Freeport Water District trustee faces quiet challenger

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FREEPORT — The town’s only contested election on Nov. 5 is for a seat on the Water District Board of Trustees, where Michael Ashby is challenging incumbent John Karp.

John Karp

Karp, 52, of Kings Timber Way, is seeking his third term as a Water District trustee.

He was born in New York City and raised in Baldwin, N.Y., and studied mechanical design and thermal fluids at Northeastern University in Boston.

A Freeport resident since 1995, Karp is the chief executive officer of Lewiston-based Bourgeois Guitars, which produces handmade acoustic guitars for country, bluegrass and folk artists. He also works as a business management consultant and has clients nationwide.

Karp is a licensed mechanical engineer. He doesn’t practice engineering, but said he “understands things like pipes and valves and parts and controls. That’s why the town asked me if I’d run for office years ago.”

Karp, who is chairman of the trustees, said the town’s water system is in very good condition and there aren’t many changes that need to be made.

“The water quality is all within standards,” he said. “The water table is high and we have the volume we need. The equipment is being maintained well. We’re on an aggressive program of meter replacement. We’re also gradually replacing water mains where needed. We’ve resisted a couple different attempts at rate increases. When they have come, I think we’ve kept them to a reasonable level.”

Karp said he isn’t familiar with his opponent, Ashby. He pointed to his own record and experience as the reasons he is best suited for the job.

“I’ve been the chair for five years now,” he said. “My phone number is posted right on the town’s website, and it has yet to ring with anyone being discontent.”

Michael Ashby

Ashby, of Cove road, is seeking his first term on the Water District board.

He is a clam digger, who currently serves on the Sewer District Board of Trustees, and did not respond to repeated telephone requests for comment.

The polls will be open Nov. 5 from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. in the Freeport High School gymnasium, 30 Holbrook St. Absentee ballots are available at the town clerk’s office, 30 Main St. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Oct. 31 at 6 p.m.

Brendan Twist can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @brendantwist.

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