Monday, November 8, 2010

Hickman on the Highway

Route 202 headed west from East Winthrop

Thanks to State Representative Terry Hayes for snapping these photos.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Thank You

Dear Supporters,

The official results are in. I received 1736 votes or 39.1% of the votes cast, no where near enough to win the election. Nevertheless, we won over a lot of hearts and minds in the process. As I already wrote, I've had the time of my life and have no regrets.

At least three working-class men came out of the polling place yesterday, looked me right in my eye, and told me they were all set to vote for me until they saw on the ballot that I was a Democrat.

We have a lot of work to do.

I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your support, your well-wishes, and your votes. I couldn't have made such an impression on the people of this district without your help.

We ran the best campaign this district seen in awhile and we have done a big part to change the conversation. It seems more people are talking about healthy, local food more than ever before. Early morning of the election, I was putting up a sign on the main intersection of in-town Readfield and a woman rolled down her window to tell me that she would be rooting hard for me all day. That she and her husband lived in Mt. Vernon and therefore couldn't vote for me, but they wanted me to win so badly. There, in the dark, after their car traveled down Route 17 headed toward Manchester, I got all choked up. And then I smiled.

I am both proud and humbled to have made such a difference.

While many of you have already expressed encouragement that I run again in 2012, all I can say right now is that I can't see past the 10 pounds of garlic I still need to plant before the ground freezes.

I can promise you this:

I will continue to do what I do with a passion.

Thank you again. Take care of your blessings.

Craig V. Hickman

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I Ask For Your Vote

Dear Neighbor,

My name is Craig Hickman. Over the past months, I’ve traveled all over Readfield and Winthrop and heard stories from hundreds of people. I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to join me in an important conversation—one about the great promise that our community holds, about how to grow our community so Maine can remain the way life should be.

As an organic farmer, I know a little something about growing things. It takes a season of planting, watering, and weeding. When all the backbreaking work is done, it’s time to harvest the crop and enjoy the literal fruits of our labor. And it’s good for us. Way better than any processed junk we can buy at the grocery store or feed our children in school. Growing community takes the same great effort. I’ve done my best to visit with as many folks as I can—of all parties, from all walks of life—and hear what’s important to you. Sorry if I didn’t make it to your door in person. Annabessacook Farm is my livelihood and so I didn’t get to meet as many of you as I would like.

Still, I discovered that what’s important to me has also been important to you. I know that, despite the hard work of running an organic farm and bed & breakfast—campaigning all the while—it’s been more than worth it. Now, we’re down to the final hours before Election Day, and I ask for your vote.

I need your vote.

I need your vote as a small business owner. You see, the regulations that small businesses face every day are making it difficult for us to stay in business. Many small businesses don’t. I bet you know a small business that struggles, even though everyone works like a dog to keep it afloat. The regulations mostly help big corporations make bigger profits (as if big corporations need help making bigger profits) and if a few Davids have to lose, well, who cares? Send me to Augusta so I can fight the Goliaths who blunt the growth of our local economies.

I need your vote as a steward of our environment. Ten years ago, I came to Maine for a place to write my adoption reunion memoir. The light drew me to this place. Scintillating, intense, and magical light—like no light I’ve ever seen. I fell in love with it. And so I stayed. Our lakes and streams and forests, our sky-blue skies and star-nailed nights—all the natural wonder that makes Maine one of God’s most beautiful creations—sustain me. Send me to Augusta so I can continue that stewardship and preserve our special light, our quality of place, for generations to come.

Running this year has given some of you a tough choice. If I waited two more years, it might’ve been easier. But I couldn’t wait. How many more businesses in our towns will close in two years? How many won’t get off the ground? I simply had to do something, and whether or not it’s the right time politically, it’s time for a new beginning.

My late father, Hazelle Hickman, a Tuskegee Airman, who always wanted me to become a public servant, always told me to seize the moment. That time waits for no one. So, here I am. Asking for your vote.

On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, vote to send me to Augusta and let’s make history.

Only in Maine could I have been treated so kindly. I believe we’ll win. I need you to believe it, too. I need your vote. I will be humbled to serve you. I’ll cherish these many months—and all your stories—no matter what.

Thank you. Take care of your blessings.

