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Merle Parise - Candidate for Maine State House Legislative District 46: A Great Choice for the Future

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Time to Help our Government 

Merle Parise Candidate for Maine State House of  Representatives District 46  upholds many core values, one of them being the fight for social justice where it is needed. We must promote a society where a persons ideas and life matter.  Read on to learn more of the issues facing Merle Parise Candidate for Maine State House Legislative District 46 and how we can overcome them.

Dollar Bills


Working together Merle thinks we can reduce taxes.

He supports efforts to limit regressive taxation. Gas tax, sales tax, property tax, user fees , and sin tax are all regressive taxes. He, furthermore, wants to introduce more structured taxation similar to the capping of property tax for seniors and increasing

the maximum pension deduction from state income tax.   

He supports a  55% cost share between towns and the State to lower our towns educational tax burdens, which impact our property taxes.

He wants to increase the homestead exemption for permanent residences. He also understands we need to do more for people over 65 when it concerns property tax. 

He will fight for farmers, woodland landowners , and fishermen who receive tax abatements  on their properties. These abatements are critical to the competitiveness of  their operations as well as to the consumers of their products. 

Most days are good but days fishing are

The Environment

Merle Parise wants to maintain and improve standards for clean air, water, and heathy soils. These standards  are very important for a healthy life style.

Ensuring safe drinking water at homes and at our schools is high on his list. This is a very serious issue that has been impacting Maine citizens in an insidious way for several years.  Our water is the best in the world, and it is up to him to address this issue head on.

He will rally the support needed to make the proper change to lower the risk from  per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and other toxic chemicals and elements that are found leeching into our water supply.

What works hand in hand with clean water is a healthy forest. As a Licensed Forester for many years. He understands the dynamics of our forest and soils and want to encourage our state government to follow the science and rationalize the outcome of its attempt to control insect and disease conditions, soil erosion, air pollution and water pollution. He says "we need to embrace a precautionary principal instead of the current command and control system" to keep our great way of life in Maine. 

Merle is an avid sport fishermen. This is one, among many others, fueling his desire to keep our  natural environment  clean, healthy, and wild. He believes we have a great outdoor tradition in Maine where we have ample areas to hunt, fish, and camp. 


School Bus & Children


What our children in school are being taught and how they are treated is a  particular issue that has been increasingly gaining coverage all over the State. It is an issue that needs to be addressed, and comprehensively discussed among parents, teachers, school boards, local politicians, lobbyists, and legislators alike. He believes parents must have control over where their children go to school and supplemented by a school voucher system. He moreover wants to see parents given the opportunity to know what their children are being taught.

​Merle has a pet-peeve about education. We need more relevant secondary education in our schools. More than ever, we must have opportunities for our young adults to fill the abundant vocational opportunities that could be available to them through advanced vocational education. 

Woman & Doctor

Health Care

Comprehensive medical care is very important because it affects the health, safety, and welfare of the people in Maine. Some Mainers are faced with a lack of access for long term care due to its expense and availability. He knows the current political system for health care is creating a significant  imbalance for health care patients and providers. This imbalance is threatening our rural hospitals and their ability to provide comprehensive health care. This must be addressed, and an equilibrium found that will help patients' get the care they deserve and rural hospitals survive.

He is currently a founding member of Help Addicts Recover Today (HART). He supports the current use of Narcan and Suboxone to save and moderate the effects of opioid addiction, but he thinks we must take the big step of long term help for addicts. This means they must have a roadmap that fits their  life long needs to avoid using narcotics. 

Inside of a Bus


Merle supports efforts to improve integrated rural transportation; buses, trains, and taxies are essential to the growth of communities as well as lowering the stress on our highway system. There should be more effort to extend the rail service  to coastal Maine.

State Route 1 coastal  corridor regularly  has seen a strong trend in traffic congestion that can be reduced by mass transit.

Hotel Key

Law and Order

Merle Parise has heard candid remarks that our prisons and jails are overcrowded and have a 50% annual  turnover rate. It is evident that more well-trained staff  and an increase in incentives to slow the attrition rate are needed.

He also believes that a person’s life matters which includes our brave and courageous Public Safety Workers.

