Happy visitors come back, tell friends to come, some stay longer or buy a home here. Some will start a business here. All that activity helps the entirety of our economy. The Selectboard should continue to reinvest in town assets that maintain services for all residents, including assets that specifically relate to visitor experiences here. Examples: The Footbridge, directional signage, sidewalks, Museum in the Streets, restrooms, Barrett Park, mini parks, etc. In other words, take care of the basics and be opportunistic and proactive for changes that can be leveraged to benefit residents and businesses.

    Quality and health of the schools is another critical issue for the future of our town and region. There are two boards specifically tasked to manage our schools under the Consolidated School District, the School Committee and the Board of Trustees. I encourage all interested residents to be more involved with the meetings and initiatives of the Committee and the Trustees.

    Any other thoughts on why you are running or what you can bring to the office?

    I love this town, the area and many of the people I have come to know. Some are, as they say, truly “characters.” We have visited here since the 80s, bought a home in ’06, and moved here full time 10 years ago.

    I have lived long enough to know I do not know everything, but I remain curious and eager to learn. My first term as selectman will be lots of listening and learning, and the town and the residents’ best interests will be the deciding factor on any decision. I do not seek the position because I want to stop a particular project or because I want to promote any project.

    Our economy became stagnant in the 80s, through the 2000s and there has been a distinct uptick in the last 10 years. Credit the national economy in general, the Botanical Gardens, the golf course and resort, upgrades and updates to several of the premier resorts and B&Bs, Bigelow Lab, and many others. Current issues with housing and the schools are rooted in those static years. We need to look for positives and position ourselves now to continue our progress. Let us be good stewards of Boothbay Harbor’s future.