Craig V. Hickman

Bootstrap Independence

Craig Hickman sows Maine land and provides food for local Maine tables in the time honored manner of generations of Maine farmers. He exudes the qualities of concern for his neighbor, personal bootstrap independence, sensible small business entrepreneurship, connects directly with local people by selling his goods himself, uses local resources, brings business into the state, and has the smart thrifty outlook many of us in Maine share. We will be very well served by Hickman in the House.

Bruce Bourgoine

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hickman in the Advertiser

Click on the ads to enlarge.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hickman in the Press II


October 17

Political newcomer, three-term incumbent vie for House seat

Pair contest House District 82

By Betty Adams
Staff Writer

WINTHROP -- A fellow Winthrop resident is challenging three-term incumbent Patrick Flood for the right to represent House District 82 and become only the third black person to serve in the Maine Legislature.

Democrat Craig V. Hickman, 47 [sic], is seeking his first elective office.

Hickman has a bachelor's degree in government from Harvard University, spent a decade or so traveling the country as a performance artist, and since 2002 has operated an organic farm as well as a bed and breakfast on 25 acres bordering Annabessacook Lake.

"I'm running for the people," Hickman said. "I think that in a healthy democracy, people need a choice. That's why I'm running -- I want to give the people a choice. I hear the people; they're a little bit angry and frustrated, and I'm doing something about that to put myself out there."

Read the rest...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Hickman in Awe

On Tuesday, October 12, when I received this email, my jaw fell to the floor. Talk about being humbled. With the author's permission, I'm reprinting most of it here, including the bits of wisdom contained in her email signature.


Dear Craig,

Good to meet you today.

I have been drawn to your photo in the advertiser and drawn to your personality when reading articles about you and what can only be described as your organic ministry.

When I traveled home on a different route tonight, rte #41, Winthrop to Readfield, I saw many of your campaign signs and I noted to my husband that I felt I knew some kinship to your heart and/or soul. He doesn't ever question these spiritual attachments, he has seen the fruit of them in our lives. It is so great to have a life partner that accepts even the quirky traits that make us who we are.

The real moment of confirmation was when we arrived home and pulled into the driveway after this conversation. A car going in the opposite direction pulled to the side of the road, waited for a semi to pass and turned around pulling in the driveway behind us. It was you and Jop. I proclaimed that I was on my way inside to call you to ask you a few questions. It seems a little incredulous but it is very common for this type of thing to happen to me. We talked only slightly as you were sensitive to the fact we had just arrived home, but in that short time, it validated the draw. In person I instantly knew something was meant to be.

We are very excited about your campaign and would like to know if there is something we can do to help.

Our children were raised in Readfield and have both graduated from UMO. My son Jacob graduated from Maranacook at 16 and received his doctorate in Theoretical Physics when 25yrs old. His inspiration was Steve D'Angelis, Tyler's father. Jacob was invited to Oxford University to do a post doctorate in conformal field theory and he and his new wife moved to England. They were there nearly three years and had our first grand daughter, Acadia Loveday Simmons, while there. They relocated to Chicago when he accepted a second post doc position at Chicago University. They have had their second daughter, Aurora Rose, and have become vegetarian locavores. They are environmentally conscientious and recycle everything, all belongings included.

Our daughter, Casey, is an artist and earned a degree in psychology with a minor in sociology. She did the murals in the pediatric practice in Winthrop. She graduated and then spent the following year in Alabama building houses for Habitat for Humanity. She is an animal rights activist and an environmentalist. She is currently employed at LL Bean. She walks the streets of Readfield with her garbage stick, picking up trash in her spare time. She accepts that some of her classmates feel she is a crazy 'tree hugger'. She has also become a vegetarian passionate about organic consumption and sustainable living.

Of course we are very proud of them, we raised them to be givers. But the reason I go (brag) on and on is because the state of Maine is a difficult place for well-educated young people to find employment. I think the mindset of the state is becoming more open, and educated professionals are finding some employment opportunities, but kind, gentle teaching and exampling is still needed to inspire others to want change and to evoke acceptance and progression.


Now, I believe that in America you can ascribe to your own beliefs as long as others are afforded the same considerations.

I am not saying that all people need to be OK with gay marriage, I am saying that they do need to accept that some people are.

