JONESBORO – Dana Kadey of Princeton, an independent candidate for the state Senate, expects to reach the Hancock County line in Steuben by Thursday.
He started his foot journey along U.S. Route 1 nearly two weeks ago in Danforth, at Aroostook County’s border with Washington County.
He is walking 150 miles and carrying a 28-pound rock on his back as he goes – all to make his point that “Maine’s tax burden is too heavy.”
Kadey’s walk across Washington County is the most unusual campaign tactic yet in the four-way race for the District 29 seat that covers all of Washington County and a smattering of towns in Hancock and Penobscot counties.
The rock is heavy, but his attitude is light-hearted.
“I’m not too old to cut the mustard!” reads the Web site (www.kadeysenate.com) for the 62-year-old.
The reference is to Kevin Raye, the Republican incumbent he is challenging and the co-owner of Raye’s Mustard in Eastport.
The two other candidates for the seat are Tom Finlay, a Democrat from East Machias and Nancy Oden, an independent from Jonesboro.
A pastor and former teacher, Kadey has set himself apart by both his campaign signs and now, the walk, blisters and all. He walks between 10 and 15 miles a day.
Over the summer Kadey’s campaign signs, homemade and huge, went up on private property. They hang from carefully built cedar frames that Kadey chopped from his woodlot.
The signs he has been setting out more recently are more simple – bright red, and poking up just a bit higher than the traditional sign size.
“It took me a long while, but I felt I had to do my signs different and with class,” he said during a rest stop 11 miles into his trek on Tuesday.
He had spent the night in a tent on a friend’s property in Machias. He meets his wife, Mary, along the way. She brings him food, but returns home each day.
He also gets offers of food and water from drivers who see him and circle back in support.
Tuesday, he was planning on living it up in comfort. Philip Barton, a former college roommate, is taking Kadey off Route 1 to his home in Beals for a lobster dinner and a bed for the night.
Kadey won’t stop until he reaches the western Washington County line. Anyone who stops to chat along the way hears his message that he hopes to take to Augusta.
“I’m concerned about our high taxes, I think it kills us,” he said. “Here in Washington County we scratch and dig to make a living. If we didn’t have such a heavy tax burden, things would be easier.”
He found his red granite rock – unintentionally shaped like the state of Maine – on a beach in Robbinston.
“If I lose,” Kadey said of the Nov. 7 election, “I’ll take the rock back to the beach. If I win, it’s going to Augusta with me.
“I believe that Maine has to make a bold move with taxes, and that’s very difficult. This is my way of showing that.”