FREEPORT — Political newcomer Andrew Wellen defeated decade-long incumbent Chairman Jim Cassida for one of two Town Council seats Tuesday night.
Wellen toppled Cassida, 655-528, for the District 4 seat.
“I’m very excited,” Wellen said. “I felt like we had the momentum in the last week or two getting more and more support. I’m excited about working on promoting some of the changes I campaigned on.”
Wellen said his campaign was able to beat the long-time incumbent because he “made a clear distinction” for what he will do as a town councilor “versus the direction things have been heading.”
“I think that resonated with folks in District 4,” he said. “My main focus will be to promote more transparency in local government, promote more public input on decision-making and protect rural and residential areas, while supporting smart growth in commercial areas.”
This was Wellen’s first attempt at any elected office, an experience he said was rewarding.
“I feel like it was real exciting and I got a lot of support,” he said. “It was great to have a lot different people support me in different ways. It was exciting to run a campaign, that was fun, and a lot of work.”
Cassida did not return phone calls as of Wednesday morning.
Melanie Sachs took the uncontested at-large council seat to replace outgoing Councilor Charlotte Bishop.
John Morang and Karin VanNostrand won uncontested Regional School Unit 5 seats and Leeland Arris, III, Fire Chief Darrel Fournier and Clinton Goodenow Jr. claimed three uncontested seats on the Sewer District Board of Trustees.
Arris also won as a write-in for the Water District.
A special election will be held Dec. 4 to fill the District 1 Town Council seat vacated by Councilor Sara Gideon, who defeated opponent Jody James Tuesday in state House District 106 to replace retiring state Rep. David Webster, D-Freeport.