Derr won't seek re-election to Topsham Board of Selectmen

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TOPSHAM — Michelle Derr, whose first three-year term on the Board of Selectmen expires this year, said on Tuesday that she will not seek re-election.

“It has been a genuine privilege to work for Topsham’s taxpayers and neighborhoods, and that has been my goal for the entire three years,” Derr said. “But three years is also a long time, and I’m looking forward to a private life again.”

Derr was an outspoken figure in town before being elected to the board, she said, “just because I think Topsham’s taxpayers and neighborhoods did need a spokesperson.”

Along with her seat on the Board of Selectmen, a three-year term on the School Administrative District 75 Board of Directors is open to Topsham candidates. That seat is currently held by Dorothy Gardner.

Gardner, who served on the board from 1977-1992 and then from 2000 to the present, said on Tuesday that she has taken out nomination papers and will seek re-election.

Signed nomination papers are due back at the 100 Main St. office of Town Clerk Ruth Lyons by 4:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18. Candidates must gather at least 25 signatures, which Gardner said she had accomplished, and no more than 75.

Gardner said she is a strong believer in building “character, character, character.”

“If you don’t enable students to make good choices,” she said, “(it’s) not good for them.”

Lyons’ office reported on Tuesday that no one else had taken out papers for the SAD 75 board. Only Donald Russell of Winter Street and James Morris of Bradley Pond Road had taken out papers for the Board of Selectmen race.

None of the potential candidates had returned their papers.

Election day is Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.