Freeport elects Sterling, Vertenten to School Board

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FREEPORT — Incumbent Lindsay Sterling and Maddy Vertenten were the winners in the Nov. 7 election for two contested seats on the Regional School Unit 5 Board of Directors.

Sterling led the candidates with 1,635 votes, securing her second term on the board. Vertenten followed, with 1,340 votes.

Sterling and Vertenten were challenged by Tiffany Jones, who received 1,108 votes. Vice Chairwoman Beth Parker did not seek re-election.

Members of the Town Council and the Sewer District Board of Trustees were also elected Tuesday night.

In an uncontested race for three seats on the Council, Chairwoman Sarah Tracy secured her spot in District 2 with 579 votes. Neophytes Eric Horne and Douglas Reighley received 2,234 for Councilor at-large and 619 for District 3 councilor, respectively.

Born in Wisconsin, Sterling has lived in Maine for 16 years. She is a chef and author of “Immigrant Kitchens,” an online cookbook and live series of cooking classes.

Sterling said she is thrilled to be serving another term on the board and continuing all the positive momentum she’s seen in the district over the past three years.

On Election Day, Sterling was in and out of Freeport High School greeting voters.

“Voting day is so exciting,” she said. “It’s great to have the community come out and be active and participate in their community.”

Sterling added that she looks forward to welcoming Vertenten to the board.

“Maddy has been one of those people … who has been actively speaking up about topics that she’s passionate about,” she said. “I am thrilled that we get to work together. I see in her a kindred spirit.”

Vertenten was excited about her win on Tuesday night.

“I’m so happy,” she said. “I didn’t have a strong feeling (on results leading up to the count).”

Vertenten said she was at the polls all day and was thrilled by the voter turnout. According to Town Clerk Debra Lane, 4,913 votes were cast for School Board elections, with 32 write-ins and 798 left blank.

Vertenten grew up in Orono and moved back to Maine in 2012 after living in Texas. In 2006, she joined USANA Health Sciences – a marketing company that produces nutritional products and dietary supplements.

Vertenten said she has been attending School Board meetings since September and already feels engaged in the discussions.

“I’m really happy that I get to do something with my thoughts,” she said, adding that she doesn’t have a specific agenda, but is eager to represent the district.

Vertenten said her opponents were all great candidates for the seat, and that was reflected in the vote.

“It was really close,” she said. “(Jones) would’ve been a great partner as well.”

Vertenten added that she has learned a lot from Sterling while observing her first term on the board.

“I really appreciate the kinds of questions she’s asked (because) it has helped me as an observer understand better what’s going on,” Vertenten said. “I am just looking forward to serving on the board with smart, dedicated individuals.”

School Board Chairwoman Michelle Ritcheson said Wednesday morning that she is pleased to have Sterling return to the board and is sure Vertenten will be an asset to the panel.

“(Sterling) brings great energy and some good perspective to our discussions,” Ritcheson said. “As for Maddy, I look forward to learning what she can bring. She is a active member in our community.”

Jones, a teacher at St. John’s Catholic School in Brunswick, said Wednesday morning that she is grateful to her backers.

“I feel strongly that their support was based on my experience and knowledge of education,” she added.

On the Sewer District Board of Trustees, incumbents Sally Leland and Vice Chairman Gerald Kennedy prevailed over Timothy Whitacre.

Leland received 1,584 votes, Kennedy had 1,327 votes, and Whitacre 877.

Although 142 write-in ballots were cast for an empty seat on the Water District Board of Trustees, Town Clerk Christine Wolfe said on Tuesday that a winner wouldn’t be announced until the individual with the most votes had accepted the three-year term.

Jocelyn Van Saun can be reached at 781-3661, ext. 183 or jvansaun@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter @JocelynVanSaun.

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