- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 14, 2002

Phillip Morris NaPier is an unlikely candidate for governor of Maine, an ex-convict with an imaginative pitch aimed at making Maine a temporary mecca for felons.
Maine allows inmates to vote from prison, and they are a voting bloc Mr. NaPier who founded the group Felons United hopes to galvanize.
His pitch to ex-cons, their families and friends: Move to Maine, vote to make him governor and, if elected, he will pardon all released felons living in the state.
His offer extends to felons "released from any prison in America," according to his Felons United Web site (www.felonsunited.com).
"For those of you who are still in prison in Maine, you too must vote," Mr. NaPier urges in his Web site message. "If you vote while in prison, when you are released, I'll pardon you so you can start a new life as an equal member of society with equal responsibilities and equal opportunities."
Mr. NaPier, 56, said his problems started more than seven years ago when his bucolic Windham, Maine, neighborhood attracted too many city folks from Portland.
He and police don't agree on details, but on April 19, 1995, two officers went to Mr. NaPier's home. They were responding to a complaint that someone there was shooting a firearm within 500 feet of an occupied dwelling.
Mr. NaPier says he was firing old ammunition into his woodpile.
According to Windham police Sgt. Ronald Ramsdell, Mr. NaPier pointed the gun at police when they arrived. Sgt. Ramsdell said he shot Mr. NaPier in the leg because he believed Mr. NaPier was going to shoot the other officer at the scene.
Mr. NaPier denied pointing his gun at police. He said the officers drew their guns before coming on his property and that, by then, he was inside his home.
The shot broke Mr. NaPier's femur. He was convicted and given a 15-month sentence.
"I've always been on the side of law and order," Mr. NaPier said.
But he said the nine months he served in prison "woke [him] up to wrongs" and moved him to run for governor.
Mr. NaPier says his leg injury kept him from collecting enough signatures to get his name on the ballot, so he will have to pin his hopes on a write-in campaign.
Name recognition has been a problem so far. Asked whether inmates talk about Mr. NaPier at the local jail, Windham police Chief Richard Lewsen said, "I don't think they would even know him."


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