4 selectmen, School Committee seats open on Chebeague; Damon won't seek re-election

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CHEBEAGUE ISLAND — Selectman Donna Damon will not be seeking re-election in June.

Nomination papers for the June 9 election are now available at the town office for four seats, two on the Board of Selectmen and two on the School Committee. They became available on Monday and are due back by Monday, April 27 at 5 p.m.

Each position is a three-year term that will expire in June 2018. 

On the board, terms are up in June for Damon and Selectman David Hill. Damon, who was a Cumberland town councilor for four terms, has been a Chebeague Island selectman for seven years, but said she doesn’t plan to run again.

“Although I am proud of the work I did in Cumberland and on Chebeague, I am ready to take some time off, although I expect I will continue to serve on a committee from time to time,” Damon said in an interview.

While she feels positive about the work she’s accomplished since first being elected to public office in 1972, she said she doesn’t think many people understand the work that goes into serving a town.

“I feel that many of the public, whether they live on Cumberland, Chebeague or any other American town, do not understand, much less appreciate, the time it takes to keep small towns operating,” she said.

Damon said she hopes that whoever decides to run for the two seats will attend board meetings between now and the election so the candidates understand the work being done and can be prepared for the positions.

Hill said he’s not yet sure if he will run for his seat again. On Monday he said he plans to make a decision soon, but is currently undecided.

“After six years on the Board of Selectmen and all the activity around secession before that, I’ve seen a lot of municipal government, good and bad,” Hill said in an email. “That leaves me squarely on the fence, 50-50 on running again.”

The two seats on the School Committee are held by Jen Belesca and Ken Pelton. Pelton wasn’t available for comment, but Belesca said she will be seeking a fourth term.

“I have two boys in Yarmouth schools so that’s important to me, and I want to continue being an advocate for the island students,” Belesca said.

Belesca said she wants to be on the School Committee as it looks for a new principal and superintendent because continuity is important. She said she doesn’t think the School Committee should make large changes while Chebeague Island School searches for Alton Hadley’s replacement.

On Monday, the town clerk said no one had yet taken out nomination papers, but noted that they had only just become available.

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

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I’m a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I’m from a small town in NH no one’s ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.