I am not saying no one can eat chicken nuggets (though why??? would they?) I am simply saying at least try whole responsibly grown, organic foods.

And, I am not saying that everyone must install solar panels, but at least be responsible enough to try to reduce your own carbon footprint.

I am sorry for the length of this email. I tried to trim it a bit but I am frustrated with the status quo.


Marcia Walls Simmons

P.S. I agree that Jop is the most exceptional physical therapist in the state. I know many people he has greatly helped.

My mother, who is dying of cancer, asked after Jop only Monday when we visited her in Bangor. She had Jop for PT in the nursing home in Winthrop over 5 years ago and his progress with her blew us away. She said she bet he could help her deal with her endless pain as he was a miracle worker. Yesterday we discussed this! My sister was there also and she said he had really helped her with shoulder pain as well. Yesterday! There just aren't that many coincidences.

Bon Fortune


“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” --Maya Angelou


In the end;
We will conserve only what we love,
We will love only what we understand,
and we will understand only what we are taught

--Baba Dioum


We can change the world teaching goodness by example.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hickman in the Mail II

MSEA-SEIU Local 1989 sent out this mailer last week. I'm posting it just as it arrived in my mailbox, complete with the scratches that appear as though there's a miniature Billie Holiday gardenia above my ear.

The man who wrote the copy wrote the copy well. Click on the image to enlarge.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Hickman in the Mail

We sent this mailer out last week. Some voters tell me it's hanging on their refrigerators. Talk about being humbled. Click on the images to see them at full size.

Hickman in the Sprint

Dear Supporters,

The Election is upon us. People have already voted early.

From the outset, I envisioned this campaign as a farming project. Theater project, writing project, design project. Track meet.

We sowed the seeds, watered and fertilized the crop, weeded the soil. The plants have thrived. Their fruit has ripened.

It’s time to harvest.

Our director conceived a brilliant tableau; the stage managers worked it all out. The leading man has relied on the supporting players like plants rely on the sun.

It’s time to open the show.

Our editorial team ensured that all the press releases, articles, letters and lit copy told a good and true story. People love stories. Lord knows I do. People love true stories most. We will elect Maine’s second African American member of the Legislature. We will make many firsts.

It’s time to write history.

Our creative team snapped photos, scanned postcards, placed images, chose fonts, measured kerning and line spacing. Talked about the colors that might move hearts. Our literature featured visuals that stuck in people’s minds.

It’s time to picture the prize.

We started this mile run back in early spring, just as we broke ground for community. Now, after 3 ¾ laps, we’ve rounded the final turn, our eyes on the tape, the finish line 100 meters ahead.

It’s time to sprint toward victory.

To the entire team, I love you all. To my beloved, I couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Can we win?

You better believe it.

People. Get ready.

We need your help. In this sprint toward victory, we need all of you to propel yourselves into the final stretch and not look back.

We need your help.

Please tell us as soon as possible what you will do for our campaign and let us sprint toward victory.

It's time.

Thank you in advance. Take care of your blessings.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Young Man Shall Lead Them: Tyler's Blackeye Peas

by Craig Hickman

Tyler DeAngelis doesn’t know what he wants to be when he grows up. An environmental scientist, perhaps. Maybe even a chemist or biologist. Whatever he decides, he wants to earn enough income so he can retire to one of his great desires: growing wholesome organic vegetables.

A 17-year-old senior and President of the Student Body at Maranacook Community High School in Readfield, Tyler is a blessing. Last year, after bemoaning the tasteless lettuce on the school cafeteria’s salad bar, he decided he could do better. He made up his mind to transform a grassy area behind the high school into a sweep of organic gardens.

Both his parents supported him, but his mother, Tara Wicks, wasn’t sure he’d be able to pull it off. “Gardening is such hard work,” she told me over the phone, “and I didn’t know where he’d find the time.”

He found plenty. He built 10-inch raised beds and filled them with the fertile soil he built from loam and compost. He planted carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, broccoli, daikon radishes, potatoes, beans, peppers, winter squash, herbs, flowers, and more. He secured it all from wildlife with an ingenious 7-foot-tall fence made of poles and deer netting. He timed the plantings to be ready for harvest just as school began.

