I would like to take a moment and introduce myself. My name is Travis Otis and I am currently running for the open position on the Searsport Board of Selectmen.

Being raised in Searsport has taught me the importance of being involved in the community. And it is with this in mind that I decided to attempt to give back to the good people that, while they were unaware of it at the time, helped mold me into the person that I am today. While Searsport as a whole has remained mostly unchanged to those who don't live here, I have noticed a trend that is most troublesome to me. Just in my lifetime I have seen the number of independently-owned businesses dwindle. We no longer have a drug store or a hardware store. Small shops, diners and bed and breakfast inns have shut down and have been forgotten. Our population is going down while our median age is slowly creeping up. We are losing our young people and slowly, without new families coming into our community and keeping us growing with the laughter of children, our town is quietly dying.

I went through our school system, from kindergarten in the old white school house and the newly-built elementary school in the last few months of the fifth grade to succeeding in high school — graduating with high honors as part of the last class of the 20th century. I attended Maine Maritime Academy for Marine Biology, keeping my ties close to home as I sought out higher education. In a town that has a rich maritime and ship building past I am proud to carry on those traditions as a master boat builder. I fish out of Searsport Harbor, harvesting some of the best seafood that this great state has to offer. While my travels as a Captain in the Merchant Marines may take me far away, my mind is always focused on my home of Searsport, Maine. The only place in the world with that name, and for good reason. We are unique, we look after our own.

The world is changing around us and we need to take it upon ourselves to be ready for any and all obstacles in our path as we make our way through uncharted waters. Searsport has been very good to me over the years, and someday I hope to raise a family in the town I call home.

In closing, I would like to reach out and urge you to consider not just one issue that stands in front of our community, casting it's tall shadow over us like a character from childhood nightmares, but rather looking at the road ahead. It is very long and has many twists and turns about it. Wouldn't these tribulations be better met by someone who has been a part of this community since the first day of their life? I respectfully request your consideration for the chance to serve you as Selectman for Searsport.