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1 candidate seeks open seat on new-look Freeport Town Council

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1 candidate seeks open seat on new-look Freeport Town Council

FREEPORT — One candidate will be on the ballot in a special election next month to replace former Councilor Sara Gideon, who resigned in October.

Gideon was elected to the state House of Representatives on Nov. 6.

David Gleeson Jr. was the only candidate to return papers for the District 1 council seat. Henry Lawrence, owner of Maple Hill Bed and Breakfast on Maple Avenue, took out papers, but said he decided not to run because he won't have the time required to serve.

Gleeson, who owns North Atlantic Insurance Associates in Windham, said he decided to run for the council because he wants District 1 to have a strong representative.

"I have a lot to offer with experience," he said, noting he has worked with the council as chairman of the Coastal Waters Commission. "I don't have a big banner that I'm running under. I'm just running because I think we need to have good representative of District 1, and I know if I do it, I think there will be."

Gleeson complimented Gideon, who resigned from her council seat after moving out of District 1, disqualifying her to represent that district, for being "even-handed" in her approach on the council and hopes he can do the same.

If elected, Gleeson said it will be interesting to work with a council that is relatively new, but he's looking forward to the challenge.

"There's been a major shift," he said. "In one way it's sort of exciting, some new faces and possibly some new ideas. But at same time, there's a lot of experience leaving the council as well, so you have to be careful with that. You have to try to learn quickly."

According to the special election rules, councilors elected in a special election are only elected for one year. Councilors elected in a regular election hold their position for three years.

Lawrence ran for the council in 2010 and lost Councilor Jim Hendricks, who was elected to his first term that year. and named chairman on Nov. 13.

Hendricks on Nov. 13 was elected chairman of the council, replacing former Councilor Jim Cassida, who was ousted from the District 4 seat by Andrew Wellen on Election Day.

"I was sad to see Jim Cassida go; he was quite upset about not being re-elected, but things to do change. That's the power of the electoral process," Hendricks said, noting that he thinks the new councilors are going to be a "great fit."

"We'll continue to take the same team-oriented approach with everyone working together," he continued. "Although we may agree to disagree, we're all on the same team at the end of the day and we're all doing a volunteer job for a town that we all care about."

Hendricks said it's interesting to go from being one of the newest council members to becoming one of the most senior members in a single election. But he said he's ready for the responsibility.

"I wouldn't have taken it if I didn't think I could do it," Hendricks said. "There's going to be a small learning curve, but I think what I've learned a lot on the council in the last year has helped prepare me to do it."

Councilor Kristina Egan was vice chairwoman of the council, a position formally held by Gideon.

In addition to the other changes, Melanie Sachs joined the council after winning an uncontested seat to fill the at-large seat formerly held by Councilor Charlotte Bishop, who did not seek re-election.

Voting in the election for the District 1 seat will be held from 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Dec. 4, at Town Hall, 30 Main St.

Will Graff can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or wgraff@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @W_C_Graff.