It’s harvest time. I was thinking about Tyler’s gardens. Wondering if his organic produce was well-received. So when I ran into his family-on-bikes at the Common Ground Fair last Saturday and Tyler told me a local paper recently ran an article about his ambitious senior project, I knew it was serendipity.

Turns out that last week, he harvested 30 pounds of string beans for the cafeteria and froze three quarts of pesto from the aromatic basil he grew for the first time. On a recent visit to the high school, I was happy to hear students tell me that they loved eating everything he grows.

Late this past spring, Tyler visited my farm in order to get a few tips on how to grow things organically. We walked through my acre of gardens and it immediately became clear to me that this young man didn’t need much help at all. I actually learned a few tricks from him. I was able, however, to introduce him to a few plants he’d heard of, but never seen growing. He took an interest in the intriguing blackeye pea plant, with its triangular foliage, upright tendrils, and bean pods that form in groups of three like antennae at the end of a stem that attracts wasps and honey bees like flies to manure. When he told me he would plant some in his gardens as soon as he had the chance, a part of me thought he was just being nice. Busy as he already was, no way would he get around to it.

Earlier this summer, on my way home from the Readfield Farmer’s Market, I stopped by the school and searched out Tyler’s gardens. Upon finding them, I was immediately struck by their exquisite design. The meticulous matrix planting scheme of each bed. No wonder one of the teachers whose classroom overlooks all these majestic growing things said the view alone helps her teach better. When I finally noticed the seedlings of blackeye peas, a smile wide as Maranacook Lake broke across my face. I was lucky enough to be at his school this week when Tyler ate one for the first time. We tore open the leathery pods, pushed out the spotted, light-green peas and savored their salty-sweet flavor.

I’m so proud of him. More of our high schools need a Tyler or two. There’s nothing more local, nothing healthier than vegetables that come from organic gardens just outside the cafeteria door. Children will eat anything that tastes good—tender baby carrots, fragrant broccoli florets, succulent mixed lettuce greens, fresh blackeye peas—and organic food tastes terrific.

Tyler may not know what he wants to be when he grows up—but right now, he’s an inspiration for our entire community.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I open the Community Advertiser this past Saturday around dinner time and find this:

Craig Hickman a Class Act At Readfield

First place in the 2010 Readfield's Got TAlent show was won by [Winthrop] organic farmer, Craig Hickman, a poet performing his original work.

After accepting the prize of $75, Hickman took the mike and asked if the Readfield Fire Department, where the contest took place, accepted donations. When they answered that they did indeed accept donations, he gave his prize to a firefighter standing nearby.

"That was a real class act, both the poetry and the donation," said Karen Dube, organizer for Readfield Heritage Days. "Only in a small town like this could a poet beat out singers and dancers for first place in a talent contest."

I was humbled by the win, more by the mention in the local paper. Karen Dube didn't have to say what she said. She's the class act. As are all the firefighters who volunteer their precious time to keep the people in our communities safe.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hickman Welcomed To Winthrop Rotary Club

District governor Claude Martel; new members Craig Hickman & Kathy Thorenson; President Ryan Frost

Winthrop — The Rotary Club of the Winthrop Area received a visit from its district governor at a special meeting held Aug. 17 at Pepper's Restaurant in Winthrop.

Claude Martel, a member of the Rotary Club of Val Belaire in Quebec City, along with Larry Marcoux, assistant district governor and a member of the Auburn-Lewiston Rotary Club, met with the club's board of directors to discuss club plans and challenges.

Following the board meeting, Martel met with the entire club and their spouses over dinner. He had the opportunity to welcome, congratulate and encourage new members

Craig Hickman and Kathy Thorenson, both of Winthrop, as well as new club officers: Ryan Frost, president; Kathy Thorenson, vice president; Priscilla Jenkins, secretary and past president; and Phil McSweeney, treasurer.

Read the rest...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Henry Arlick Carlson :: May 19, 1920 - August 4, 2010

I love stories. So when I was notified by a fellow Rotarian that Henry Carlson had made his transition, one of the first things I thought was I need to bake a sweet potato pie for his widow. One of the next things was that I would certainly be treated to some wonderful stories about this World War II veteran, mason, community leader and devoted husband at his celebration of life this morning.