Recently there have been several attempts to defund the police in Maine. This type of activity is counter productive to our public safety. 

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A Courageous Figure

Merle J Parise

Legislative Candidate for District 46:

The District covers east Nobleboro, Damariscotta, Newcastle, Bristol, an eastern section of South Bristol, and Monhegan Island Plantation.  Merle  aims to correct the imbalance within the current political system and will keep pushing until the correct bi-partisan balance is reached.

Currently owner and Operator of MJP Forestry a natural resource consulting business. Highly knowledgeable and dedicated professional with extensive experience in project management, political analysis, and representing local landowners and municipalities. He is, furthermore, in partnership with his wife as the owners and operators of Dragonwynde Farm and Dragonwynde Sawmill in Newcastle.

Former member and chairperson of the Newcastle Planning Board for ten years and currently a member of the Appeals Board. Past Director and President of the Planning alliance of the Damariscotta River Estuary Project. Which successfully promoted sustainable commercial aquiculture development.

Spent from 2009- 2013 working in support of our troops in Afghanistan working for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, among other things, he earned:

·         Outstanding performance ratings throughout a three and a half years tenure

·         Created coalitions between local government, universities, and  Afghans to improve their educational system, economic, and health and welfare

·         Helped to create an  NGO that directly interfaced with the peoples of Afghanistan to improve their lifestyles

·         Received 2 US State Department Meritorious Service Awards:  for outstanding support of Public Affairs outreach efforts in Faryab Province, specifically in the area of radio outreach to Afghan farmers and women entrepreneurs, and for sustained excellence as the U.S.D.A - Agricultural Advisor to Provincial Reconstruction Team Faryab, championing their counterinsurgency strategy both in the field and the province’s capital of Meymaneh.

·         Awarded the  Norwegian Service Medal, and NATO Service Medal

·         Acting USDA Director to NATO Regional Command North

Volunteer member of the US Peace Corps in Mexico

Traveled to Mexico to advise Director of Parque Nacional Volcan de Colima on water resource management, conservation, climate change, and technical issues related to capital improvements in the park. Consulted on various matters including overall park administration, soil erosion, livestock trespassing, and regulation enforcement.

·         Established climate risk evaluation program using experimental theories and new approaches (NASA Goddard Space Institute Climate Model) and presented it at University of Colima and in Guadalajara to Mexican Federal Consejo Nacional de Areas Protegidas.

·         Launched livelihood erosion and sediment control program that employed 40 people annually.

·         Developed timber type inventory within ArcGIS framework and instructed park employees on dendrology and field measurements.

·         Assisted in execution of Integrated Pest Management program to combat the pine bark beetle.

Graduate of : University of Maine: A.S. Forest Management Technology- University of Southern Maine : BA in Environmental Science and Policy / Minor in Political Science - Columbia University of New York City: MA Research Masters in Climate and Society

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Helping Private Landowners, Our Government and Foreign Governments to Take Care of Business and Nature

March 13, 2022

Newcastle Man Helped Rebuild Agriculture in Afghanistan

February 11, 2016 at 9:14 am
Maia Zewert

         A former chairman of the Newcastle Planning Board, past president of the Damariscotta- Newcastle Rotary Club,  President and Director of the Planning Alliance of the Damariscotta River Estuary. He  spent three and a half years in Afghanistan assisting in the reconstruction of the country’s agriculture industry.

        Merle Parise, of Newcastle, credited serving on various local boards and organizations and his studies in environmental science and climate and society as contributing factors in his passion for international development.  “I’ve been practicing natural resource management in Maine since 1984,” Parise said. “When you’re doing this work and reading about what is happening, you can see there’s a need for help overseas.”

      In 2007, Parise volunteered with the Peace Corps at the Parque Nacional Volcán de Colima, a national park bordering the Mexican states of Jalisco and Colima. For the two years he was in Mexico, Parise worked with employees to restore and conserve the soil and the forest in the park.

      Parise returned from Mexico in October 2009. Less than a month later, he was participating in a training program with the United States Department of Agriculture -  Foreign Agricultural Service to be sent to Afghanistan as part of a Provincial Reconstruction Team to help the Afghan people reconstruct their provinces.

