Originally published in The Weekly Packet, March 27, 2014
Two candidates unopposed in Brooklin’s selectmen race
by Rich Hewitt
There are two candidates for two open seats on the board of selectmen.
Incumbent Deborah Brewster is unopposed as she seeks another three-year term, and Lori Gallo is the only candidate for a two-year seat left vacant by the resignation of Mike Roy. Roy will serve until the elections at the annual town meeting.
Neil Allen is also unopposed for another term as road commissioner and Jeannine Hardy is the lone candidate for another term as town clerk. The polls will be open from 2 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 4, at the town office. Discussion of the town meeting warrant articles will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, at the elementary school gymnasium.
Brewster has a long history of community service having served on the school board in Brooklin and Sedgwick for 18 years, on the board of trustees at George Stevens Academy for 30 years, and on the Friend Memorial Library board for several years. She now serves as the town representative on the library board. Brewster is completing her first three-term as selectman.
“I’ve enjoyed myself during these first three years,” she said, “but I’ve realized just how much there is to learn about the whole thing. I’ve just touched the tip of the iceberg.”
The town has completed some major work in the past three years. Brewster said she is hopeful voters will approve the negotiated right-of-way at Center Harbor which has been hammered out over the past several years. The town also has completed the work on the Dow gift for Bridges Point access.
“Those efforts all predate my time on the board,” she said, “they’re not my accomplishments.”
But Brewster said she has worked on the renovation of the town office and on organizing town files and the town website.
“Those are some of the nitty-gritty town things that it’s good to have done,” she said.
The town will face some challenges in the future. The flat and declining school population will be a challenge, Brewster said, as will the growing older population in town.
Keeping the downtown and the business there vital, and bringing high-speed Internet to the whole town is important especially to meet the needs of businesses including the large number that operate from their homes, Brewster said. The town also needs to maintain its infrastructure, keeping in mind the increasing cost of everything and the impact that has on townspeople, she said.
“We’ve been lucky as a town that we’ve been able to support the town and school budgets,” she said. “But we need to be mindful of the fact that for some people, that’s not always easy. We can’t take it for granted that everyone is equally able to contribute to that.”
Lori Gallo grew up in Ellsworth but spent summers in a home in Brooklin that her grandparents have owned since the 1950s. She and her husband Paul moved into that house in 1999.
A Coast Guard veteran and a former MDOT worker, Gallo is a heavy equipment operator and works for the town’s contractor plowing roads in the winter. She is currently building a campground in Brooklin that is scheduled to open this summer.
Gallo also has worked with the town in the past. She serves as deputy town clerk and is aware of some of the issues facing the town, although she said she still needs to familiarize herself with all of the details involved with town government.
“I want what’s best for the town and for the people in it. I want people to come to the town and love it as much as I do.”
Gallo said she doesn’t think the town needs to make any big changes in how it operates, but, she added, that the board does need to look at the different issues that face it and figure out ways to help it prosper.
“We need to find the best direction for the town, not just for today, but for 50 years from now.”
She said she hopes that townspeople will know that she, and the rest of the board, will work with their best interests in mind.
“I’m proud of this town; it’s a great place to live, raise a family and work,” she said. “If I can do it, I plan to keep it that way.”