And so it was. Thomas Molokie, a close friend of Lottie Carlson, gave a moving eulogy in her words. Before reading it, though, he shared a animated story about how he came to be asked to deliver the eulogy in the first place. Standing over Henry's flag-draped coffin, with humor and poignancy, Mr. Molokie related his reticence at being drawn into his friend's driveway, unannounced and unprepared, only to have her welcome him with open arms and immediately ask for his participation in the service.

After, we heard friends and family bear witness to the life of a man who made a great cup of coffee, though he didn't drink coffee, a man who took an angst-ridden teenage girl under her wings and taught her how to ski from the top of Mt. Abrams all the way down the slope, a man who taught his great nephew how to hunt and fish.

Finally, an emotional great granddaughter who only got to meet the man once, relentlessly coaxed her reluctant father to rise up and tell the story of a practical joke Henry had played on him featuring a plastic bird.

Surely, a child shall lead them.

I didn't know Henry, never even met him as far as I can remember, but the vivid stories loved ones shared made it seem as though I was listening to words about my own father. Born a mere five weeks before Henry on February 14, 1920, my father, a Tuskegee airman, also served his country in World World II. He taught me how to garden and fish, how to enjoy and cherish nature, and how to be kind to people. He passed away on March 14, 2007. As I listened this morning, I heard Daddy's words as clearly as if he were sitting there next to me and I got all choked up.

Henry's service ended with one of the most beautiful and patriotic hymns I've ever sung. The United Methodist Hymnal's version of America the Beautiful's third and last verse ends thus:

America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

As I exited the church, thinking of the man whose life we had just celebrated, as well as my father -- two men who served their country in uniform, who loved their country as much as they loved their families -- I found these lyrics carried an extra weight, a deeper resonance as I reflect on some of the greatest challenges we face as a nation and as a state.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Certified: My Father Smiles Down From Heaven

This means I'm officially running for something.

My campaign treasurer stopped by earlier today while we were planting collard greens, blackeye peas and broccoli to deliver the good news. We hadn't been to the mailbox yet, but when we checked it later, there it was, unfolded from its official-looking envelope, just as you see it above.

This is a big [fill-in-the-blank] deal.

I'm grateful to all those who contributed to my campaign. Thank you for your generosity. But more than that, thank you for your belief. Without you, I wouldn't have my name up there.

I still can't quite believe that's my name. Hickman. Craig V. Stands for Von. I'd never have imagined I'd run for elected office. But life has changed immensely since the man who gave me my name died 3 years ago, March.

Thing is, I'd never have imagined I'd be doing much of what I'm doing in my life right now.

But here I am. Doing what my father taught me how to be good at, and trying to do what my father always thought I would be excellent at: farming and public service.

It's time.

It's time I finally put my mind to it and try to fulfill my father's ultimate dream for me. A dream I'm blessed to be able to pursue without pressure, an ounce of resentment, not even a whisper of angst.

It's time District 82, Readfield and Winthrop, the most beautiful towns in Kennebec Valley, had a fresh voice representing its people.


It’s time to rid our food supply of processed junk.

As a wise man wrote, food reclaims its nobility when the person who raised it hands it to you. It makes us healthier, too. Healthier citizens means reduced medical costs, which can lead to affordable health care for all. I will fight to bring common sense to the Maine food code to help producers make wholesome local food more available and affordable. Local food means local jobs.

It’s time to go green.

Investment in our natural resources and quality of place initiatives and our vast wind and solar energy potential will not only help to protect Maine’s enthralling beauty, but also attract more tourism, boost our economy, and create new jobs.

It’s time to stop handcuffing small businesses.

One-size-fits-all regulations simply don’t work. I will fight to craft legislation, current or new, that allows the furniture painter, the contractor, the goat milker, the jewelry maker and the silver-haired lady down the road who bakes the best whoopie pies in town to advertise and sell their products and services without jumping through hoops they can’t afford. Let there be real competition. As Maine business grows, so goes job creation.



The United States of America conducts a new census. The state of Maine elects a new governor. The citizens of the most beautiful towns in the Kennebec Valley elect a new state representative.

My father smiles down from heaven.

Hickman in the House.

Organic farmer, man of the people.

Get ready.

It's time for a new beginning.