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FREEPORT — Long-time Town Councilor Rich DeGrandre lost his re-election bid Tuesday to challenger Bill Rixon by six votes.
Rixon took the at-large seat by a vote of 2,076 to 2,070.
District Councilors Sarah Tracy and Kristina Egan, who were running unopposed, were both re-elected, but incumbent sewer district Trustee Michael Ashby was unseated.
DeGrandpre, who has served for 12 years, said he is considering requesting a recount.
“I’ll decide (Wednesday) whether I’m going to ask to recount or not,” he said. “We’ll go from there.”
Rixon has lived in Freeport for 30 years and is a retired physics and earth sciences teacher who worked at Greely High School in Cumberland. Although he doesn’t have his own children, his partner has three children.
Rixon is now a tutor in Freeport and has also taught adult education classes in Freeport and Yarmouth. He is new to local politics and said in September he wants to serve on council because it’s time for change. Rixon said he went to his first council meeting in August, but that this wasn’t due to a lack of prior interest.
Rixon said he’s looking forward to “learning more about the town and meeting more great people” like he did while campaigning.
“I know being on the council will continue to be like that,” he said. “I’m just going to meet many, many more great people and learn more about how the town functions.”
DeGrandpre said he’s unsure why he lost.
“I’m kind of puzzled,” DeGrandpre said. “Bill’s a nice guy and all, but he has not a lot of experience with anything.”
Tracy, who received 976 votes, is a lawyer who has lived in Freeport over 25 years. She represents District 2 and has been on the council since March 2013, when she filled the vacancy left vacant by former Councilor Kate Arno.
Tracy in September said the issues she’d like to address during her next term will be pedestrian and bicycle safety, and maintaining “the harmonious use of land” between residents and those who work in agriculture.
Tracy said she’s looking forward to another term.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve again,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with the council on the issues we have again.”
Egan, who received 823 votes, has lived in Freeport four years and is a policy director at Envision Maine. This will be her second term on town council.
Egan in September said she’d like to focus on implementing the Freeport Active Living Plan, keep property taxes stable, and help the town become a leader in fighting climate change.
Egan said she’s glad to keep her seat on council.
“I’m honored to continue to serve district three,” she said. “I’ll continue to work hard to improve education, maintain stable taxes, and make it safe for people to bike and walk around town.”
Sally Leland will keep her seat on the Sewer District Board of Trustees and newcomer Jerry Kennedy will join her.
Leland received 2,360 votes and Kennedy received 1,705.
Incumbent Michael Ashby, who did not respond to telephone requests for an interview, finished third with 1,663 votes.
Leland has lived in Freeport for two years, but isn’t new to Maine. The corporate travel director used to work as a teacher in Brunswick. She is married and has two children. Leland volunteers at the Freeport Community Center and is a member of the Bicycle Coalition of Maine and of Friends of Casco Bay.
Leland has been serving on the sewer district board since Sept. 2, completing the unexpired term of Tim Whitacre, who resigned in June. She said she is “delighted” and “very pleased” to have been re-elected.
“I’m looking forward to collaborating with the other trustees to make sure the sewer district is as fine tuned as it has been and then keeping an eye on the future,” she said.
Kennedy has lived in Freeport 50 years, is married, and has three children, the youngest of whom attends Freeport High School. Kennedy is now retired, but previously owned a glass business. He is currently on the Freeport Appeals Board.
Kennedy was a member of the School Board for six years and has coached several sports teams in town. He couldn’t be reached for a telephone interview.
FREEPORT — Thomas Hudak, who already serves on the Sewer District Board of Trustees, was elected Tuesday to the Freeport Water District Board of Trustees.
Hudak received 2,561 votes. Edmond Theriault did not seeking re-election.
Hudak has lived in Freeport since 1972, is married, and has two sons. He recently retired after 32 years of working in the school system as the head custodian, a school bus driver, and occasionally as a substitute teacher. He has a degree in geology from Ricker College.
Hudak is one year into his second term on the sewer district board; this is his first time term on the water district board.
He said in October he wanted to run for the open seat so he could see the other side of the sewer district. He said he believes his experience in the sewer district will lend itself to the water district, where he’d like to focus on a potential increase in the water rates. Because innundated pipes need to be replaced, Hudak said water bills are likely to see a “substantial percentage increase” sometime next year.
— Kate Gardner