     Parise was assigned to the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team as agricultural advisor in Maymana, the capital of the Faryab province in northern Afghanistan. Parise’s goal was to reconstruct the agriculture industry in the province.

“Right now it’s the hunger times in Afghanistan,” Parise said. “It’s not that there isn’t food available, because there is. The Afghans just don’t have the money to buy it. They’ve lost their entitlement to food.”

       In addition to the Norwegian Provincial Reconstruction Team, Parise worked with various U.S. and Afghan government departments, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its Afghan counterpart, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, as well as various non-government organizations during his three and a half years in Afghanistan.

       Parise focused part of his attention on reconstructing irrigation systems as the country headed into a drought. Parise studied 30 years of precipitation and temperature records and found the region had experienced an increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation in the past three decades. As a result of the drought, farmers were losing almost 30 percent of their crop, Parise said. “For some of these farmers, they would go from the beginning of spring to the end of the harvest season with no precipitation, which would just devastate them,” Parise said. “The governments came together and were able to supply them with resources so they could survive, but it was a problem that was going to persist unless something was done about it.”

      Parise helped to construct three irrigation systems, which provided irrigation for more than 70,000 farmers in the region, Parise said.

The Provincial Reconstruction Team also rebuilt 12 kilometers, or 7.5 miles of road and constructed a slaughterhouse to move the butchering of animals from the downtown to a safe, controlled environment, Parise said.

       In 2012, Parise was transferred to the city of Kunduz, which is considered to be a regional agricultural hub, Parise said. Parise was responsible for five provinces.

        While working in Kunduz, Parise trained combatants who had turned themselves in to the government in horticulture and agriculture. “We would work with the combatants so that they could go back to their villages and support their families by planting a pistachio tree farm,” Parise said.

The effort helped to grow more than 2,500 acres of pistachio trees in the region, Parise said.

      Another part of Parise’s mission was also focused on educating the region’s farmers. When a chronic disease was killing up to 80 percent of the region’s melons, Parise taught farmers how to use pesticides and proper sanitation methods. By the time he left the country, Parise said the melon crop had grown to an 80 percent success rate each year.

         Parise visited the University of Faryab monthly to teach a seminar program about the challenges facing the agriculture community. During Parise’s time there, the Faryab Agricultural Institute graduated its first female students with degrees in agriculture in 2012. “The dean of the agriculture department was a female, which is extremely rare,” Parise said. “So to be able not only to work with her, but to see the first group of females pass the final test for the department was extraordinary.”

With assistance from the U.S. State Department, the Director of Agriculture, Irrigation, and Livestock, and the University of Faryab, Parise worked on two topical radio programs which reach 150,000 people around the province. Parise spoke about issues facing farmers in the area, such as when to sell crops and when to prepare for planting season.

“We broadcast the show in three different languages to reach as many people as possible,” Parise said. “It wasn’t only reaching the farmers. It was also being heard by the women who are responsible for maintaining the home and the home economy.”

       In addition to his work in the agriculture sector, Parise also worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce to help the Afghan rug industry and its manufacturers. Parise said the Afghans had a strong local economy creating the hand-dyed wool rugs. “At the time, Afghans were producing these gorgeous rugs, but the rugs were being shipped to Pakistan or Iran to be finished,” Parise said. “It wasn’t giving the Afghans the opportunity to brand their rugs as Afghan rugs.”  With the help of the Department of Commerce and the U.S. military, a finishing factory was constructed to allow Afghans to finish the rugs in Afghanistan.

“It really was a boost in the economy, because the rugs could now be marketed as authentic Afghan rugs,” Parise said. “It’s an industry that was popular about 50 years ago and had died away, but now is back on the rise.”

        For his work in Afghanistan, Parise received the Meritorious Honor Award from the U.S. State Department, a Norwegian National Service Medal, and a NATO service medal.

    Parise returned to Newcastle in 2013. He currently works at MJP Forestry, his environmental services company, although he hopes to return overseas one day.

“Both my wife and I have a strong passion for international development, so we hope to go together someday,” Parise said. “It’s a good retirement goal.”

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    Merle Parise

    117 Sheepscot Road #103,  Newcastle, Maine 04553


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